Profile of the Week:Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Wellness Program

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The Fort Peck Tribes have taken the lead to promote the health of their people. In 2003, they created the Health Promotion/Disease Prevention (HP/DP) Wellness Program, a tribally operated, locally controlled initiative whose mission is to restore the traditional values of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes and help their communities return to a healthier lifestyle. The program increases access to mental, physical, and spiritual health resources by focusing on the health of their communities and the prevention of disease and illness. Each initiative supported through the Wellness Program looks to their past for the values and traditions that will provide a healthy lifestyle and place to live in the present.

For many years, outside entities have developed health related programs and services within their communities that have proved ineffective and unsustainable. The HP/DP Wellness Program originated from within the community and every aspect of the program from the leadership, to the funding sources, to the methods employed, support the sovereignty, and inherent dignity of their people. This program is the product of the Fort Peck Tribes taking the initiative to solve their own health problems with their own ingenuity and resources while utilizing their unique structures for sovereign tribal governance. The program capitalizes on the ability of the tribe to provide its own health services, independent of the Indian Health Services and capture reimbursement at the all-inclusive rate for Medicaid, which allows the program to provide services free of charge to tribal members regardless of insurance status.

One of the many aspects of the HP/DP Wellness Program is the Elders Involved Initiative. Many of the issues faced by the Fort Peck Tribe are directly related to the decline of traditional and cultural values. Elders from each of the Fort Peck communities were asked to help the tribes address issues such as substance abuse, tobacco, injury and violence, diabetes, environmental quality, nutrition, obesity and physical activity and exercise, responsible behavior and traditional healing.

The Elders felt it was their responsibility to inform the community about the importance of these issues, and to take an active role in addressing them. Consequently they sponsored a series of monthly meetings to address health topics. They continue to provide guidance to the Tribal membership particularly the youth, in defining a value system that will lead to a healthier lifestyle and a more productive tribe, and have expressed their desire to be included in other tribal efforts to address these critical health issues. The values identified by Local Elders are: responsibility, respect, prayer, discipline, compassion, love, trust, sharing, honesty, and everyone raises a child. Five Elders have made a commitment to working with youth in the schools next year to model and reinforce the importance of these values. The Elders will enhance knowledge about healthy diets, the importance of physical activity, and the negative impact of smoking tobacco for the youth.


fort-peckLearn more here!

The Healthy Teton County Coalition


The Healthy Teton County Coalition began in October 2013, when several concerned community members got together and brainstormed how business, organizations, and individuals living and working in Teton County could get together and advocate for healthier lifestyles.

There are already a good number of resources available in Teton County that promote healthy living, and the Coalition strives to serve as a network for those resources, making them more accessible to its residents. The coalition has advocated for healthier lifestyles by promoting local fun runs and putting on a local bike fair with Benefis. The bike fair was able to provide free helmets and bike safety education to 3rd graders in Teton County. The Healthy Teton County Coalition is open to anyone and everyone who is investing in making Teton County a happier, healthier place to live.


To promote healthy living among residents of Teton County through community-wide collaboration and communication.


The Healthy Teton County Coalition is a united effort to improve the quality of life and health of residents of Teton County.

1. Focus on a community-wide network and effective communication that will improve access to existing resources in Teton County
2. Periodically assess the health status and needs of individuals living in Teton County.
3. Identify and prioritize shared objectives that will improve the health of Teton County residents, including long-term systems level change and short-term high impact projects.
4. Establish local partnerships and community problem solving capacity that will address the prioritized objectives.


Contact Melissa Moyer at 406-466-2562/ for more information


Learn more here!

bike-fair bike-fair-2

Edible Schoolyard Project Boulder, MT


Boulder Elementary School

October is farm to school month which recognizes the importance of having fresh fruits and vegetables and, in turn, supporting local farms.  The aim of The Edible Schoolyard Project is to use outdoor and greenhouse agricultural gardening for the classroom and community as a means for education. In school, cross-curricular education as well as adult education can offer local families with tools to help them produce their own food, learn about local food networks, and provide educational opportunities including nutrition and healthy lifestyles. For the past 10 years, Boulder Elementary School’s 21st century afterschool and summer school programs have used gardening as a means to educate our students and community.

Boulder’s 21st century garden program started as a service project to help local elders with their gardens. The program has flourished and includes year-round garden education allowing students to follow the garden in a full circle.

