July 2016
    Office of Rural Health and Primary Care graphic



2016 Minnesota Rural Health Graphic

2016 Minnesota Rural Health Conference
More than 650 rural health professionals, advocates and students participated in this year's conference. Thank you to all who made the 2016 Rural Health Conference a success! Remember to sign up to receive email notices about next year's conference.

2016 Minnesota Rural Health Awards
This year's Rural Health Award Winners were announced at the Awards Luncheon at the 2016 Rural Health Conference. The 2016 Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award went to Paul Van Gorp, MD, a family practice provider at CentraCare Health–Long Prairie. The 2016 Rural Health Hero Award went to Matthew E. Bernard, MD, co-founder and medical director at The Center Clinic in Dodge Center. The 2016 Rural Health Team award went to the Morrison County Prescription Drug Task Force in Little Falls. For more information, read the full 2016 Rural Health Awards press release.

MRHA/Stratis Health Emerging Rural Health Leader Award
The Minnesota Rural Health Association (MRHA) and Stratis Health presented the first Emerging Rural Health Leader Award at this year´s Minnesota Health Conference. The award recognizes an outstanding rural health professions student. The winner this year was Alena Tofte, a medical student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth who helped found and is now the first President of the MRHA Student Chapter. Honorable Mentions went to Kara Ristau, a graduate student in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Minnesota State University Mankato and Anna Langworthy, a student in the Dental Hygiene Program at Minnesota State University Mankato.



Percent of Minnesota physicians' time spent providing primary care services

Data source: 2013 Minnesota Department of Health Physician Workforce Survey

For more information on Minnesota's health care workforce, visit the Health Workforce Analysis, Office of Rural Health and Primary Care website


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Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Grant Program
The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) grant program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Health, distributes grants annually to providers of clinical medical education. The next application cycle is expected to open in late August 2016 and will be due on October 31. For more information, contact Diane Reger at 651-201-3566.


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

Broadband Grant Program Funding Available
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will begin taking applications on July 22 to expand broadband infrastructure in Minnesota. The $35 million in available funding approved during the 2016 legislative session goes into effect with the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year. DEED will award grants through its Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program to pay for up to 50 percent of project development costs in unserved and underserved areas of the state. A maximum of $5 million per grant will be available. More details about the program and the process for applying are available on the DEED website.

Gannett Foundation Community Action Grants
The Gannett Foundation Community Action Grants program supports local organizations with funding priority given to programs in communities served by Gannett Co., Inc that focus on education and neighborhood improvement, economic and youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation, and cultural enrichment. Applications are due August 29.

Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health
The Great Plains Center offers grant funding to both scholarly researchers and community organizations engaged in agricultural safety and health activities. Funding is available up to $15,000 for two types of projects. The purpose of the Community Outreach/Education Grant is to enhance delivery of evidence-based agricultural health programs. Community projects are typically submitted by non-profit community entities delivering agricultural safety and health programs. The purpose of the Academic/Scholarly Research Grant is to create new agricultural safety and health knowledge, and to assess and promote best safety and health practices. Scholarly research projects are typically submitted by students, staff, and faculty of academic institutions. Research projects will be judged for scientific merit. The application deadline is August 15.


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MRHA's New Advocacy Certificate Program
Beginning July 19, the Minnesota Rural Health Association (MRHA) will offer an eight-month certificate program in Rural Health Advocacy. This new venture by MRHA stems from strategic planning that identified the need to build more effective capacity among rural health advocates to make a difference on rural health policy issues. For more information visit the MRHA website. To register, email Steve Gottwalt at

Nominations for 2016 Community Health Awards
Nominate someone you think deserves a Community Health Award. The awards will be presented by Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger on September 28 during the Community Health Conference. For more information, contact Megan Drake-Pereyra at 651-201-3640.

Nominations for Nurse of the Year
The March of Dimes is honored to pay tribute to the nursing profession by recognizing extraordinary nurses throughout the community. The Nurse of the Year event will be held October 14. For more information, contact Jonathon McCarthy at 612-326-9441.


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Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics
Six clinics are working to become Minnesota’s first Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, a new model that improves and integrates care for people with mental illness and substance use disorder. By offering a high level of coordination between primary care providers, chemical health providers, social services agencies, counties, tribes, veterans' programs and other key partners, the clinics are expected to serve as a “one-stop-shop” and help people before they face a crisis. As a result, families will be more likely to avoid the emergency room and less likely to involve law enforcement. Those six clinics are: Northern Pines Mental Health Center in the north central part of the state; Northwestern Mental Health Center serving seven northwest counties; Wilder Children and Family Services in the Twin Cities metro area; People Incorporated in the Twin Cities metro area; Ramsey County Mental Health Center in the Twin Cities metro area; and Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center in Olmsted and Fillmore Counties in the southeast.

NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center establishes Asthma Clinic
Children in inner cities such as North Minneapolis have greater contact with pollutants than suburban and rural children. There is also an inequity of asthma services for low-income people. NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center recognized barriers to good asthma care and responded by establishing the Asthma Clinic, funded through a 2016 reinvestment grant from Hennepin Health. The grant will pay for hiring a nurse and a social worker in order to strengthen care coordination and achieve better aftercare results. By improving these services children will receive preventive care, rather than episodic care.

