Our Grantees

Grantee Stories

We are proud to share stories about the important community work being done by our grant partners.

MISSION OF MERCY

 

 

The Mission of Mercy is an annual event organized by the Minnesota Dental foundation to provide free dental services to those in need. In 2016, children and adults came from 50 different countries in Minnesota, 23 counties in North Dakota and 13 counties in other states for cleanings, extractions, root canals, dentures and more. An incredible 1,173 patients were served, sometimes coming back more than once due to the complexity of dental needs. In total, nearly 8,000 dental procedures were performed and more than $1 million in dental services and medications were provided by 841 volunteer dentists, hygienists, assistants, students, medical professionals and community members. 

The Medica Foundation has supported this annual event for six years and will again support the event in 2018. Additionally, Medica is one of the sponsors of The Mission of Mercy which helps undeserved children and adults with an important aspect of healthcare.

Are you interested in helping make this event happen? Volunteers are needed September 6, 7, and 8. Sign up to volunteer!  


Homeless youth get a downtown view

 

YouthlinkHeather Huseby, YouthLink’s executive director, has been with the organization since 2004. Photo by Eric Best

Young people experiencing homelessness are finding a home inside YouthLink’s new expansion

Heather Huseby rattles off all the ways YouthLink's drop-in center helps 2,000 young people each year, from connecting them to schools to feeding them hot meals. But housing on site? It's a first for the organization, as well as downtown Minneapolis.

The nonprofit has been a daily sanctuary for youth ages 16-24 for decades, but over the past few years it has worked to expand its campus near downtown Minneapolis to help transition young people experiencing homelessness into adulthood.

Its goal? To create an $11 million housing project to serve as an incubator for young people to turn their lives around before they become ineligible for services and possibly long-term homeless adults

"If we can crack the nut with this population, whatever we do here will crack the nut with any other at-risk population, because not only is this population disparity-based, it's also trauma-based," said Huseby, the organization's executive director. "These 18-to-24-year-olds are really at their last crossroads. They have to very quickly turn their lives around."

YouthLink and its development partner Project for Pride in Living (PPL) broke ground last spring on a five-story expansion that will add 46 units of affordable housing to its campus. The project, dubbed Downtown View, is a unique model of housing that combines dorm-style living with the organization's career, education and mental health services.

The project will take in young people ages 18-24 who are homeless and give them the time, space and resources to accomplish their goals, whether that means recovering from trauma, saving money or finishing their education.Meanwhile, tenants are encouraged to find employment and pay a part of their income as rent.

"We're at ground zero for every inequity (and) disparity gap in this population that you can think of: race, education, employment, housing, health disparities, everything. We've got it right here in this population," she said.

Blood, sweat and tears

Lisa Goodman has done her part to relocate a cellphone tower, convince transportation officials to sell land and bake cookies for YouthLink fundraisers in order to help Downtown View become a reality.

"I have pretty much given blood to help them problem solve," said the Ward 7 City Council member. "In the 20 years (I've been on the Council), this is the most involved I've been on a personal level."

Still, Goodman says she's just a "teeny, tiny cog in the wheel" needed to get Downtown View built.

Her role in the project started five years ago with a disagreement on whether YouthLink should create a shelter space or, as Goodman said, think bigger. Instead f another temporary solution in her shelter-dense ward, Goodman connected YouthLink with PPL to dream up a new, permanent youth housing development.

“I just really felt the indignity of young people being kicked out of their homes or having to flee their house due to an unstable home situation demanded a solution that was as permanent as possible. Mats are Band-Aids,” she said.

It took PPL, Goodman and their partners about four years to finance the project. Abbie Loosen, who managed the project for PPL, said it isn't rare for affordable housing projects to take much longer.

About $9 million of the project's budget came from competitive 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, which states and sub allocators like Minneapolis award based on factors like location and transit access. Loosen said that Downtown View scored high because it targets an undeserved category and because of an efficient design without parking.

