July 1, 2020
Support extends Trust’s commitment to improving healthcare and quality of life among vulnerable populations
The University of Minnesota has received a $1 million philanthropic investment from the Otto Bremer Trust to establish mobile healthcare services in communities that lack access to medical care because of COVID-19, civil unrest related to racial injustice as well as economic and other factors. Initially, the program will be based at the Broadway Family Medicine Clinic in North Minneapolis and the Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC) in South Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood, with geographical expansion to come over the next several months.
The mobile health initiative brings together U of M health professionals from dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, medicine and veterinary medicine to provide a range of services, including COVID-19 testing (both viral and antibody) and education, enhanced access to healthcare for populations at higher than average risk for COVID-19 infection and poor outcomes as well as needed vaccinations for individuals and their companion animals. The overarching goal is to address healthcare disparities occurring in neighborhoods that are segregated and have inadequate access to community facilities because of long-standing racial and social injustices.
“Time and again, the Trustees of the Otto Bremer Trust have stepped up to ensure that all people have access to needed healthcare services,” said Dr. Jakub Tolar, the U of M’s vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the Medical School. “Earlier this spring as the pandemic was revealing itself, they were the first to help us purchase protective equipment for COVID-19 patients and frontline healthcare providers. Now they are the first to help us expand healthcare access in under-served communities confronting two pandemics, COVID and social injustice.”
“The U of M’s initiatives under Dr. Tolar’s leadership are saving lives. It is that simple,” said Brian Lipschultz, co-CEO and Trustee of the Otto Bremer Trust. “We are determined to do everything in our power to support that work and help the most vulnerable members of society receive the care they deserve.
“The U of M is a partner of ours in every sense of the word,” Lipschultz added, “and as Trustees of OBT, we are humbled by their limitless commitment to this state’s well-being.”
Initial support from the Otto Bremer Trust will help build stronger collaboration with community leaders and ongoing U of M investment in medically underserved areas.
“Our goal is to address community needs related to inequities or disparities in access to care by helping communities build on what they themselves identify as needs and reasonable approaches,” said Dr. Bobbi Daniels, associate vice president for clinical affairs, who will oversee implementation.
“We have already conducted mobile testing in COVID hotspot areas, including Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, and assisted the Minnesota Department of Health in Mower County, which has seen cases spike over the past several weeks,” Daniels said. “We will continue to grow and expand this initiative, working with our community partners throughout the state.”