Second Harvest Heartland
A $250,000 grant was awarded to Second Harvest Heartland, to implement a multi-pronged project that will accomplish the following:

  • Diabetes–focused healthy food provision, patient education intervention and research study with Allina Health clinics in Cambridge, Coon Rapids, North Branch, and West St. Paul. The results of this intervention will be evaluated and Second Harvest Heartland will share results and best practices.

  • Diabetes and lipid-metabolism disorder focused healthy food provision, patient education intervention and research study with CentraCare Family Health Center Clinic in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

  • Prevention Health Desk (including integration of social determinants of health screenings into electronic medical records) at CentraCare Family Health Center.

  • Establishment and expansion of electronic infrastructure to support identification and recruitment of food insecure families, in partnership with Hennepin County Medical Center's Analytic Center of Excellence.

This project is part of a $45 million State Innovation Model (SIM) cooperative agreement awarded to the Minnesota Departments of Health and Human Services in 2013 by The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to help implement the Minnesota Accountable Health Model.

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ORHPC Staff News

International Medical Graduate (IMG) Program at the White House
As part of the White House Task Force on New Americans commitment to facilitate credentialing for immigrants and refugees, the White House hosted a National Skills and Credential Institute on June 29. International Medical Graduate (IMG) Program Coordinator Yende Anderson and ORHPC Director Mark Schoenbaum were honored to speak at the Institute. They presented an overview of Minnesota's International Medical Graduate Program which is a first of its kind in the nation. In addition, Edwin Bogonko, chair of the IMG Stakeholder Group, and Wilhelmina Holder, longtime advocate and stakeholder group member, also provided comments. Many immigrants and refugees arrive in the United States having already completed extensive education and job training, or with significant work experience abroad. However, all too often they face challenges to fully utilizing these skills. As the White House Task Force on New Americans One-Year Progress Report highlighted, there are communities that are developing programs to help skilled immigrants return to their careers in their new home. The goal of this Institute is to help communities understand how policies and practices help or hinder credential attainment and recognition, and to assist in developing strategies for how the public, private and nonprofit sectors can strengthen career pathways for skilled immigrants.


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Health Equity
• Human Services grants funds to eight organizations to address disparities in child welfare (Minnesota Department of Human Services).
• Teen pregnancies and births reach historic lows in Minnesota, but disparities persist (MinnPost).
• Viewpoint: Why racial and ethnic diversity in residency matters (Emergency Medicine News).
• Advancing health equity for sexual and gender minorities (The CMS Blog).

Health Reform
Minnesota statewide quality reporting and measurement system: Quality incentive payment system (Minnesota Department of Health).
Impact of the Affordable Care Act Coverage Expansion on rural and urban populations (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services).
Survey shows gaps in patient care (Federal Telemedicine News).
Improving quality of life: The effect of aligning local service delivery and public health goals (International City/County Management Association).

Primary Care
Pro-bono clinic: Briar Cliff clinic helps Siouxland's uninsured, underinsured get physical therapy (Sioux City Journal).

Rural Health
Al Franken hopes to up the quality of health care in Minnesota's rural areas (WDAY Moorhead).
Rural healthcare concern (KAAL Rochester).
Ambulance crew pays it forward, inspires wave of giving (KARE 11).
Depressed teen's struggle to find mental health care In rural California (Minnesota Public Radio).
With hospitals in critical condition, can rural America survive? (Governing).
The New Mexican clinic that makes rural healthcare work (High Country News).
Hepatitis C hits young, rural drug users hard (Everyday Health).

Health Technology
Mayo Clinic uses EHRs, genetics to tailor patients’ antidepressants (Health Data Management).
An online program may help prevent depression in some people (MPR News).
USDA telemedicine grants target opioid abuse (mHealth Intelligence).

• Twin Cities community health workers help patients get good care (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
• Is there a doctor?: Medical workforce shortage already affects region (Mankato Free Press).
• Get digital health care careers on your watch list (Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development).  
• RiverView launches financial incentive program to help bring physicians to the community (RiverView Health).
• Collaborative opportunities: Working with nurse practitioners to meet the needs of underserved populations (Psychiatric Times).

• To improve survival rates, think of trauma care as a system (Health Leaders Media).
• Mental Health First Aid training aims to reduce stigma, promote early intervention (The State Journal-Register).
• Kids Count Data Book (The Annie E. Casey Foundation).

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The Depression Care for Somali Americans webinar will be held July 13.


The 2016 MN Community Measurement Annual Seminar will be held September 15 in Minneapolis.

The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held November 3-4 in Bloomington.


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Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care
P. O. Box 64882
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0882
Phone 651-201-3838
Toll free in Minnesota 800-366-5424
Fax: 651-201-3830

Our mission
To promote access to quality health care for all Minnesotans. We work as partners with policymakers, providers, and rural and underserved urban communities to ensure a continuum of core health services throughout the state.