A steady stream of curious first-time visitors filed into the Tribal Health Center this past week alongside those that regularly seek care at the facility. It was the return of what had been an annual event in the past — Tribal Health Day. The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time, however, that the event had been held at the new Tribal Health Clinic.
Organizers were hoping that it would be a nice draw. It worked.
“We’ve seen that more patients come in every year, a bigger population coming in for the event. We hope that it gives them more information about their own health, they learn from it and learn to take better care of themselves,” said Kaelob Storms, community health educator for the clinic.
Chronic illness remains among one of the biggest health concerns for the Native population, diabetes and heart disease specifically. Staff at the clinic along with tribal leaders say they want to help change that fact for families now and for future generations.
Information about a diabetes clinic was one of the first booths at the Health Fair to greet guests. Beverly Wakeman, the tribe’s oldest living member, said it was encouraging to see.
Jackie Allen, a 21-year-old tribal member, echoed Wakeman’s thoughts.
“I didn’t know that they had a diabetes and a prediabetic program,” said Allen. “Younger generations — they don’t really know the signs and what to watch out for. I know our diets aren’t exactly the best, so being able to know from a young age that a balanced diet is important, seeing these food plates with labels, and knowing what we should be eating, that is really helpful.”
Also available at this year’s health fair was information on dental and eye care services, billing assistance, mental health resources, yoga, news of the new fitness center being planned (see attached article), the Wholeness Center, Moody County Cares, home health options and more. County Health Nurse Leanne Amdahl was also present with information on the availability of heart health screenings through Avera.
Planet Heart is a program offered through Avera Heart Hospital and is open to anyone 40 and older as well as those that may otherwise be referred for a screening by a physician. For $75, you can get your heart checked through a Calcium Score CT, a blood pressure and BMI screening, a blood sugar and cholesterol screening along with a vascular check of your carotid artery, and more. Call (605) 997-2433 for more information. Amdahl says you must schedule an appointment if you would like to be seen but that it is otherwise open to all.
The next Planet Heart event scheduled for Flandreau is December 3rd, 2021.