About 10 percent of the funding came from the city's Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is capped at $25,000 per unit. Other sources include the Metropolitan council, Wells Fargo housing Foundation and Hennepin county.

Financing affordable housing is bit of a chicken-and-egg predicament, Loosen said, with money to construct the building on one end and funds to operate it on the other.

"That operating piece is really critical. You can have all the capital funding, but the project still won't work," she said.

Downtown View's operating funds come through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 subsidies, which cover 25 units, and a newly created rental assistance through Hennepin County, which covers the other 21 units.

Cole Minkel, a PPL property manager who handles leasing in the building, said residents will pay about one-third of their income as rent with a cap of $600 for the quad units and $650 for the studios. Minkel said many residents don’t have an income at all, but through connections to a career center on site, they can find jobs.

“The idea is that they’re here to form stability,” he said.

Now, five years after the building was just an idea, Downtown View is on track to become fully built and open by mid-May.

Goodman said the project is the product of a large number of really passionate people, from YouthLink and PPL to elected officials and donors. Thanks to a redistricting of the City Council map, the site is no longer in her ward, but she’s still looking forward to the ribbon cutting.

“I’ll probably be crying my eyes out,” she said.

A view of Downtown View at YouthLink's campus. Photo courtesy of YouthLink

A room with a view

Kofi said his fourth-floor bedroom has the “baseball view.”

It’s been about two months since the 22-year-old got the keys to his quad-style unit, which looks out onto Target Field. He’s been busy customizing the space and occasionally bringing video games down to the building’s lobby and turning it into an arcade hall with his three roommates.

“I’ve never really had a whole room to myself. I’ve always had to share a room, even growing up, so it’s kind of a little bit of a new adjustment. But I’m adjusting just fine,” he said.

Last August, Kofi started coming to YouthLink where he jokes that he’s “very well known,” thanks to his contagious energy.

“I’m always smiling, even on bad days,” he said.

While he used to go to the drop-in center, as a resident of Downtown View, Kofi said he’s grown independent. He has a job inside a grocery store in Northeast Minneapolis and hopes to finish up his last year in school. His goal this year is to save up money to pay off debt.

Kofi’s name has been changed for this story. It is YouthLink policy to protect client privacy.

His bedroom is more than just a home to him, he said. It’s stability for him and his roommates, two of which he knows from living on the streets.

“It was like we started from the streets, literally. Since we’ve been at our all-time low and I’ve seen how you people are, I wouldn’t mind having you all as roommates,” he said.

Getting the keys made Kofi feel a little too fortunate, he said, but he’s making the most of it by bettering his future.

“It was just like ‘what’s next?’ You have to move on. It’s a new chapter. It’s not the end of the book,” he said. “It’s definitely a dream come true.”

For other residents, the transition to having a home has been difficult.

Lorraine Love, a transition navigator with YouthLink, said one resident has had a hard time dealing with the fact that his room’s window looks out to the shelter he once stayed at. The daily reminder has made the process of connecting with the building harder.

“It’s very uncomfortable with him. Anything that we gave him, he gave it away,” Love said. “That one was a really hard one for me.”

Huseby recalls one Downtown View resident who use to fall asleep on a couch in the drop-in center with all his belongings in a backpack nearby. Even with the bedroom upstairs, Huseby said he didn’t trust the new environment.

"He's just fine, but he was fearful of leaving the streets. It's a big transition," she said.

Photo courtesy of YouthLink

A new model for homeless youth

Downtown View is just one part of how YouthLink is changing to better serve youth in crises.

The project is based off a Foyer model, an integrated living model of transitional housing popular in Europe that is centered on young people developing a plan to live independently. While residents may have depended on the drop-in center in the past, YouthLink encourages them to instead budget, learn how to grocery shop, cook meals and pay for bus fare. Instead of separated studio apartments, quad-style units with four lockable bedrooms and shared living rooms force social interaction and help residents learn to deal with conflict.

“It’s very intensively developed to teach the youth how to live as a community and very much focused on what is your aspiration and where are you going,” Huseby said.

