|Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma, dentist and dental director|
for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux
Center, was selected as one of 18 scholars from
across the nation for the National Oral Health
Learning Institute. NOHTI is a yearlong program.
by Derrick Vander Waal
SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma is being immersed into intensive training for leadership of community health center dental program.
The dentist and dental director for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center was selected as one of 18 participants nationwide in the 2015-16 class of the National Oral Health Learning Institute (NOHLI).
Tjeerdsma returned this week from a four-day National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA) Conference, which was Nov. 15-18 in Indianapolis, IN, that all of the NOHLI scholars were required to attend. Nancy Dykstra, Promise’s executive director, also was required to accompany him to the initial conference.
Tjeerdsma, who completed his dental training at Creighton University Dental School in Omaha, NE, in May and assumed his position at Promise in July, said he was amazed by how many community health centers there are nationwide.
“After attending NNOHA and discussing issues with other NOHLI scholars, I saw that many of the issues that I deal with on a day-to-day basis are the same issues that many other dental directors face on a day-to-day basis as well,” he said. “I feel that with the connections that I made with other dental directors, along with the connection I made with NNOHA, I have gained resources to better address the challenges that I face.”
Tjeerdsma took part in an introductory webinar and did initial coursework in advance of the national conference. Throughout the year, he will complete seven recorded modules and assignments, six 90-minute live webinars and four 60-minute learning pod meetings. He also will attend a three-day NOHLI Boot Camp in the spring in Denver, CO, and attend a wrap-up meeting during the 2016 NNOHA Conference in November 2016 in Denver. He also will be required to devote time to testing and implementing practical changes in the dental practice.
He thinks the yearlong learning institute will be a productive experience for him.
“I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about how to run a dental program in a health center, along with gaining further information for my skills as a clinician,” Tjeerdsma said.
Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org.