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Wirtjes Named Community Health Worker Ally of the Year

Posted on: June 1, 2023   |   Category: News
Heidi W

For immediate release.
June 1, 2023

WATERTOWN, SD – Heidi Wirtjes, Business Partner Specialist at Lake Area Technical College, has been named the Community Health Worker Ally of the Year. The award was presented at the second annual Community Health Worker South Dakota (CHWSD) conference held in Sioux Falls. The CHW Ally of the Year award is presented to a tireless supporter of the Community Health Worker field and plays a key role in growing, developing, and sustaining the CHW workforce in South Dakota.

Lake Area Tech Community Health Worker Program Supervisor Kelly Heesch submitted the nomination and said, “Heidi was the first Community Health Worker instructor in the state of South Dakota. In addition to her role as Lake Area Tech’s Business Partner Specialist, Heidi meets regularly with healthcare and social service organizations promoting the Community Health Worker role across our state. Heidi is actively involved in educating these and other organizations about the important role of CHWs, as well as the cost savings realized by organizations that employ CHWs.”

Heidi sought the guidance of CHWSD to establish a solid foundation for the Community Health Worker program at Lake Area Tech. CHWSD Community Outreach Coordinator Ben Tiensvold remarked, “Heidi is such an asset to the CHW workforce in South Dakota through her years of working. She has worked tirelessly to get the LATC CHW training program to where it is today, and, in doing so, has significantly impacted the workforce for years to come. We are so fortunate to have such a developed CHW training program available in South Dakota.”

Lake Area Tech offers an online Community Health Worker certificate program. Heesch went on to say, “Heidi adapted and revised LATC’s CHW associate degree program to meet the needs of the SD Disparities Grant, creating the first CHW one-semester online curriculum for students across our state.”

To learn more about the online Community Health Worker certificate program at Lake Area Tech, please visit www.lakeareatech.edu.