During the afterschool program, the youth plan and prepare the garden beds then plant seeds indoors in spring. The students transplant seedlings, care for the garden, and harvest throughout the 8-week Summer Program. Harvesting and preserving continues into the fall. A fall harvest festival follows to celebrate the successes of the year. Through programming, students have the opportunity to learn how to prepare and preserve the fresh produce from the gardens during the summer and afterschool programs.

Learn more here!




Diabetes Empowerment Education Program


Mountain-Pacific Quality Health invites anyone with diabetes or high blood sugar (pre-diabetes) to join them for a series of free classes that provides tips and information about how to take control of diabetes.

In this series of six classes, participants will learn about:
• How diabetes affects people—both physically and emotionally
• How to find healthy eating habits while still enjoying food
• How to be safely active all year
• How to develop skills and action plans for staying healthy
• How to be an effective member of their health care team with their doctors, health care providers, and diabetes educators

Take charge of your health and control diabetes! Play these fun and educational activities to learn more about healthy eating, diabetes, and your body!


Click on a city below to find out more information on their Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP)TM!

Billings           Anaconda            Townsend                 Lewistown                Scobey

Learn more about the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program here!

Interested in becoming a trained diabetes educator? Click here!


For more information please contact Melonie Van Dyke Phone: 406-457-5819 Email:

or Stephanie Paugh Phone: (406) 320-2106 Email:


Cascade County Safe Kids Coalition


Safe Kids Cascade County, which is led by the Cascade County Health Department, provides a dedicated and caring staff with operation support and other resources to assist in achieving our common goal: keeping your kids safe. Based on the needs of the community, this coalition implements evidence-based programs, such as car-seat checkups, safety workshops, and sports clinics that help parents and caregivers prevent childhood injuries. Coalition members include representatives from the school district, health care, law enforcement, businesses, and other community agencies.

The Safe Kids Cascade County Coalition, part of Buckle Up Montana, works to prevent unintentional injury and death. Although observed safety belt use in Montana is just under 80%, if between 87% and 94% of Montanans used seatbelts, it is estimated that an additional 20-30 lives would be saved each year. That number increases to 75 additional lives if seatbelt use were 100%. Increased seatbelt use results in fewer injuries and deaths.

By law, in Montana all children up to 6 years old and up to 60 pounds have to use a car seat or booster seat. Larger children should also be in boosters until they are around 4 ft. 9 in. tall. The Safe Kids Coalition may have car seats and booster seats available for free or reduced cost.

Cascade County Statistics – 2013 

Total number of motor vehicle crashes- 2021cascade_county_trnsprnt

Total injuries-                                            445

Fatalities-                                                   10

Montana Asthma Project Havre, MT

The soft glow of sunlight saturates the colors of fall looking toward Saddle Butte in Havre, Montana, on October 12, 2010. (Nikki Carlson/Havre Daily News/Associated Press)


The Montana Asthma Control Program is a grant funded program that focuses on the 0-17 age group to improve their quality of life.  Identifying environmental factors and asthma triggers helps with the overall management of asthma. An Asthma Control Nurse will focus on educating your child and family to help reduce office visits caused by asthma attacks.

What the program provides:
· Free asthma related patient education materials
· 4-6 Free in-home visits over a 12 month time
· Free hypoallergenic mattress covers and pillow case covers
· If quality of air is poor in-house, free humidifier
· Free one-on-one education from the Asthma Control Nurse
· Form an Asthma Action Plan individualized to your child

Contact Jeri Erickson, LPN, Asthma Control Program Case Manager at 395-4305 or 390-2210.

Learn more here!


Diabetes Prevention Program Big Timber, MT




Big Timber Diabetes Prevention Program(DPP)

The Diabetes Prevention Program(DPP) is a lifestyle intervention program that helps participants become more active, eat healthier, and make sustainable changes. Kelsey Proue, a registered dietitian at Pioneer Medical Center, is heading a program that assists community members in a lifestyle change that offers more than just weight loss. This proven program can help people with prediabetes and/or at risk for type 2 diabetes make achievable and realistic lifestyle changes. DPP is a twelve month program offered to those 18 and older with a body mass index or BMI of over 24 and at least one of the following risk factors:

  • Pre-diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high triglycerides
  • Had gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) or delivered a baby >9 lbs.

