September 2016
    Office of Rural Health and Primary Care graphic



2017 Statewide Health Assessment
The Healthy Minnesota Partnership and the Minnesota Department of Health have begun developing the 2017 Statewide Health Assessment. A statewide health assessment shows a picture of health and well-being across the state, revealing “the way things are.” It raises and answers several important questions, including:

  • Who is healthy and who is not?
  • What conditions shape health for all the different populations in Minnesota?
  • What do we have, and what do we need, to assure that all people in Minnesota can enjoy healthy lives and healthy communities?

Please click on this link to fill out the survey:

Models of Collaboration for State Chronic Disease and Oral Health Programs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that Minnesota is one of six states to receive grants over the next two years to strengthen intra-department collaboration between chronic disease and oral health programs. Funded under Models of Collaboration for State Chronic Disease and Oral Health Programs, the Minnesota Oral Health Program and the Cardiovascular Health Unit of the Minnesota Department of Health will receive $250,000 a year, over the next two years, to test a program to encourage bi-directional referrals by dentists and medical providers for periodontal (severe gum) disease and hypertension screening. Primary care providers will be given tools to screen patients for periodontal disease and provide referrals to dental clinics for patients with possible periodontal disease who have not been to the dentist in the past year. In turn, dental professionals will monitor patients’ blood pressure to identify those with hypertension and refer those with hypertension for further assessment by a medical provider. We are pleased that Park Dental and Southside Community Health Service (FQHC) are on board with the project which begins this September and runs through August 31, 2018.

Minnesota Health Care Workforce Snapshot

Licensed IndEpendent Clinical Social Workers (LICSW): Practice Area, 2012-2013

Licensed Indipendent Clinical Social Workers: Practice Area, 2012-2013

Note: More than half of LICSWs reported mental /behavioral health as their primary practice area.

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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Minnesota J-1 Visa Waiver Program
The Minnesota J1 Visa Waiver Program will accept applications for FY 2017 beginning September 15 through 4:30 p.m., November 30. Physicians who wish to be considered for a waiver slot must submit their application by the due date. For more information about the J-1 Visa Waiver Program, contact Workforce Grants Administrator Darwin Flores Trujillo at 651-201-3850 or

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Scholarship Grant Program
The Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Scholarship Grant Program, authorized by Minnesota Statutes Section 144.1503, was established for the purpose of assisting qualified HCBS providers fund employee scholarships for education and training in nursing and other health care fields. Grant funds must be used by grantees to recruit and train care staff through the establishment of a scholarship fund. Funds may also be used to fund existing scholarship programs that meet grant requirements. Applications are due September 23, 4:00 p.m. For more information, contact Grant Manager Lina Jau, at 651-201-3809 or

Community Clinic Grant Program
The Community Clinic Grant Program provides funding to plan, establish or operate services to improve the ongoing viability of Minnesota’s clinic–based safety net providers. Grants support clinical capacity to serve people with low incomes, reduce current or future uncompensated care burdens, or improve care delivery infrastructure. Pre-applications are due October 7, 4:00 p.m. For more information, contact Primary Care Office Coordinator Deb Jahnke at 651-201-3845 or

Dental Safety Net Grant Program
The Dental Safety Net Grant program assists dental providers who treat the uninsured. Eligible providers must be nonprofit Critical Access dental providers who offer free or reduced cost oral health care to low-income patients under the age of 21, and must also demonstrate that at least 80 percent of patient encounters are with uninsured patients or patients covered by Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. Funds will be distributed based on the number of individual uninsured patients under the age of 21 served by the applicant. Applications will be posted on September 12 and are due October 28. For more information, contact Shortage Designation Coordination and Grant Program Manager Keisha Shaw at 651-201-3860 or

Mental Health Safety Net Grant Program
The Mental Health Safety Net Grant program assists mental health centers and clinics that treat the uninsured. Eligible providers must be Community Mental Health Centers or Clinics designated under Minnesota Statute 245.62, or nonprofit Mental Health Clinics designated as Essential Community Providers under Minnesota Statute 62Q.19. Eligible providers must also offer free or reduced-cost mental health care to low-income patients under the age of 21. Applications will be posted on September 12 and are due October 28. For more information, contact Shortage Designation Coordination and Grant Program Manager Keisha Shaw at 651-201-3860 or

Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Program
The MERC Grant application is available for clinical training that took place in Minnesota in fiscal year 2015. Applications are open to Minnesota sponsoring institutions applying on behalf of their accredited teaching programs and eligible clinical training facilities for the following trainee types:

  • Advanced Dental Therapists
  • Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Clinical Social Workers
  • Community Health Workers
  • Community Paramedics
  • Dental Students
  • Dental Residents
  • Dental Therapists
  • Doctor of Chiropractic Students
  • Doctor of Pharmacy Students
  • Doctor of Pharmacy Residents
  • Medical Students
  • Medical Residents
  • Physician Assistant Students
  • Psychologists

Sponsoring institutions are required to complete their online application and submit a signed copy to MDH by October 31. For more information, contact MERC Program Administrator Diane Reger at 651-201-3566 or

Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program
The next annual cycle of the Minnesota Health Care Loan Forgiveness Program will open November 1. Application information and materials will be available at that time.


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

Wrigley Company Foundation Community Service Grant
The Wrigley Company Foundation Community Service Grant provides funding to dental hygienists for projects aimed at improving oral health or providing oral health education. The application is due October 1.

NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Application Cycle
The 2017 National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Loan Repayment Program application cycle is now open. This program awards up to $120,000 to medical and dental students in their final year of school in return for a commitment to provide primary care services full-time for at least 3 years at an approved NHSC site in an underserved area. The application cycle closes on October 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET. For more information, review the 2017 Application and Program Guidance.

USAC Rural Health Care Program
The Universal Service Administrative Company Rural Health Care Program is an independent non-profit designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to distribute funds that increase the availability of telecommunication services, especially in rural areas. The next filing window is from September 1 - November 30. Register now to get more information on this program at a webinar on Thursday, September 8 at 2:00 pm ET. The webinar will explain how to apply for funding and discuss the newly created eligibility for skilled nursing facilities.


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Abstracting Stroke Data Workshop
Mark your calendars for the Abstracting Stroke Data that Will Work for You workshop put on by the American Heart Association, the American Stroke Association and the Minnesota Department of Health Cardiovascular Health Unit. It will be held September 27 in St. Paul. Reserve your spot by emailing Ngia Mua at

County Health Rankings: What Works for Rural Health?
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued a follow-up to their 2016 County Health Rankings, outlining specific policies and programs rural communities can implement to improve health and well-being. Within the "What Works for Rural Health tool, you'll find details about: finding and choosing the right solution for your community, what's working to prepare and strengthen local workforces; how to improve diet and exercise; and how to reduce injuries. There is also a discussion of the many factors that influence health. Strategies that have been studied and deployed in rural communities are emphasized throughout the report.

Rural Diabetes Prevention and Management Toolkit
The Rural Diabetes Prevention and Management Toolkit provides resources and best practices to identify, implement, and sustain a program to prevent and/or manage diabetes in rural areas.


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First 13 Behavioral Health Homes Certified across Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Human Services recently certified 13 providers to deliver behavioral health home services to better coordinate care for people with serious mental illness. The behavioral health home model offers a coordinated approach to health care, serving the whole person across all areas of health and wellness, from primary care to social services. Another eight providers are finalizing their certification process to become behavioral health homes. As of July 1, behavioral health home services are covered by Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s Medicaid program. The providers currently certified as behavioral health homes include: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul; Community-University Health Care Center in Minneapolis; Fairview Clinics Hiawatha in Minneapolis; Fraser Child and Family Center in Minneapolis; Guild Incorporated in St. Paul; Human Development Center in Duluth; Northern Pines Mental Health Center in Little Falls; Northland Counseling Center, Inc. in Grand Rapids; Northwestern Mental Health Center, Inc. in Crookston; University of Minnesota Physicians Smiley’s Family Medicine Clinic in Minneapolis; Western Mental Health Center, Inc. in Marshall; Woodland Centers in Willmar; and Zumbro Valley Health Center in Rochester.

Mayo Clinic
Mayo clinic was named the best hospital in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Ten other Minnesota hospitals also earned honors in various specialties and for high performance.

