The people living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota struggle with healthcare access that their counterparts in La Crosse take for granted.
Isolated and sparsely populated, the South Dakota reservation is vast—3,500 square miles—with its residents facing a life expectancy 20 years lower than the U.S. average. Gundersen Global Partners has teamed with communities there to help improve access to healthcare and educational opportunities. Here is a summary of July-December 2016 activities.
Global Partners, Health For Generations Camp
For the fourth time, partnered with Lakota mental health practitioners and Viterbo mental health counseling program to offer a healing camp for Lakota youth.
School District of La Crosse Health Science Academy (HSA) students and faculty hosted a health fair for 457 Lakota students from three tribal schools about healthy lifestyle choices including substance abuse, nutrition, mental health and more.
Youth leadership camp
Twenty-two HSA students and eight staff offered the Summer Youth Leadership Camp for the fourth year in a row, involving 22 Lakota youth.
Gundersen volunteers provided three, weeklong clinics from July-December with services in family medicine, neurology, Ob/Gyn, men’s health and behavioral health. Provided care to 173 patients and education to patients and staff.
Provided 207 physical exams for Head Start and high school students; referred 89 students for further care that included dental care, vision, pain and cardiac murmurs.
Behavioral health at schools
Delivered prevention presentations to all students in grades 1-12 at Crazy Horse School that focused on stress management, coping skills, resiliency and problem solving; brought development opportunities to 45 teachers and staff on high-risk behaviors; and reviewed six mental health cases at Crazy Horse School.
What new initiatives are planned for 2017?
- Provide medical education and behavioral health consultation via Skype.
- Offer new specialty services including pediatric ophthalmology, physical therapy and chiropractic services to support alternative pain management.
- Pilot summer camp in response to requests by Leadership Camp youth.
- Discuss library and reading programs support with school partners on the reservation.
- Provide a train-the-trainer ACT Parenting Class to Oglala Lakota College Head Start program.
Your financial support improves health and well-being… Be a part of Global Partners' work with gifts or volunteering for a trip. Volunteer opportunities include Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and Hamilton Early Learning Center in La Crosse.
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