It’s part of an independent, future-thinking approach that has fed other parts of the organization. Huseby said they’ve redesigned the organization through a $6 million office and facilities renovation to better focus on each young person’s journey. Instead of case managers, YouthLink now calls them “transition navigators.”

“We looked all over the agency to find the next step for them and not let them think about staying stagnate in their crisis, so it’s changing all of us to look this way,” she said.

Love said she was skeptical at first, but the new approach and housing model have worked. Downtown View betters their chances at success.

“That’s what’s the exciting thing is, that now we can say that we provide more of an opportunity to be successful considering all the services we provide,” she said.

 


Best, Eric. (2018, April 19). Homeless youth get a downtown view The Journal. Retrieved from http://www.journalmpls.com

Minnesota primary care clinics make big gains in screening teen depression

North-Metro-Pediatrics

 

Primary care clinics have made remarkable gains over the past two years in screening adolescents and teens for depression, according to a new clinic report card from MN Community Measurement.

The agency's annual clinic ratings have motivated improvements over the past decade in the treatment of diabetes, asthma and other conditions, but rarely has so much progress been made in one area of primary care in so little time.

Statewide, 73 percent of children aged 12 to 18 who visited primary care clinics — and hadn't previously had a mental disorder diagnosed — were screened in 2017 for depression. That is a 9 percentage point increase from the screening rate in 2016, and a 33 percentage point increase from the rate in 2015.

“Its such an important issue and it';s a good example of how measurement can drive change,” said Julie Sonier, president of the nonprofit measurement agency.

Teenage mental health gained renewed focus last week following the Florida school shooting in which a former student with a known history of depression killed 17 people and wounded others. However, clinic leaders said the importance of screening goes beyond the prevention of such tragedies, because depression is a risk factor for teen suicide and leads to broader declines in child health and development.

“It's part of the way we deliver care,” said Jeff Lundgren, executive director of North Metro Pediatrics, a Coon Rapids safety net clinic that serves a racially and economically diverse population. “Mental health is part of what we consider to be a comprehensive assessment of a child’s development.”

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force finalized its recommendation in 2016 that clinics should screen patients ages 12 through 17 for major depression, but clinicians at North Metro have been doing that for a decade. The clinic was one of 24 in Community Measurement’s latest ratings to screen 100 percent of eligible pediatric patients during routine checkups last year.

Children and parents at North Metro each receive depression questionnaires upon check-in, and start filling them out in the waiting room.

Varying results can shock parents, said Connie Blackwell, a nurse practitioner who founded the clinic. “They’re totally unaware their child has any problem going on, and [the child] might have this huge score and might be at risk for suicide.”

Screening 100 percent of patients can be challenging. One year ago, North Metro fell below the perfect score because a patient with autism was incapable during the visit of completing the questionnaire. But the clinic considers it a requirement.

Screening is one challenge, but measurably treating teen depression is another. North Metro reached an agreement with a local mental health provider last fall to provide immediate counseling options to patients. The provider has a satellite office in the same building.

“In some cases, if there is a family that's on the fence and not sure,” Lundgren said, “we’ll literally go and introduce them.”

With clinics making gains on the “process” measure of depression screening, Sonier said that Community Measurement will look to track them on the “outcome” measure of whether their patients see improvements in depressive symptoms.



Olson, J. (2018, February 23). Minnesota primary care clinics make big gains in screening teen depression Star Tribune. Retrieved from http://m.startribune.com.

What is a Dental Therapist?

 

For more than 125 million Americans, basic dental care is out of reach. But there’s a solution that can help: dental therapy.

A dental therapist is similar to a nurse practitioner and works under the supervision of the dentist. They can travel all over the state to help people who may have trouble accessing dental care, such as children or seniors.

“I see rampant tooth decay every day, but I also know that I’m reaching those who are most in need,” says Christy Jo Fogarty, a dental therapist practicing in Minnesota.

In this video, see how Christy Jo is making a difference when it comes to dental health and why more U.S. states are authorizing dental therapists.

