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Our Team

Collaborative Guidance

The Community Health Worker Collaborative of South Dakota is guided by the South Dakota Department of Health (SD DOH), Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion – specifically the Diabetes Prevention and Control and Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Programs.

The CHWSD is coordinated by Sage Project Consultants of Sioux Falls and Vermillion, SD.

Team

Ben Tiensvold

Community Outreach Coordinator

Ben has served as the lead contact for the CHWSD since its inception in January 2020. He has led the CHWSD through significant growth over the first two years, in part due to the CDC Health Disparities Grant funding the SD Department of Health received in June of 2021. For the past seven years, Ben served as the Coordinator for the South Dakota Diabetes Coalition (SDDC) through his work as a Communications Specialist and now Project Coordinator with Sage Project Consultants. Ben is passionate about the CHW profession and works to be an ally for all CHWs in South Dakota and across the country. Ben previously worked with the SD Department of Health in 2015 and 2016 on Community Health Worker-related introductory projects. This work led to key recommendations for CHWs (which the South Dakota Department of Social Services then used to develop CHW reimbursement). Ben has Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication Studies and Public Relations from Southwest Minnesota State University and is currently pursuing his Master of Public Health degree from New Mexico State University.

Julie Klinger

Community Outreach Coordinator – Community Based Organizations

Julie began her professional career as a Social Worker with the South Dakota Department of Social Services in Child Protection and then worked at Lutheran Social Services in the Adoption program as a Social Worker. After several years at LSS, Julie pursued her master’s degree in Social Work from Iowa State University and then became the adoption program director at LSS.  Julie also has worked in the field of human trafficking as the Director of Operations and Grants Manager at Call to Freedom prior to joining the Community Health Worker Collaborative team. Julie works with community-based organizations regarding CHW program development.

Sharon Chontos

CDC Evaluation Liaison

Sharon Chontos serves as the CDC Evaluation Liaison for the CHWSD. Sharon has over 15 years of experience in grant management, evaluation, and consulting experience with public agencies, non-profits and for-profits, and universities. Sharon works to assist organizations with CHW Programs to evaluate their programs to ensure program sustainability. She also works as the liaison between the CHWSD and the SD DOH and the CDC. Sharon holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the South Dakota Schools of Mines and Technology and is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Program Evaluation from Michigan State University. Additionally, Sharon helps organizations to calculate the ROI for their CHW program and calculate and evaluate patient and organization successes.

Stephanie Powers, MPHA

Tribal Liaison and Program Assistant

Stephanie Powers serves as one of the Tribal Liaisons for the CHWSD and also as a Program Assistant for the CHWSD working with private payers. Her diverse background includes working in healthcare, higher education, and the non-profit sector. She has more than a decade of leadership experience in program development, grants, marketing, and communication. She joined South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care in 2021 as a Program Manager. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Montana State University-Bozeman and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Stephanie supports tribal partners in the central and western part of the state.

Vicki Palmreuter

Tribal Liaison and Program Assistant

As a program manager for the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN), Vicki’s experience as a Master Trainer Outreach Ambassador for Better Choices, Better Health South Dakota will offer valuable insights to assist health care facilities with referral processes and outcome tracking of patients struggling with diabetes and other chronic conditions. During her time as the community health coordinator at Regional Health (now Monument Health), she led the community health needs assessment process while researching and advocating for population health principles. Vicki graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, with a bachelor of arts in biology. Vicki will work with Stephanie to support tribal programs in central and western South Dakota and to build relationships with private payers.

Kayla Magee, RN

Diabetes Outreach Coordinator

Kayla Magee is the Diabetes Program Coordinator for the South Dakota Department of Health, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Kayla is the primary SD Department of Health contact for the CHWSD and oversees the CDC-funded CHW work in South Dakota.

CHWSD Collaborative Support

The Community Health Worker Collaborative of South Dakota (CHWSD) is funded by the SD DOH to provide coordination efforts and activities to support CHWs in South Dakota. More information about the SD DOH and additional CHW initiatives can be found here:
The CHWSD is coordinated by Sage Project Consultants, LLC, of Sioux Falls and Vermillion, SD. More information about Sage can be found here: