If you see CentraCare Health’s Paul Knutson carrying a large STANLEY® toolbox, you know good things are about to happen in the community. No, Paul isn’t a mechanic on his way to provide roadside assistance. He’s actually a mission development specialist with CentraCare’s Family Health Center where he helps coordinate a program called Project H.E.A.L. (Health, Education, Access, Link). This outreach program was started by Mid-Minnesota Family Medicine Center and helps brings free healthcare services to those in need.
You won’t find any wrenches or sockets inside Paul’s toolbox. Instead, it’s stocked with blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, Band-Aids, a prescription pad and all the essentials needed to run a small clinic. By combining these “tools” with passionate partners and volunteers, CentraCare helps bring healthcare services to those most in need. There was a need identified in Sauk Centre, so Project H.E.A.L. opened its ninth clinic there in 2014.
Over the past 15 years, CentraCare has supported Project H.E.A.L. in many ways. In addition to providing the medical supplies, CentraCare teams up with churches and organizations across central Minnesota to engage more than 80 volunteers who staff the clinics. Many CentraCare staff, including physicians, nurses and technicians give their time to support the program, as do physicians and providers from across the region. It’s a true community-wide partnership.
Because of the community partnerships and enthusiastic volunteers, Project H.E.A.L. has had a tremendous positive impact. So far in 2016, volunteers have helped provide services to more than 500 people at its 10 locations, and more than 5,000 clinic visits have been logged since the program started. But as Knutson will tell you, there’s still more to be done. And as long as there’s a need, you can be sure Project H.E.A.L. will be around.
To learn more about Project H.E.A.L., visit: http://www.centracare.com/services/project-heal/
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