Learn more about dental therapy: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/projects/dental-campaign.



The Pew Charitable Trusts. (2018, February 6). What is a Dental Therapist? Retrieved from http://www.pewtrusts.org.

Dental clinic gets grant to support new childrens program

Community Dental Care in Rochester

Rochester's newly expanded "safety net" dental clinic has received a $25,000 grant to help support a child-based program that's been a marked success in other parts of the country.

A grant from the Medica Foundation was announced Tuesday by Community Dental Care, a nonprofit clinic that recently expanded operations at the new Eastwood location. The new grant is expected to help support the clinic's Program to Improve Community Oral Health.

The PICOH program was not available in Rochester prior to this fall, but it served 14,013 kids, 1,399 parents and 304 pregnant women throughout the Twin Cities area last year. The program strives to provide oral health education, risk assessment and preventative services for diverse, low-income children and pregnant women through in-clinic outreach, school-based sealant and the Minnesota Cavity Free Kids pilot program.

It's been so successful that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and ICF International selected the PICOH program as one of 12 promising models across the country that increases oral health access for children. This spring, PICOH and CDC received the 2017 Henry Schein Cares Gold Medal Award for demonstrating excellence in expanding access to oral care for the underserved.

"We are incredibly grateful to the Medica Foundation for their generosity in supporting early dental disease prevention for infants, toddlers, and pregnant mothers," said Dr. Vacharee Peterson, CEO of CDC. "It is our deepest desire for every child born to be cavity free. With the help of the parents, the providers and the community, we can achieve this goal together."

The CDC had been operating a small dental clinic on Rochester Community and Technical College's campus prior to opening its new complex off U.S. Highway 14 this fall. It served more than 1,200 patients in its first two months — 42 percent of whom were new — while filling an important niche in Southeast Minnesota.

About 95 percent of all patients treated by the CDC are uninsured or on public programs. The wait time for care has been reduced from seven months to three months since the new site opened.

The expansion project received about $1.8 million in donations during the fundraising period, including $1 million from Delta Dental. Officials view the latest grant as an important step to highlight ongoing challenges in childrens' oral health.

Haley Pysick, a PICOH educator, had already treated 130 patients by mid-October.

"We understand that oral health is an important part of overall health," said JoAnn Birkholz, director of the Medica Foundation. "The Medica Foundation is delighted to provide funding to this important initiative that improves access to quality dental care."



Boese, B. (2017, December 27). Dental clinic gets grant to support new children's program. Post Bulletin. Retrieved from http://www.postbulletin.com.

Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis Open Higher Ground Medical Respite Facility with Help from the Medica Foundation

Imagine you are hospitalized for severe frostbite on your feet. You can't walk, and standing causes excruciating pain. You've lost your job and your home, and are about to be discharged from the hospital. You don’t have any family or friends to help and don’t know where you are going to go. The hospital gives you supplies to keep your dressings clean and they give you medication for pain, but you aren’t sure how you’re going to recover without a place to stay or knowing where your next meal will come from. Sleeping in a shelter involves standing in line for a bed, and standing in other lines for food, but you can’t imagine how you will manage in your condition. What would you do?

The first patient accepted into the new Higher Ground Saint Paul medical respite unit—part of the new Dorothy Day Place in Saint Paul--didn’t have to imagine this situation; it was his reality. The Medica Foundation awarded Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis a $40,000 grant for a behavioral health professional as part of a new 16 bed facility to serve people discharged from local hospitals needing a safe and dignified place to recuperate and heal. The unit provides care for medically and psychiatrically complex individuals experiencing homelessness who are too ill or frail to recover on the streets, but who do not require hospital-based care. Staff offer nurse care coordination, medication assistance, and behavioral health services to support clients as they stabilize their health. The Higher Ground Saint Paul respite unit is staffed with nurses, a mental health worker, and a community health worker, with support from housing advocates.

