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South Dakota Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Evidence-Based Examples

Women to Women Online Support Network
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: Women living in rural areas with chronic illness often face little social support, leading to increased rates of depression and stress
  • Intervention: Women to Women offered rural women with chronic conditions social support networks via telecommunication
  • Results: WTW intervention participants experienced positive increases in self-esteem, social support, and empowerment over the control group

Effective Examples

Care for Our Elders/Wakanki Ewastepikte
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To provide Lakota elders with tools and opportunities for advance care planning.
  • Intervention: An outreach program in South Dakota helps Lakota elders with advance care planning and wills by providing bilingual brochures and advance directive coaches.
  • Results: Care for Our Elders saw an increase in the number of Lakota elders understanding the differences between a will and a living will and the need to have end-of-life discussions with family and healthcare providers.
Avera eCARE
Updated/reviewed November 2019
  • Need: Rural hospitals and healthcare providers have less access to specialty care support.
  • Intervention: A service was created at Avera Health that provides 24-hour virtual access to specialty care physicians, nurses and pharmacists.
  • Results: Rural patients can receive specialty care without leaving their communities, and rural healthcare providers can get needed support in providing quality care to their patients.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy SD eResidential Facilities Healthcare Services Access Project
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • Need: To increase local health services to rural elderly populations in long-term care facilities located in four Midwest states near a tertiary care organization.
  • Intervention: A non-profit healthcare organization implemented telehealth services to provide acute care evaluations for long-term residents in their home facilities.
  • Results: The program increased local care as evidenced by improved year-over-year provider-determined available transfer data: 33%, 50%, 63% program years 1 through 3, respectively. From the success of the initial pilot implementation, the program has further matured into a long-term care offering that now reaches many other rural facilities located in 10 states across the nation.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Rural Virtual Infusion Program
Updated/reviewed April 2020
  • Need: Allow rural cancer patients in a region inclusive of 26 counties in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota to have access to tertiary-level chemotherapy regimens in rural infusion centers.
  • Intervention: With telehealth-based oversight from a tertiary care oncology team, 3 rural infusion teams were trained to coordinate cancer treatment plans and administer complex chemotherapy regimens.
  • Results: Almost 130 patients were transitioned to receive chemotherapy in a rural infusion center, translating to over 1,000 infusion visits and saving patients/families nearly 65,000 trip miles, 1,800 travel hours and $71,000.

