Success Stories


Learn more about Community-based CHW/CHR programs and Medical/Clinical CHW/CHR programs along with individual CHW success stories in South Dakota.

Community-Based CHW/CHR Organizations

All About U Adoptions

Success Story -The client was an expecting mother who wanted to make an adoption plan for her baby. She spoke English as a second language, had a history of traumatic brain injury, was parenting her young autistic daughter, and was in an abusive relationship. AAU helped the client select an adoptive family and relocated her and her daughter temporarily. The CHWs assisted the client in many areas to equip her with the essential skills and services she needed, like helping her with housing and financial assistance applications and setting her up with educational classes.

Codington County Community Services

Success Story 1 – A 35-year-old woman faced a complex set of challenges in her life, including the combination of mental health issues and homelessness. The CHW supported the client in establishing goals, played a pivotal role in advocating for her housing application, and empowered her to navigate the challenges encountered during the application process.

Success Story 2 – A 47-year-old woman was dealing with various health challenges including diabetes, PTSD, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, low potassium, low magnesium, and a broader-line intellectual disability. She also recently stopped taking all prescribed medications. At a doctor’s appointment, the CHW learned more about the client’s health conditions and helped to facilitate essential healthcare support, including regularly checking glucose levels.

Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership

Success Story 1 – A client was dealing with significant visual impairment and ongoing food insecurity. The client had also recently been in and out of the hospital because of musculoskeletal issues. The CHW assisted the client in applying for Medicaid, helped him get a reading machine, and set him up with Meals-On-Wheels. The CHW also attended appointments to ensure clear communication between the client and healthcare providers.

Success Story 2 – A client had been dealing with a sagging brain condition, but was struggling to access healthcare because of his soft-spoken nature and inability to adequately express concerns. The CHW was an essential advocate, helping the client address his needs and concerns with the healthcare provider and advising him on how to better advocate for himself.

Success Story 3 – A client presented with significant health issues and social detriments. The CHW saw that he was struggling with balance and explained the assistance and resources of the CHW program. The CHW assisted him with the Medicaid application, educated him on medication, and addressed his food insecurities and safety needs in his home, along with various other needs.

Rural Office of Community Services (ROCS)

Success Story 1 – A 59-year-old woman was dropped off on the side of the road. She found the Rural Office of Community Services (ROCS) and received help moving into a hotel. When the CHW began working with this client she could barely walk, she had no money, no phone, no ID or birth certificate, no insurance or other resources, and needed dental and vision care. The CHW diligently worked with the client to address each of her needs.

South Dakota Voices for Peace

Success Story 1 – A client, who only spoke Spanish, was referred to the CHW due to his severe pain. He was referred to Yankton Medical Clinic and Avera Sacred Heart Hospital for an appendectomy. The bill incurred was very difficult as he had not been able to work for the previous two months. The CHW assisted in setting up a payment plan and helped secure financial aid to cover expenses. The CHW was also able to support the client by educating him in Spanish and then advocating in English to other service providers.

Success Story 2 – The client and her husband recently migrated to the US and neither were proficient in English. They lived with a manipulative and emotionally abusive friend. The CHW was able to assist by interpreting for the client and guiding them while the couple applied for services, found safe housing, and looked for employment. The CHW was also able to help navigate the client through the healthcare system.

The Club for Boys

Success Story 1 – The client was facing many hardships, including immediate financial constraints and housing insecurity, and was dealing with the effects of generational trauma and poverty. The CHW assisted the client with getting services to address his immediate needs, helped in accessing financial assistance, and guided the client through the housing application process.

Success Story 2 – The client had recently left an abusive relationship and found herself living out of her car and tent. She was afraid to seek help and use available resources for fear of having her child taken away. The CHW was able to build trust and helped the client acquire essential items needed. The CHW also helped the client understand and navigate the intricacies of the court system to pursue child support and custody arrangements.

Union Gospel Mission (UGM)

Success Story 1 – The client struggled to follow UGM program guidelines and rules and exhibited a prolonged attachment to her homeless identity. The CHWs helped the client obtain stable housing so she would not spend another winter homeless. They also helped the client find resources to improve her food access, helped obtain furniture for her home, and set up free transportation for medical appointments.

Success Story 2 – A client was dealing with multiple health concerns, including cognitive delay, and was unable to secure employment. The client had been under the care of a legal guardian who lived across the state but was very uninvolved. The CHWs have helped the client connect with tribal courts, guided him through housing applications, and connected him with Vocational Rehabilitation. The CHWs continue to work with the client and monitor his safety and stability and provide additional supports as needed.

