Grant to bring community health workers to CommonSpirit facilities in North Dakota, including Devils Lake – Grand Forks Herald

DEVILS LAKE – CommonSpirit Health has received a $550,000 grant to expand its Total Health Roadmap, a program that addresses the social determinants of health, in North Dakota.

The grant allows CommonSpirit to introduce community health workers to CommonSpirit facilities across the state, including CHI St. Alexius Health in Devils Lake, who will connect patients to non-medical services in their communities.

The grant is one of 24 health equity grants awarded to nonprofit organizations across the United States by Bristol Myers Squibb, a biopharmaceutical company, totaling approximately $8 million to improve care in underserved communities. served. CommonSpirit will use the grant to bring community health workers to facilities in Dickinson, Beach, Lisbon, Oakes, Carrington, New Rockford, Devils Lake and Milnor.

The Total Health Roadmap is a program that helps connect patients to non-medical community services. The program is based on the social determinants of health, which the US Department of Health and Human Services describes as living conditions that affect health and quality of life. These factors can be grouped into five domains: economic stability, access to education, access to health care, neighborhood environment and social context.

By helping patients navigate services that provide stability, social support, and access to care and education, CommonSpirit aims to improve patients’ overall health, even when they are not providing direct care.

“This gives us the opportunity to take a truly integrated approach to care management in these communities,” said Marvin Smoot, president of the North Dakota/Minnesota division of CommonSpirit’s Catholic Health Initiatives.

CommonSpirit currently operates the Total Health Roadmap program in Minnesota, Iowa Kentucky and Colorado, and funding from Bristol Myers Squibb will allow it to expand to North Dakota for the first time.

At the center of the program is the Community Health Worker, who is responsible for connecting patients to community services, such as food banks and medical transportation services, as well as helping them navigate the process of seeking help. financial assistance such as Medicaid or food stamps.

“It’s been really eye-opening to see the challenges that so many of our patients face, and we wanted to address that,” Smoot said. “The Total Health Roadmap, with the introduction of Community Health Workers, creates this unifying individual to connect the community and the care they receive.”

In addition to connecting patients to other community resources, Smoot says community health workers will also serve as health advocates and sources of information for patients. It could look like nutrition education about the types of foods to choose from at a grocery store or food bank, or a discussion about care options. Smoot says a particularly important area of ​​patient education now is vaccines.

“We really want to look at confidence in vaccines, not just for COVID but for all vaccines,” Smoot said. “When you look at the incidence of people not having childhood vaccinations, we’ve seen a bit more hesitation since COVID for that kind of care, but it’s definitely a push that we want to keep moving forward.”

And in terms of linking medical and non-medical care in a community, it goes both ways, Smoot explained. While some patients receiving CommonSpirit care may require non-medical support, some community members may require medical care.

“People don’t necessarily say they need help. Sometimes we have to find them, and that community health worker is going to help us find those people and get them the care they need,” Smoot said.

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