Mary J. Brown, a patient services representative at the Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC), recently received the Outstanding Community Health Center Employee Award at the Many Faces of Community Health Conference. She was recognized for her unwavering dedication to the community she serves, which has made her an essential pillar of support for patients and staff and an integral part of CUHCC’s success.
CUHCC, Minnesota’s first and oldest community health center, serves the medical care, dental care, mental health care, and social service needs for nearly 10,000 patients of all ages and all incomes levels. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, CUHCC emphasizes health equity, offering services on a sliding fee scale to ensure care for all, regardless of income or insurance status.
“Where else can you go for comprehensive, compassionate health services from very caring health professionals?” Brown says. “That is what is rewarding to me; remove the blocks to health care by not just speaking their language, but also putting them at ease. If I can’t meet all their needs, I make sure to connect them with someone more equipped to continue their assistance.”
Brown’s role at CUHCC has been invaluable. Her warmth, efficiency, and humor has consistently made patients feel welcomed and at ease. For Brown, her work has been much more than just work. “CUHCC has become the place where I learned to be a part of something bigger than me. It makes me feel like what I do matters,” she says.
“Every time there was an opening for a higher-paying position, people would ask me why I wasn’t applying for it. But I always said I loved it where I was. Being a patient services representative, being at the front desk, I am able to help people in a way that really matters to them,” says Brown. “Patients are always astonished to receive services at very little cost; that is my part. I manage registrations, help with medical assistance applications, and guide them through the sliding fee scale program.”
Since joining CUHCC in 1988, Brown has dedicated over 35 years to serving the community. Throughout these years, she has found profound satisfaction and fulfillment in the diverse range of life experience she has encountered.
Reflecting on her time at CUHCC, Brown shares, “These experiences have both been numinous in nature as well as numerous. Helping people has brought me compassionate satisfaction.”
“What I love most about CUHCC is the people I work with – the doctors, nurses, certified medical assistants, directors, and all the dedicated staff. Getting to know each one, little by little, I am constantly in awe of their devotion and passion. Seeing their fervor in serving patients, I feel truly honored to be part of such a committed and compassionate team.”
About University of Minnesota Community-University Health Care Center
Located in South Minneapolis, the Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC) is a Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and Minnesota’s first community health center. CUHCC successfully integrates health and wellness care and provides culturally responsive care to meet the needs of Twin Cities residents. Through CUHCC’s cutting-edge, team-based education and training center, the clinic educates hundreds of health science students and future health care providers annually. Recognized as a Community Health Center Quality Leader for achieving top clinical performance measures among FQHCs nationwide, CUHCC ranks high in providing comprehensive medical, dental, and mental health care to more than 10,000 people per year.