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Delta Dental/Head Start Early Childhood Caries Prevention Project
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To provide dental care to Head Start children on South Dakota reservations.
  • Intervention: The Early Childhood Caries (ECC) Prevention Project brings dental hygienists to tribal Head Start programs to provide dental care to children and oral health education to parents.
  • Results: In three years, 1,133 children and their parents completed an ECC visit. An additional 2,780 children received preventive care.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Facing Diabetes: Quality Improvement in Rural South Dakota Project
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To help adults and children in rural South Dakota prevent or manage their diabetes.
  • Intervention: The Facing Diabetes Project offered medical visits for adults and provided prevention and education sessions for the local 4th and 5th graders.
  • Results: Many adults and children in the region felt better equipped to choose healthy foods, exercise regularly, and manage their stress: all factors that can help prevent diabetes or decrease its effects.
South Dakota Harvest of the Month Program
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To encourage children to make healthy eating choices through learning and tasting.
  • Intervention: Brief, fun, and informative presentations for children on over 42 different fruits and vegetables.
  • Results: Participants are exposed to new foods and show more interest in healthy eating.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Rural Experiences for Health Professions Students (REHPS)
Updated/reviewed March 2020
  • Need: An ongoing shortage of healthcare providers in rural areas of South Dakota
  • Intervention: A 4-week summer program placing health professions students in rural communities.
  • Results: Of graduating participants, 71% practice in South Dakota with 30% of those graduates practicing in rural communities with populations fewer than 10,000, or veteran facilities.
Avera LIGHT
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • Need: Assistance for urban and rural physicians — as well as other healthcare providers — who are experiencing burnout and other issues associated with well-being.
  • Intervention: As part of its provider well-being focus in its rural and urban facilities, Avera Health system has created a program which attends to physician wellness issues starting with recruitment with continued support through retirement.
  • Results: With increasing engagement due to word of mouth, the program creates a culture of wellness where stigma is decreased and providers are encouraged to be proactive in reaching out for assistance for issues related to their personal and professional well-being.
Simulation in Motion-South Dakota (SIM-SD) EMS Educational Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • Need: To provide increased educational opportunities for emergency care personnel in rural and frontier South Dakota.
  • Intervention: A technologically advanced training was created to enhance the delivery of emergency patient care.
  • Results: Hundreds of emergency medical services (EMS) staff and volunteers received training that in turn helped them in the field of emergency patient care.
Eastern Plains Sexual Assault Response Team (EPSART)
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To support victims after sexual assault and to collaborate and streamline processes for victim-centered care.
  • Intervention: The EPSART holds monthly team meetings, case review, and opportunities for team training.
  • Results: Enhanced victim and public safety by facilitating investigations and successful prosecutions.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Sowing the Seeds of Hope
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: Agriculture workers and their families have high rates of psychological distress and suicide, but limited access to mental health services.
  • Intervention: The "Sowing the Seeds of Hope" (SSoH) program was created to provide affordable and culturally appropriate mental health services to individuals working in agriculture and their families in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
  • Results: The regional program ran from 1999-2014 and successfully established a variety of interventions to help individuals in rural communities' access behavioral health services.
Mitchell Area Safehouse and Family Visitation Center
Updated/reviewed November 2019
  • Need: To provide victims of domestic violence a safe space, advocacy, education, and family support services.
  • Intervention: The Mitchell Area Safehouse and Family Visitation Center in rural South Dakota provides emergency/transitional housing, support groups, and community education.
  • Results: In 2018, Mitchell Area Safehouse answered 1,061 crisis calls, provided shelter for 206 survivors, and advocated for 847 survivors.
Delta Dental Mobile Program
Updated/reviewed February 2019
  • Need: Lack of access to oral healthcare for children from limited-income families in the rural and urban areas of South Dakota.
  • Intervention: Delta Dental of South Dakota launched the Delta Dental Mobile Program in 2004 to expand access to oral healthcare services to children throughout the rural state.
  • Results: The Delta Dental Mobile Program has provided over $26 million in dental care to more than 52,000 South Dakota children.
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System Physician Recruitment Model
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • Need: Localized specialty and surgery services for residents in rural northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota.
  • Intervention: Prairie Lakes Healthcare System expanded their services by recruiting specialty physicians and networking with regional community hospitals to increase patient referrals.
  • Results: Patients receive surgery and specialized care closer to home through Prairie Lakes' 26 specialty medical providers and more than 20 specialty services.
Pathways to Healthcare Professions
Added December 2018
  • Need: Healthcare professionals and support staff are in high demand on tribal reservations in the Great Plains region.
  • Intervention: The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board of South Dakota offer healthcare occupation courses for industry-recognized healthcare certifications and post-secondary degrees through the Health Profession Opportunity Grants program.
  • Results: Since the program's start, 241 participants have completed a healthcare training program, and 109 have found employment in healthcare occupations. Both participants and healthcare providers have expressed the value in local and cultural training for these healthcare professions.
Safe Farming, Safe Living
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: In 2014, the Avera St. Benedict Health Center's emergency department experienced a drastic increase in the amount of Hutterite patients with farm-related injuries.
  • Intervention: The South Dakota Critical Access Hospital created a program to educate Hutterite communities on farm hazards and safe work practices.
  • Results: Since the program began in 2015, the Avera St. Benedict emergency department has had no life-threatening agricultural injury admissions from the Hutterite communities. Attendees have said their confidence in their ability to identify hazards has increased, and more of them are using safety equipment on a regular basis.

Last Updated: 8/7/2020