Last year, an estimated 300 people were discharged from St. Joseph’s Hospital alone who were homeless and had nowhere to recover. Without a safe, stable home, minor health problems can quickly become life threatening and require costly emergency care. Chronic medical conditions that require careful management—such as mental illness, diabetes, asthma, and cancer—frequently spiral out of control for people experiencing homelessness. The results—both human and financial—can be catastrophic. “If someone has a home, it is easier to recover after an illness or surgery,” said Diana Vance-Bryan, senior vice president of health services and chief administrative officer of Catholic Charities. “Things that seem simple—like getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids—are nearly impossible to achieve if you are homeless. People experiencing homelessness often lack support networks to help them recover.”

Medica is a proud supporter of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and this innovative facility.

Minnesota Dental Foundation

For two days in July, an auditorium at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN was converted into a massive outreach dental clinic.  The Mission of Mercy is an annual event organized by the Minnesota Dental Foundation to provide free dental services to those in need. Children and adults came from 50 different counties in Minnesota, 23 counties in North Dakota and 13 counties in other states for cleanings, extractions, root canals, dentures and more. An incredible 1,173 patients were served, sometimes coming back more than once due to the complexity of dental needs.  In total, nearly 8,000 dental procedures were performed and more than $1 million in dental services and medications were provided by 841 volunteer dentists, hygienists, assistants, students, medical professionals and community members.

The Medica Foundation has supported this annual event for five years.  We are proud to be one of the many financial supporters of The Mission of Mercy which helps underserved children and adults with an important aspect of healthcare.    

Watch a video of the event and meet people who received care.

Watch video

 

Catholic Charities

When homeless hospital patients are discharged, they face a number of different issues. Difficult self-care requirements combined with the chaos of shelters, stress and violence on the streets, and a lack of nutrition and basic facilities can result in repeated visits to the emergency room. In these situations, clients simply don’t have the basic necessities to recover. How do you rest if you don’t have a bed? How do you use a prescribed nebulizer without an electrical outlet? These are the simple barriers that keep people from staying healthy, ultimately leading them back to the emergency room.

In order to address these needs, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis started a Transitional Recuperative Care (TRC) program for adults suffering from illness or injury. Clients receive a simple, furnished room at Catholic Charities’ Exodus Residence in Minneapolis. They have access to simplicities like laundry rooms, TV, exercise equipment, and meals are served three times daily. Catholic Charities also employs an on-site nursing team to dispense medication and manage individual cases.

In 2011, the Medica Foundation awarded Catholic Charities a $30,000 grant to support the TRC program. Since then, the program has seen resounding success and expanded its outreach. In the years to come, the TRC program will expand to the new Dorothy Day Center — now under construction in St. Paul. The TRC program has exceeded expectations, and helped support a countless many on their road to recovery. By taking things case-by-case, they truly make a difference.

Read about one man's journey through the TRC program

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Responding to Mental Health Crises in Rural Minnesota

Range Mental Health Center, Inc. Mobile Crisis Response Team

It’s challenging enough when someone who lives in a large city has a mental health crisis. For people in rural areas, it can be nearly impossible to get to care before a situation turns into a crisis. To address this challenge, Range Mental Health Center received a Medica Foundation grant to help build a Mobile Crisis Response team.

This team of mental health professionals goes to where the crisis is, responding to adults in one of the state’s most remote regions. They assess and stabilize situations to help people get the care they need. The program proved so effective that a children’s Mobile Crisis Response team is under development.

The Mobile Crisis Response Team operates in St. Louis County in northeastern Minnesota. Covering 7,092 square miles, the county is home to some 200,000 residents who live in the area’s small mining towns, farm communities and cities along Lake Superior’s north shore.

Almost 150 mobile crisis calls were handled during the grant period. The outcomes were significant.

  • 60 clients went home with support services
  • 47 clients received crisis stabilization services
  • 72 percent of those served avoided hospitalization.

