Medica Foundation 2020 Rural Health Report

COMMUNITY VOICES

Jordon Johnson, Executive Director of Life House (Duluth, MN) “In Duluth, one of our biggest challenges is connecting young people experiencing homelessness to primary care physicians prior to going to the emergency room for non-emergent care. When someone is unsure where they will be staying from one night to the next, making an appointment to see a doctor is not a priority, particularly for mental health concerns. Most of our young people are low income and do not have consistent cell phone service or access to the internet. Transportation can also be a struggle. Medica Foundation funding has allowed us to expand our mental health and wellness teams, allowing us to provide critical services for struggling youth in our area. We are working diligently to connect young people to health care providers and are exploring options available to reduce barriers to appropriate health services. Our partnership with the Medica Foundation is critical to our work.” Charlie Mandile, Executive Director of HealthFinders Collaborative (Northfield, MN) “Rice County is home to some of the most extreme health disparities and inequities in the state. With twice the state average of Latino immigrants and one of the largest populations of Somali refugees outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area, there are unique challenges and opportunities in serving these groups. Recent community health assessments have identified chronic disease, mental health and access to care as top priorities. Our strong partnership with the Medica Foundation entrusts us, the local agency, with longstanding relationships in the community, to identify both needs and opportunities to address local health and wellness care. Support for our programs enables us to continue innovating and developing our unique model of care that incorporates not just clinical care, but community-based wellness support. As a result of the Medica Foundation taking a chance on us, we now have Rice county’s only bilingual mental health therapist, and a robust mental wellness program.”

Maren Gemar, Executive Director of Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization (HERO) (Fargo, ND)

“With North Dakota having fewer larger cities than most states, individuals often must drive over 100 miles to access medical products such as wheel chairs, walkers and bathroom safety items. With the funding we have received from the Medica Foundation over the past 10 years, hundreds of additional individuals in rural communities have received important medical equipment for their care. In 2019, we served over 5,500 individuals across North Dakota, which includes several rural communities. Without the support of the Medica Foundation, we would have turned away individuals in need or limited the amount of items they could have received on a monthly basis.”

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