Rural populations and agriculture communities understand the value of effective tools and community connections. Chronic disease self-management programs (CDSMP) use these same concepts to improve quality of life for those managing a health condition. Despite a desire to improve their health, the time commitment for weekly travel prevented many in rural areas from participating. 

Recognizing the need for change, Better Choices, Better Health® SD (BCBH) partnered with the Great Plains Chairmen’s (now Leaders) Health Board to develop a virtual option to increase reach in tribal communities. The timing couldn’t have been better.  

Vicki Palmreuter SDFMC“In the midst of planning, COVID-19 happened. We adapted the process and offered the workshop over Zoom for all participants,” explained Vicki Palmreuter, BCBH master trainer and referral coordinator. “All of the planning for the pilot workshop helped us prepare to launch other virtual workshops in response to the pandemic.” 

Online and telephone workshop formats are now available across the Dakotas with registration provided on the following websites.  

Action Alert:  While virtual delivery increases accessibility, expanding participation relies largely on healthcare professional referrals. The South Dakota Department of Health is asking healthcare professionals to provide feedback using an online survey to improve and expand referrals to CDSMP.