2016 Most Wired
Hospitals & Health Networks sponsors the annual Most Wired Survey which measures the level of IT adoption in U.S. hospitals and health systems. This year several Minnesota organizations made the list including: HealthPartners, Bloomington; Mayo Clinic Hospital, Rochester; and Perham Health, Perham.

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ORHPC Staff News

The Minnesota Statewide Trauma System staff—Trauma System Coordinator Chris Ballard and Trauma System Designation Coordinators Marty Forseth and Tammy Peterson— hosted the Trauma Program 101: Basic Training in Grand Rapids. Reimbursement Fiscal Analyst Craig Baarson provided financial technical assistance.This seminar was tailored for Minnesota's level 3 and 4 trauma hospitals. Sixty-two people from 40 different hospitals attended.

ORHPC Director Mark Schoenbaum and Health Workforce Planning & Analysis Supervisor Nitika Moibi attended the National Governors Association's Developing Tools and Frameworks to Advance Scope of Practice Policies.

Rural Health Policy Researcher Emma Distel and Flex Program Coordinator Judy Bergh visited Murray County Medical Center in Slayton to participate in an MBQIP/SAFER Care site visit. They also visited with clinical leadership staff at Sanford Health in Tracy.

ORHPC Director (and NOSORH's past president and the current Policy Committee Co-Chair) Mark Schoenbaum, Flex Program Coordinator Judy Bergh, and Policy Planner Darcy Dungan-Seaver attended the Region C State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) Regional Partnership Meeting in Madison, WI.

Research Analyst Angie Sechler attended the State Office of Rural Health's (SORH) second Data Summit in Santa Fe, NM. State offices and rural health policy professionals shared how they're gathering, analyzing, and visualizing data. Angie is pictured second from the right.

State Office of Rural Health's (SORH) second Data Summit in Santa Fe



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Health Equity
Breastfeeding in underserved women: Increasing initiation and continuation of breastfeeding (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists).
Provider profiles: Making resettlement easier in our communities (Refugee Health Quarterly).

Health Reform
Center in Edina offers alternative treatment plans for mental health (5 Eyewitness News).
What has health reform meant for rural America? (Center for Health Journalism).
Rural-urban differences in insurer participation for marketplace-based coverage (Rural Health Research Center).
Health insurance marketplaces: Premium trends in rural areas (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis).

Primary Care
Health systems are betting on primary care (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
Your population health efforts should focus on primary care first (Becker's Hospital Review).

Rural Health
Rural physician program draws support (University of South Dakota).
Rural counties across the US becoming a powder keg for HIV outbreak (The Guardian).
Rural America finally gets mental health help (The Governing).

Health Technology
Interactive robot befriends hospital's youngest patients to soothe away their anxiety (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
News on patient record sharing (Federal Telemedicine News).
For some rural teens, psychiatric help is now just a TV screen away (Time Magazine).
Report to congress: E-health and telemedicine (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

Nowhere to go, psychiatric patients languish in Minnesota hospitals (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
Nearly 1 in 5 mental health bed days in MN hospitals is potentially avoidable (Minnesota Hospital Association).
How certified behavioral health homes help clients with serious mental illness (MinnPost).
Upgrading Trauma Care Systems (Federal Telemedicine News).

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The American Academy of Pediatrics Minnesota Chapter is presenting the Bridge to Benefits: Helping Clinics Refer Low-Income Families to Local Resources webinar on September 13 , from 12:15 pm to 1:00 pm CDT.

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

The National Rural Health Association's Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conferences will be held September 20-23 in Kansas City, MO.

The 2016 Community Health Conference Principle to Practice: Walk the Talk for Health Equity People in Minnesota will be September 28-30 at Breezy Point.


The Rural Minnesota Community Health Worker Conference will be held October 21 in Bemidji, MN.

The eighth annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference webcast will be held October 21.

The 2016 Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety (MAPS) conference Partnering for Safe Care will be held October 27-28 in Brooklyn Park.

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

The fifth annual Women Impacting Healthcare Conference Celebrating Leadership: The Sweet Spot for Interprofessional Leadership Teams will be held November 11 in Minneapolis.


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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.