Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mankato Clinic and Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) Mankato Area Refugee Services are collaborating to integrate community health worker services into the care provided at the clinic. The community health worker will help Somali-speaking patients receive essential health care services and improve their overall health.  

The Mankato Clinic Foundation has awarded $20,000 to the MCC Mankato Area Refugee Services to help fund this program. By working with a Somali-speaking community health worker, Mankato Clinic providers can help improve the care, health and well-being of Somali people.  

“By working together, our organizations can better serve our region’s refugees. A community health worker offers our Somali patients the cultural and medical expertise to help them get necessary health care services and follow their treatment plans,” said Dr. Katie Smentek, Mankato Clinic pediatrician.

With the support of a community health worker, Mankato Clinic providers can better reach patients to access preventive services such as mammograms, well-child visits, vaccinations and prenatal care. The program can also help patients better understand and manage conditions like diabetes.

Since 2017, Mohamed Ibrahim, CHW, has been bridging the gap between the Somali community and the local health and social service system. In 2015, he began his work as a health liaison for Mankato Area Refugee Services.

When asked about his work with Mankato Clinic, MCC’s Community Health Worker, Mohamed Ibrahim, had this to say, “The care managers at Mankato Clinic have been proactive and flexible.  With a pediatric patient with complex medical needs and her family, they took the lead to bring together care managers, the community health worker, primary care provider, public school personnel, Blue Earth County, and the family.  This patient’s conditions are improving and the family is learning to navigate the systems and do therapies at home!”

Community health workers are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of their community. The Minnesota Council of Churches designed its community health worker position to increase health knowledge and self-sufficiency in the community.