Minnesota Hospital Programs, Leaders Honored

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(Minnesota Hospital Association News Release: May 21, 2012)

Minnesota Hospital Association's annual awards recognize patient safety, volunteerism, innovations in patient care, hospital excellence

St. Paul -- Minnesota hospitals are committed to excellence and innovation in patient care. On Friday, May 18, the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) honored innovative programs and outstanding leaders in health care at its 28th annual awards ceremony.

Eighteen awards were given for extraordinary achievement in categories ranging from public achievement and volunteerism to innovation and improvement in patient care and patient safety.

"The achievements showcase the kind of top-quality care that typifies Minnesota hospitals," said MHA President and CEO Lawrence Massa.

"By pursuing excellence in every aspect of their operations, the men and women of these innovative, high-performing hospitals have shown a real passion for the patients and communities they serve," Massa said. "Thanks to their innovation, diligence and commitment, Minnesota hospitals continue to be among the best in the nation."

The MN Urban AHEC was honored with a Health Care Career Promotion Award for its co-sponsorship of the Cedar Riverside Partnership/Urban Scrubs Camp,. This program was also co-sponsored by Fairview Health Services, Augsburg College and HealthForce Minnesota.

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Front Row: Pam Cosby - MN Urban AHEC Executive Director, Regina Pekarek - Fairview Health Services, Jane Foote - HealthForce Minnesota, Laura Beeth - Fairview Health Services, Barbara Brandt - Director, Minnesota AHEC Network.

Second Row: Mike Christenson - Minneapolis Community & Technical College, Mark Eustis - Fairview Health Services, Carolyn Jacobson - Fairview Health Services, Louis Smith - Smith Partners, Cedar Riverside Partnership.

Not pictured: Paul Pribbenow - Augsburg College.

For a complete list of the award winners, please click here.

Resized image_Students investing in Nursings Future.JPGElaine Olson from Fergus Falls, left, was interviewed by Merrie Kaas, DNSc, RN, PMHCNS-BC in the topic of "Wisdom and Reflections about Aging"

On April 13 many of the schools of nursing that serve the area came together to learn more about nursing care of older adults, to network with other nursing students and faculty, and to engage in an interactive learning activity helping participants understand firsthand the challenges and rewards that can occur in caring for a geriatric patient.

The Students Investing in Nursing's Future - Geriatrics event was held at PioneerCare in Fergus Falls, Minn. and hosted by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing/Minnesota Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, Central Minnesota Area Health Education Center (AHEC), and West Central Initiative. It was supported through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Partners Investing in Nursing's Future (PIN) program, awarded to West Central Initiative.

The long-term goal of the PIN program is to increase the number of registered nurses who are competent in providing nursing care to elderly persons in a variety of institutional and community-based settings in the Central AHEC region of Minnesota. The primary strategy to achieve this goal is to ensure that schools of nursing in the region have an intentional focus on geriatric nursing in their curriculum as well as faculty who have expertise in teaching geriatric nursing. A unique aspect of this strategy is that it will be done in partnership with long term care facilities.

Topics included "Care Provider Self-Care: Compassion Fatigue Management" led by Brad Skogen, Chaplain at Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls; "In Their Shoes" a progressive role play led by Vicki Teske, MS, GNP, BC, Assistant Professor, MSU-M; and "Collaborative Care for the Aging Patient" with a panel of healthcare professionals.

The evaluations reported a highlight for many of the attendees was the topic "Wisdom and Reflections about Aging" with Merrie Kaas, DNSc, RN, PMHCNS-BC, interviewing Elaine Olson from Fergus Falls.

If you would like more information on PIN-G, please contact Executive Director Laurissa Stigen, Central Minnesota AHEC, 218-736-1601.

University of Minnesota Medical School officials and clinic administrators throughout Minnesota say the state will find it difficult to retain young doctors without continued government support. ~Minnesota Public Radio

Listen to this MPR news item

St. Cloud Times article

After presenting at the 2011 PIN (Partners in Nursing) Annual Meeting, Laurissa Stigen, Central MN AHEC Executive Director, and Wendy Merrick, Program Director, West Central Initiative, were recently chosen to be featured in the PIN Point Newsletter (Vol. 4, Issue 1) for an interview highlighting their perspectives regarding the way we choose to share our stories within communities, including the terminology that we use in framing health care so that facilities and specific health issues are identifiable, positive and relevant in the communities we serve.

For the full story click on the PDF here:
PIN Point_ Vol. 4 No. 1.pdf

Health Care Career Cruise

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The Central MN AHEC coordinated a bus trip for 9th-12th grade students to aid in their exploration of health careers by visiting the Health Careers Center at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus on February 20, 2012. Fifty-five students from communities across the Central MN AHEC region participated in the event - the bus was full!


This trip was made possible through a MDH Health Care Careers Promotion Grant awarded to Lakes Country Service Cooperative.


A Northeast MN AHEC Reflection, by Laura Palombi

I was born and raised in Ely, a small town in northern Minnesota famous for its blend of the arts and the outdoors (population 3,724). I have always been interested in a career in health care, and volunteered at the hospital and nursing home in Ely before I worked as an EMT in the Ely hospital during college. I knew that I wanted a health care career in which I could make a positive change in the lives of others, but I wasn't sure what this career might be.

After completing a B.A. in Theology, a B.S. in Biology and a M.A. in Theology (focusing in Catholic Social Teaching) I taught for several years in private and Catholic schools. After staying at home to take care of my two children for several years, I decided to pursue a career in pharmacy. Pharmacy was the perfect career for me, as it allowed me an intellectual challenge with patient contact and flexible working hours. Most importantly, I knew that pharmacists had a huge opportunity to improve the "health care experience" of many patients and that there was a variety of careers in pharmacy that I could choose from. I really appreciated that there was a College of Pharmacy in Duluth, as I had no interest in moving back to the cities. My goal was to ultimately live in a rural area and to give my children the same small-town experience that I had enjoyed as a child.