Success Story 3 – A 19-year-old client with an active addiction was asked to leave our residential program due to breaking the rules. After meeting with the CHW, she client agreed to a treatment plan. The CHW stayed with the client through the entire admissions process, with ROIs and paperwork, and provided counselors and nursing staff with all pertinent information. The CHW also advocated for halfway house placement with intensive treatment programming for the client.


Success Story 1 – A client was at risk of having to leave the program due to her aggression and being noncompliant with her medications. The CHW assisted the client through the court system, helping her attain legal emancipation, which then enabled her to live in transitional housing. The client was then provided transportation services allowing her to be more independent and gave access to appointments and employment.

Success Story 2 – A client came to the program looking to improve her behavioral and mental health concerns, as well as become compliant with medication usage. The CHW provided the client with resources and guidance geared toward improving her health and helped her with a plan to ensure a responsible and effective approach to her medical regimen.

Medical/Clinical CHW/CHR Organizations

Avera Health

Success Story 1 – A CHW was called in to meet with a non-English speaking family regarding their daughter’s several medical issues. After discovering that the family had previously raised concerns about a persistent cockroach infestation with their landlord and no action was taken, the CHW promptly contacted and arranged for a professional exterminator to address the pest issue.

Success Story 2 – Due to the shared lived experience of the patient and the CHW, the patient was comfortable confiding in the CHW regarding his concerns about returning home after his stay in the hospital for an amputation. The CHW took steps to address his concerns within his home and within the community.

Success Story 3 – CHW played a crucial role in interpreting and conveying essential information to parents regarding the significance of specialty care for their child, creating a comfortable connection that alleviated a sense of misguided shame and concerns about transportation barriers.

Black Hills Pediatric Dentistry

Success Story 1 – A child presented with pain and facial swelling and required urgent surgery. If not done, the child would instead need to be transported to the hospital for inpatient infection care. One significant obstacle was that the child’s Medicaid was inactive. Because of the collaboration between the CHW and Medicaid, as well as the CHW’s tenacity to find a provider to conduct an after-hours pre-op health and physical, the doctor was able to complete surgery on the child the next day. An ROI summary is also included in this story.

Brookings Health System (BHS)

Success Story 1 – The patient had a high risk of mortality with respiratory failure, lost employment, and struggled with medications. The CHW connected the patient with resources to help with rent and utilities, assisted with medical financial assistance, and helped implement an action plan to become compliant with medications.

Success Story 2 – An elderly patient was referred to the CHW for a variety of reasons including communication barriers due to extreme hearing loss, living alone, little family support, frequent ED usage, and high anxiety regarding medical bills. The CHW took steps to address the patient’s hearing loss, educated on appropriate ED usage and general healthy eating and physical activity, and helped set up a payment plan with BHS’s billing department.

Success Story 3 – A 40-year-old patient visited BHS’s Emergency Department ten times over 14 months with no health insurance and he didn’t qualify for SD Medicaid. As a result, BHS had $44,593 uncollected during that time. The CHW was able to identify several social determinants of health (SDoH) issues. The CHW began building trust and educated the patient on the importance of establishing care with a primary care provider (PCP).

Huron Regional Medical Center (HRMC)

Success Story – HRMC’s CHW received a referral due to a 76-year-old, non-English-speaking female’s diagnosis of diabetes. The patient is unemployed, lives in a low-income apartment, relies on food stamps and Medicaid, and has no family support. The CHW took steps to address the patient’s diet needs and her financial sistuation. The CHW also explained the importance of preventative healthcare screening, which ultimately lead to the detection of cancer.

Sanford Health

Success Story 1 – The patient had uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, did not have a source of income, could not afford food or insulin, and had a recent fall. The CHW coordinated food delivery and connected the patient to the Capable Program to prevent another fall. The CHW also assisted in applying for financial and disability benefits and brought the patient’s financial situation to the attention of his care team prompting a reevaluation of his medical regimen.

Success Story 2 – A non-English speaking patient did not have an established primary care provider (PCP) as she thought that her OB/GYN was her PCP. The patient was not able to understand letters she’d received in the mail, resulting in personal and medical challenges. The CHW facilitated the process of requesting a PCP for the patient and was able to interpret for the patient helping with her financial issues.

Success Story 3 – This story includes an overview of Sanford’s Providing Needed Aid to Patients Locally (PNAPL) program and the services/interventions that are provided.

Submit and Review Success Stories Here!

As the Community Health Worker (CHW) workforce continues to grow and develop in South Dakota, the CHWSD welcomes any and all success stories. Whether you have a success story you’d just like to share with the CHWSD leadership, or a success story to share with everyone, please click below to submit your success story.