Groundbreaking Survey Tracks Healthcare Services Needs in South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sioux Falls, SD – The Rural Healthcare Program of The Helmsley Charitable Trust awarded a $1,447,033 grant to Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) to conduct groundbreaking research regarding healthcare services and needs in the state of South Dakota.

The South Dakota Health Survey: A Picture of Health is dedicated to providing insight into the availability and accessibility of rural healthcare across South Dakota. Through this survey, The Trust will collect data to match intervention to need. The population-wide assessment measures:

  • Prevalence of various health conditions
  • Access to care and services
  • Barriers to care and services

There is no current accurate estimate of unmet health needs in rural areas. The findings of this survey will help paint a picture of the current health situation in South Dakota. These results will also enable The Rural Healthcare Program of The Helmsley Charitable Trust, which has made grants of more than $190 million for a wide range of healthcare services throughout the upper Midwest region since 2009, to gauge ways to improve access to care and quality of care, and to establish care models in rural areas.

Before we can help with access to care and services, we need to define the problem. Good models for care exist, but deploying them requires data.

Shelley Stingley, Program Director of the Trust's Rural Healthcare Program

Beginning in October, 17,600 random households will be sent a letter that outlines the survey and encourages their participation. The survey’s outreach protocol will include a series of postcards, mailings and follow-up phone calls, all of which will offer incentives for completing the survey. To ensure the study adequately captures data from South Dakota’s American Indian population, which makes up nine percent of South Dakota’s population, 1,000 in-person American Indian surveys will be conducted, along with 1,000 interviews with individuals who are homeless and other specific populations. The final goal of this initiative is 12,000 completed surveys.

“We want to know about the health needs in rural America. Before we can help with access to care and services, we need to define the problem. Good models for care exist, but deploying them requires data,” notes Shelley Stingley, Program Director of the Rural Healthcare Program. “I believe this project has great potential to influence service delivery models in South Dakota, the surrounding region and ideally the rest of the country.”

Oregon Health & Science University is a nationally-prominent research university and Oregon’s only public academic health center.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, established in 1999, supports a diverse range of organizations with a major focus on health and medical research, human services, education and conservation. To date, The Trust has announced more than $958 million in grants to charitable organizations since 2008.