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Making a Difference In Melrose

If you want to see a strong partnership between a community and a healthcare organization, look no further than Melrose. For years, this community has been actively engaged in health and CentraCare Health has been there every step of the journey. This partnership continues to get stronger as CentraCare is planning to build a new $25 million medical campus that will serve the growing needs of the area.

While the new medical campus will be a very visible place in the community where people can access healthcare services, there are some extraordinary healthcare outreach efforts taking place that are less noticeable, but equally important. Like the expansion of CentraCare’s Community Health Worker (CHW) program to Melrose, which brings health care services directly to people in need through in-home appointments and check-ins. The expansion was made possible through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Jonathan Walz is one of five CHWs at CentraCare (the other four CHWs are based in St. Cloud). His job: to help address the growing concerns related to managing and treating diabetes among the Latino population in Melrose. To do this Jonathan meets with patients on a regular basis to help them follow medication protocols, monitor glucose levels and ultimately manage their diabetes more effectively.

Walz has only been in this role since September 2015, but he’s already viewed as a lifeline for the 50 patients he supports who rely on him for answers to questions and assistance with navigating the healthcare system. In several instances, through these home visits, he has been able to address issues before they become more serious.

Through this outreach program, Walz is not only helping people get the right care at the right time. He’s building relationships, trust and helping foster a sense of community, which is what health is all about.

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