Student clinicians together at mobile health clinic event

Bringing Health Care to Communities Across Minnesota

VP Jakub Tolar

The cracks in our health care system are showing. COVID-19 has impacted all of us, but it has highlighted the disparities of health and care in Minnesota’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and immigrant communities.

We are uniquely positioned to help address health disparities across the state. In June, the University launched the Mobile Health Initiative with the help of the Otto Bremer Trust and the goal of bringing health care to people who are underserved.

A multidisciplinary effort, the Mobile Health Initiative partners with communities to deliver care from health professionals in dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, medicine, and veterinary medicine together in one central location.

Dr. Jonathan Kirsch was an inaugural recipient of the BOLD Idea grant awards, a program to advance interdisciplinary collaborations that tackle complex issues affecting community and individual health. As part of his BOLD project, Dr. Kirsch developed a rural health care pilot to address health inequity for Minnesota migrant farmworker families. In September, the team partnered with the Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, a non-profit community organization, to hold clinic events in Elgin and Owatonna. The Mobile Health Initiative provided physical exams, medication, health screenings, flu shots, and medical insurance help for migrant farmworker families. Just to add to their accomplishment, they did all this while following COVID-19 precautions. A fourth-year student from the College of Design analyzed the needs of both care delivery and patient/caregiver safety to create a setup of the outdoor location that kept traffic flow organized and safely spaced.

Innovative and interdisciplinary thinking like the Mobile Health Initiative is critical to serving everyone and improving health across the state. What are your ideas?

Thank you,

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD
Vice President for Clinical Affairs

Virtual care

Telehealth Faculty Mentors Resource Page

The Office of Academic Clinical Affairs has curated a telehealth faculty mentors page with faculty and staff who have experience creating and delivering telehealth clinical care, education/preceptorship and related curricular content. They are available on a volunteer basis to answer questions about telehealth education best practices, provide resources on telehealth curricular design, and partner in the creation of new telehealth educational programs, including clinical training. A forthcoming telehealth education and clinical training resource page will offer resources organized by student level (early, intermediate, advanced), competency type, and telehealth educational content area. If you are interested in being added to the mentors page, please send a brief bio and photo to AVP Carolyn Porta at [email protected].


Supporting Health Care at a Distance

As one of 14 federal-funded telehealth resource centers across the country that make up the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers, the Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance center (gpTRAC) is committed to expanding telehealth programs for rural and underserved communities and helping telehealth meet its full potential. Housed in the Institute for Health Informatics, gpTRAC’s impact extends across the six-state region and within the University through projects with the Community-University Health Care Center and the Mobile Health Initiative.

Mini Medical School

Mini Medical School: A Focus on Global Health Canvas Course

In case you missed the Fall 2020 Mini Medical School series, the webinar recordings are available on Canvas. “A Focus on Global Health” is designed to broaden understanding of how global health impacts local health. COVID-19 has shown that what happens in one part of the world affects communities everywhere. The supplemental online course is self-paced and intended to advance critical thinking skills around global health topics.

Case competition winners

Virtual Global Health Case Competition

The Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility hosts the Global Health Case Competition, an interprofessional student learning competition for students to gain simulated professional experience while building a network of interdisciplinary students that will soon become their colleagues. Graduate, professional, and upper-level undergraduate students, and resident and postdoctoral fellows, from any college or school at the University of Minnesota are eligible to participate in the competition.

2021 NEXUS Innovation Challenge

2021 Nexus Innovation Challenge

The Nexus Innovation Challenge is a longitudinal experience designed to support teams in learning and applying design thinking methodologies to solve challenges facing healthcare education and delivery, including broader opportunities for learning in patient care settings. The learning experiences extend across a nine-month period to support implementation and progress reporting. Learn more and register at

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