A Big Timber resident, Brian Engle, was featured in The Big Timber Pioneer explaining his efforts to change his own personal lifestyle. Having the motivation, drive, and the assistance of the DPP, Brian successfully lost fifty-three pounds. See more of Brian’s story here.

Program Benefits:

  • 6 month gym membership
  • 16 weekly sessions with a registered dietitian
  • 6 monthly sessions with lifestyle coach
  • Cost is covered with Medicare and other private insurance

Health Fair Dates:October 12-14 2016 and May 2017

For more information on the Diabetes Prevention Program:

Contact Kelsey Proue  (406)932-4603 or




Central Montana Public Health Program

Fergus County


The purpose of the Central Montana Health District (CMHD) is to improve and protect the health of the population of Fergus, Golden Valley, Judith Basin, Musselshell, Petroleum and Wheatland counties by providing local government leadership and advocacy on behalf of public health issues. Central Montana Public Health Program is improving the health communities through education, health promotion and disease & injury prevention. Programs consists of Central Montana Health District (CMHD) and Fergus County Nurse’s Office (FCNO).


Fergus County Nurse’s Office (FCNO) Key Services:

  • Ensures Immunizations For Infant & Children, Pre-Teens, Adults
  • School based Immunization for Hep B, TdaP, and MMR
  • Information about Vaccines & Autism, Daycare safety Education & Resource
  • Immunization Record check in all daycares
  • Assist CMHD if needed with Communicable Disease
  • Food borne & Water borne and Dog Bite Investigations
  • Communicable Disease Prevention Education & Resource for staff and County residents Head Lice education resource
  • Coordinates the Fetal Infant Child Mortality Review Team for Fergus County
  • Jail Nursing
  • Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Local/State Level
  • Human Services Coalition
  • Board of Health Involvement
  • Throat Cultures-Strep
  • Urine alcohol and drug screening for DFS/Individuals/Court Systems
  • Fergus County Loan Closet
  • Blood Pressures on walk-in basis
  • School Health Education Resource
  • School Personnel health information
  • Travel: Immunization Resource & Education
  • Community Health Fairs
  • Local Registrar
The Montana Office of Rural Health has discovered through interviews with local Montanans that Public Health Departments are often under utilized. 
” Access to healthcare is a huge issue. The community needs knowledge of what is available. Even with the health department here in the community, people don’t know what they provide. Public Health is an underutilized resource. ” Quote from local Montanan 

Learn more about Public Health Departments near you!

Learn more about Fergus County:

Phone: 406-535-3983
Visit the Central Montana Health District page

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flathead County


Big Brothers Big Sisters is not your typical organization. They help children realize their potential and build their futures. They nurture children and strengthen communities.

They believe that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters live in low-income and single-parent families, or households where a parent is incarcerated. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).

Evidence suggests that Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) reduces delinquent behavior and improves school outcomes among mentees. Community-based BBBS can reduce youth’s aggressive behavior, improve relationships with parents, prevent boys from initiating illegal drug use, and improve girls’ academic performance.

Looking for a way for your community or organization to start Big Brothers Big Sisters in your community? Become a community partner.

Profile of the Week: Nourish the Flathead

Nourish the Flathead

Nourish the Flathead’s mission is to reconnect people to the sources of our food through education, outreach and market support. 


Nourish the Flathead runs a community garden behind Flathead Valley Community College, within that garden they run a youth program called Stand Up. Dig in. (SUDI).  The beds that SUDI works contain food that is donated to the Flathead Food Bank.


Nourish the Flathead works with youth programs in Kalispell; The Montana Academy, the Flathead Youth Home, Center for Restorative Youth Justice and the Sinopah House.

Currently, they have a dedicated board that helps make everything happen.  They hope to begin funding their projects through grants now that they have their 501c3.

They also run the SNAP booth at the Whitefish Farmers Market and work to promote local food and businesses that use local food through our website.



Nourish the Flathead strives to work to connect youth to gardening, local food and community service, thus they work with youth in both their community garden as well as our SNAP booth.  They also have 40 plots within the garden that are rented by adults in the Kalispell area and help fund their garden project.  They endeavor to involve the adults in the Nourish Community as well.



For more information, please visit:

Nourish the Flathead:

Nourish the Flathead on Facebook:

Their Partner Organization, Farm Hands: