Integrating Community Health Workers in Minnesota
Join us for a presentation from Juniper to learn how they have integrated programming into care settings using Community Health Workers trained in fall prevention programs. After this session, participants will be able to:
1. Identify how Community Health Workers offer social determinants of health screenings, care navigation, health promotion programming, and referrals for falls prevention programs and other long-term services in supports.
2. Discuss ways to plan in order to sustain this role beyond their grant.
Sarah Blonigan, JD, MPH
Juniper Network Director
Sarah Blonigan is the Juniper Network Director at Trellis. Her background spans the fields of public health, state and federal health care regulations and compliance, and law.
Juniper is a network of over 85 community-based providers throughout Minnesota that offer evidence-based health promotion classes. The classes are offered in community settings and healthcare settings. Juniper and its network of providers improve the health outcomes related to disease management and falls prevention.
As the Juniper Network Director Ms. Blonigan leads the daily operations of the Juniper provider network while contributing to the development of forward-looking strategy.
Ms. Blonigan draws on a broad range of experience as the Juniper Network Director including public health leadership at a tri-county Community Action Program agency; research at University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center; research at Mitchell Hamline Public Health Law Center; health care regulation, compliance, and statutory drafting at the Minnesota Department of Health Regulatory Division; health care provider licensing matters at the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings; health care fraud and abuse at the Department of Justice Civil Division; and legal research for long-term care providers at a Twin Cities law firm.
Ms. Blonigan received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biology and Public Health Policy and Administration at the University of Minnesota. She received her Juris Doctor and health care compliance and health law certificates from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where she served as President of the Health Law Society.
A lifelong Minnesotan, Sarah lives in St. Paul with her spouse Tony and their two children. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time outdoors and enjoying nature and doodling.
J.D., (health law and health care compliance) Mitchell Hamline School of Law, St. Paul, MN, 2018
M.P.H., (policy and administration), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 2017
B.A., (biology) University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 2009
Blonigan, S., & Henning-Smith, C. (2017, December 4). Rural Aging in Place Toolkit – Rural Health Information Hub. Retrieved from https://www.ruralhealthinfo.or...
Angela R. Fields
Community Health Worker
Angela R. Fields is a Community Health Worker. Angela is a dedicated, passionate, and experienced service provider, entrepreneur, mother, and grandmother. Angela credits her mother for inspiring her zest for life, her drive and ambition, and passion for being a helping professional.
Ms. Fields has over thirty years of experience in the healthcare industry. Angela received her Associates Degree in Human Services and her Community Health Worker Certification from Minneapolis Technical College. For over three decades Ms. Fields has worked as an allied health worker in the areas of Phlebotomy, Nursing Assistant, Electrocardiography, Medication Management and as a Mental Health Practitioner. Angela also has an extensive history in clinical laboratory work and in-home health care.
Angela volunteers regularly and is an active and engaged community member for the betterment of those suffering from chronic health issues, mental health diagnosis, substance use disorders and/or with those experiencing economic disparities. On a lighter note, in her free time Angela enjoys the simple things in life such as gardening, cooking, and avidly reading books. She loves spending time with friends and family especially her beloved grandchildren that affectionately refer to her as “Nana.”
Angela will utilize her talents and abilities in her role as a CHW working collaboratively with multidisciplinary care teams across the spectrum of health and social systems to provide educational, whole health services in a person-centered, culturally aware fashions to the clients she serves.
Angela is currently employed as a CHW with Trellis ( formerly known as Metropolitan area agency on aging). Angela is one of the newest team members a program within /trellis called Juniper. Juniper is a network of organizations offering evidence-based programs that help people manage chronic conditions, get fit and prevent falls.
Community Health Worker
Sanford Worthington Clinic
Juan serves as a bridge between under-served communities and the health and social service systems. He works within the patient-centered medical home model, which embraces a team approach to chronic disease self-management. In the medical home model, Juan helps to reinforce the patient plan of care and offers assistance in navigating a complex health and human services system. He is an advocate for patients and helps bring awareness of individual and community health needs that are necessary for efficient and culturally sensitive work. He helps to identify patient’s barriers to self-management and utilizes an important skill set to connect patients to resources and advocate for successful patient outcomes. The CHW skillset includes:
- Strong communication
- Active Listening
- Public speaking/presentation skills
- Service/Resource Coordination
- Problem Solving
- Cultural Competency
…among many others.
Through the Juniper/Trellis grant funding that is supporting the CHW role at the clinic, we are happy to have Juan as an onsite, in-person expert for the evidence-based Juniper programs available to our patients. Our providers can make a referral to a Juniper class based on patient needs, and Juan is the local, trusted resource for contacting and completing the enrollment process for patients.
With each patient touch, Juan completes a social determinants of health screening and assesses for other physical, social, and economic barriers that may exist for patients and that might be preventing them from being able to manage their health. He can then do the important work that a CHW does best: connect patients to the most appropriate services and resources and help navigate access to what is needed.
Why Did You Want To Become a CHW? (What interested you about the job when you learned about it?)
“To help patients get the care they need and get to provide culturally appropriate health education and information help my Spanish community be healthy.”
What do you like most about your work so far?
“What I like most about my job so far is that I am learning more about the local resources in the community, and I am excited to be able to teach patients and connect them to the resources that can help them the most.”
Community Health Program Specialist
Sanford Worthington Medical Center
Christine has been with Sanford Worthington Medical Center for 3 years as the Community Health Program Specialist. She has a bachelors and master’s degree in Community Health Education. She has over 7 years of experience working with and supervising CHWs in the Worthington community. She previously worked for Nobles County Public Health doing community organizing and community wellness work throughout the county with an emphasis on expanding capacity of the CHW role in the Worthington area. Her current role at Sanford includes assisting with activities that address the community needs as they relate to the most recent Community Health Needs Assessment, and oversight of the brand new CHW role in the primary care clinic setting. Christine and Juan are working together to help the community learn more about CHWs and figuring out how to optimize the role for Sanford patients and the community.