Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board (GPTCHB) staff recently attended the Chronic Disease Partners Meeting in Mitchell, SD at the Highland Conference Center. The meeting was hosted by the South Dakota Department of Health’s Good and Healthy South Dakota Program. The focus of the meeting was “Building Better Health Together: Coalitions at Work.” The festivities kicked off with pre-meeting discussions and updates from the Better Choices Better Health Program and Purposeful Conversations presented by Dr. Fran Butterfoss, served as the keynote speaker for the meeting. Her presentation was entitled, “Ignite! Getting your Community Coalition ‘Fired Up’ for Change.” Based on her years of coalition building, Dr. Butterfoss shared the structuring and processes that coalition need to effetely manage themselves, develop their members, carry out strategies, evaluate themselves, and sustain themselves long enough to accomplish their goals. This information was very valuable to the GPTCHB staff because a majority of the staff work with coalitions in their tribal communities.
The meeting included multiple breakout sessions, including needs assessments in communities, developing leadership, reducing the burden of chronic disease in South Dakota, and assessing community health needs to achieve healthy populations. During the luncheon, updates from the Chronic Disease State Plan were shared with participants. The afternoon breakout sessions consisted of community coalitions on high blood pressure, a case study of the Canli Coalition, empowering coalitions to use data, and implementing diabetes prevention programs. The meeting concluded with Dr. Peg Allen presenting on Evidence-Based Chronic Disease in South Dakota. Dr. Allen’s presentation focused on summarized data collected through surveys and interviews with the South Dakota Department of Health’s Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
The meeting concluded with final remarks from the planning committee staff. The staff encouraged participants to serve on the planning committee to organize next year’s meeting. The overall meeting was a valuable experience for the GPTCHB staff as they continue to expand their network of partners and sustain the relationships that were created over time. GPTCHB staff will utilize all the knowledge and resources obtained at this meeting to apply them to the work they are doing in tribal communities.