The Medica Foundation is proud to support the work of Range Mental Health Center. For more information go to rangementalhealth.org.

living at home logo

Granite Falls Living at Home / Block Nurse Program

Staying strong helps people maintain their independence longer. For residents of Granite Falls in southwestern Minnesota, the Block Nurse Program supports this goal. People age 65 and older account for a fourth of the city’s population of 2,897. 

Last year, a Medica Foundation grant supported a new class to help 176 seniors improve their balance and reduce the risk of injuries from a fall. 

An innovative community service, the Block Nurse Program serves people with disabilities and seniors who have chronic diseases and conditions. Nearly half have low incomes. A small staff and more than 78 volunteers provide classes, transportation, friendly visits, in-home assessments and social activities to help people in the area live independently in their own homes. 

The Medica Foundation is proud to support Granite Falls Living at Home/Block Nurse Program.

Learn more at the Living at Home Block Nurse Program website

St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development 

The Medica Foundation awarded a three-year strategic grant to St. David’s Center to serve Somali families. This initiative focuses on addressing the needs of the Somali community to support their children and respond to the significant rise in the diagnosis of autism in Somali children. 

The day treatment program at St. David's was culturally modified and expanded to a new urban site in Minneapolis to serve Somali children under age five. This culturally-specific community model is one of the first in the state. 

Center for Victims of Torture

Minnesota’s newest refugees, arriving from Bhutan, Burma, Ethiopia, Iraq and Somalia are often highly traumatized. The Center for Victims of Torture received a grant from the Medica Foundation to develop a new, culturally adaptable mental health screening tool to provide earlier assessment and access to mental health services for refugees relocating to Minnesota. 

The Center for Victims of Torture is collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Health to determine best practices for implementing this mental health screening tool throughout Minnesota. 

Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES)

CLUES received funding from the Medica Foundation to expand its domestic violence program to support Latino children who have witnessed domestic violence. CLUES offers assessments, support groups and individual mental health counseling for these children and their parents. 

The goal is to empower survivors to become self-sufficient and make their homes violence-free. Support groups break the isolation experienced by survivors and help participants develop a positive, social support network with families with whom they share language and immigrant experiences.

st davids center logo

Making Room for Understanding

Early diagnosis and clinically proven therapeutic interventions are crucial to helping young children with a mental health diagnosis function better within their families and achieve success in school. The Medica Foundation awarded a three-year strategic grant to advance two key initiatives at St. David’s Center. 

The first program established a multi-disciplinary assessment team of professionals in childhood mental health, speech and physical therapy. The team provides same-day comprehensive assessments for children with a high risk of autism and other mental health disorders. This innovative approach was used to provide assessment services to children and families at St. David's Center and in offsite locations, such as shelters. 

The second program addressed the needs of the Somali community to support their children and respond to the significant rise in the diagnosis of autism in Somali children. The day treatment program at St. David's was culturally modified and expanded to a new urban site in Minneapolis serving Somali children under age five. This culturally-specific community model is one of the first in the state. 

"In the Somali language, there is no word for autism. We are the bridge to help parents trust and feel safe." 
  - Amina Hassan, Paraprofessional, St. David’s Center

About St. David's Center

Ascension Place Logo

Rebuilding Lives

Women and their children coming to St. Anne's Place, an emergency housing shelter, are looking for understanding, hope, and support to overcome huge obstacles. Cathy's life was so unstable that her four year-old twin daughters seldom spoke and were still wetting the bed when they arrived. Seven months later, both are potty trained and have phenomenal vocabularies.

With a safe home, stable routine, good nutrition and lots of attention, Cathy’s daughters began to thrive and she enrolled in school. She graduated in December and accepted a skilled job that will pay her enough to support her family. Cathy is currently apartment hunting with hopes of setting up her first home this spring.

The Medica Foundation is proud to support Ascension Place, which operates St. Anne's Place, to assist families who are homeless, in poverty and headed by women.

About Ascension Place and St. Anne's Place

Apple-Tree-Dental-Logo

Demonstrating Impact to State Policy Makers Helps to Restore Funding

In 2011, a series of cuts to Minnesota's Medical Assistance dental benefits limited dental care for adults with disabilities who lived in group homes. During this time, several dental clinics in southern Minnesota closed, significantly reducing access to dental care for low-income people.

In the wake of these cuts, in 2012, the Medica Foundation provided a grant to Apple Tree Dental, a nonprofit dental organization that brings dental care to people who otherwise would be without it. The grant supported bringing staff and equipment directly to group homes to provide dental care for people with disabilities. Legislators visited southern Minnesota to observe Apple Tree Dental’s mission in action. 

Realizing that it was far more cost effective to treat adults with special needs where they live, instead of requiring specialized transportation and support staff, the legislature reinstated reimbursement for these specialized dental services in mid-year 2013.

The Medica Foundation awarded a second grant to Apple Tree in 2013 to increase the number of people with disabilities it could serve in group homes, and to expand access to dental care in southern Minnesota. The Medica Foundation is proud to support Apple Tree Dental, a nationally recognized innovator serving people with special needs. 

Apple Tree Dental 

Circle-of-Kids

First of its Kind Program in Minnesota offers Mental Health Services to Support Women and Families — Including a 'Day Hospital'

The Mother-Baby Program at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) is the first of its kind in Minnesota, offering a range of mental health services to support women and families. Only three other programs of this type exist nationwide.

"Debilitating depression and anxiety can begin during or after pregnancy and can affect on average 1 out of 8 women," explains Dr. Helen Kim, Medical Director of the Mother-Baby Program. "To support healthy brain development, babies and young children need to feel safe and secure in relationship with their primary caregiver. 

By strengthening the emotional health and parenting capacities of distressed pregnant women and moms, we are supporting the health of their babies."

With a mission to support families by strengthening the emotional health and parenting capacity of mothers, the Mother-Baby Program at HCMC includes:

  • Hennepin Women's Mental Health Program – Outpatient psychiatry and psychotherapy services for women with depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric concerns before, during or after pregnancy.
  • The Mother-Baby HopeLine – A free, telephone triage and resource line for families experiencing stress or challenges related to mental health symptoms during and after pregnancy, or parenting of young children. Providers may also call with questions related to the diagnosis and treatment of perinatal and maternal mental health.
  • The Mother-Baby Day Hospital – A short-term, intensive outpatient mental health treatment program for pregnant women and mothers with young children who are experiencing depression, anxiety, or other emotional distress.

The Medica Foundation was proud to support the creation of the Mother-Baby Program.

About the Mother-Baby Program

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Medica Foundation Grant Launches Community Life Department at Hammer

By Julane Rose and Emily Miller, Hammer Residences, Inc.

In January 2014, Hammer received some great news. We were awarded a $30,000 grant from the Medica Foundation to expand our healthy living initiatives into a Community Life Department. A Program Coordinator was hired to create activities that more comprehensively addressed nutrition, fitness and personal wellness for people with disabilities at Hammer homes.

A first order of business was to create a user-friendly system to communicate, provide wellness resources and track participation in activities. Hammer staff and the individuals we serve were invited to participate in a friendly competition tracking water intake, fruit and vegetable servings, and exercise. Prizes like Twins Tickets and MN Zoo passes and were awarded. The Medica Foundation grant also expanded Hammer’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, with 36 of 46 homes participating.

The results have been nothing short of remarkable.  

Anthony Lott made significant changes in his lifestyle. “Anthony NEVER used to eat vegetables,” but with staff encouragement, he tried different vegetables and researched healthy recipes. He also purchased a bicycle and started biking around Eden Prairie. Now he enjoys healthy foods and exercising regularly. He is super proud of himself!”

Cathy Otto lost 27 pounds since June and says she “feels much healthier.” More importantly, she has been able to lower her blood pressure medication dosage, a meaningful example of the health impact from the program.   

“Ordinary changes in eating, shopping, socializing and exercising help develop inner motivation,” believes John Estrem, CEO. “Hammer is dedicated to the continued success of the Community Life department and the culture of wellness it promotes.”


About Hammer