I have a personal interest in working with rural communities, because I am from such a community and am supportive of the challenges they face. I am especially interested in working with those who are struggling on the margins. During my time at the College of Pharmacy, I have most enjoyed working at the HOPE (Health of People Everywhere) Clinic at the CHUM Center in downtown Duluth. This clinic, run by pharmacy and medical students, serves the homeless in Duluth every week. I have also enjoyed planning and participating in health fairs with MPSA (the Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance) and implementing new educational programming in disadvantaged communities in the Duluth area. I think that other students, especially those who are not from a rural area, would benefit from experiencing health care in a rural setting so they can learn firsthand about the benefits of living and working in a rural community.

I learned about NE AHEC in working on finding funding sources for rural health fairs and rural outreach activities, in addition to the work they do with H.O.T. camps. In my NE Minnesota AHEC rotation, I was fortunate enough to participate in a variety of educational and outreach events. I did three puppet shows for preschool and school-aged children (ages ranging from 9 months old to 8 years old) at AEOA childcare centers and educational events in Hibbing, Virginia and Hermantown. These shows focused on exposing young children to careers in healthcare, guiding them through what happens if they were going to the hospital and talking to them about healthy behaviors and how drugs aren't candy. I worked on a project in conjunction with Carlton County Public Health and the pharmacy residents and students on rotation at Essentia health. We designed a set of tools that nurses and other health professionals can use in doing medication reviews at home visits. This set of tools included a patient handout and a provider handout for COPD, asthma, hypertension, type II diabetes and heart failure. These tools were presented at an inter-professional, inter-site seminar during my rotation, with plans to repeat the presentation as part of a training session in the future for Carlton County Public Health & Human Services.

During this rotation, I was also given the opportunity to continue other projects that bridge the gap between pharmacists and public health. I interviewed nursing directors and directors of rural public health departments to learn more about how pharmacists can become more involved in public health. I worked to design a new Public Health APPE (advanced practice pharmacy experience) and am also learning more about how the University of Minnesota could have their own PharmD/MPH program. These projects have as their goal an improved participation of pharmacists in public health and an increased dialogue between pharmacy and public health.

I hope to continue the projects I have started by completing a one-year ambulatory care residency, either in Mora or Duluth, and to continue working towards the Certificate of Core Concepts at the School of Public Health (on my way to the MPH). Ideally, my job will combine MTM at rural health departments with a light teaching load at the College of Pharmacy (hopefully in rural public health). I am also interested in a career that includes consulting and community pharmacy. My hope is that my practice will let me continue working with those on the margins who would benefit most from my clinical expertise and to work closely with public health professionals. I hope that my work will help pharmacists across the state, especially those living in rural areas, to become more involved in public health initiatives in their communities and their state.

AHEC Funding Update for FY13

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On Monday, February 13th, President Obama submitted his FY13 budget proposal to the U.S. Congress. The President's budget request did not include funding for the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) program.

We have until March 20th for House members to request AHEC funding, and we have until March 29th for Senators to recommend AHEC funding in their FY13 budget requests. If Members of Congress do not request funding for AHEC, there will be no federal funding available for AHEC programs nationwide.

Please be sure to reach out to your legislators, as well as your students, board members, community members and the many others who may be willing to call on behalf of the AHEC Program. Thank you for your continuous advocacy efforts in helping the MN AHEC Network to be eligible for funding in order to continue their excellent work in improving health by leading the nation in the recruitment, training and retention of a diverse health workforce for underserved communities.

The Pat Tillman Foundation has chosen the University of Minnesota as a University Partner in support of the Tillman Military Scholars program, which provides educational scholarships for veteran and active servicemembers and their spouses.

With its selection, the University of Minnesota is recognized by the Pat Tillman Foundation as being among the nation's leaders in support services for student veterans, active servicemembers and their spouses on campus.


Applications are now being accepted for Tillman Scholars, until Friday, March 16, 2012

Who is eligible to apply to become a Tillman Military Scholar?
> Veteran and active duty military servicemembers Of both pre- and post-9/11 service, from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, including service in the National Guard and Reserve.
> Spouses of active or veteran servicemembers, including surviving spouses
> Servicemember or spouse seeking assistance to pursue an undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degree as a full-time student at a public or private, 4-year U.S.-based accredited institution

Members of each class of Tillman Military Scholars represent a rich and diverse set of backgrounds, experiences and ambitions, and were selected based on strong leadership potential and a drive to make a positive impact on others through service.

The MN AHEC Network is available to assist veterans interested in seeking health careers education and health professions students who have been servicemenbers to find support and resources, like the Tillman Scholars, to continue their path to a health care career.

Summer Public Health Institute Details Released


The University of Minnesota 11th annual Public Health Institute offers courses for everyone practicing in or studying public health or fields related to public health.

The Public Health Institute includes a collection of fast-paced and interactive courses in nine public health areas with an emphasis on theory-to-practice, with opportunities for field trips, case studies, hands-on labs, and simulations.

The courses are available May 21-June 8, 2012.

Registration is open for professionals seeking Continuing Education Units. Registration for Graduate credit opens , enrolled University of Minnesota Students can register beginning April 10th and to the public on April 17.

Course topics include:
Culturally Responsive Public Health Practice
Environmental Health Sciences
Food Protection
Global Health
Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Public Health Leadership and Management
Public Health Preparedness, Response and Recovery; Research Methods
Women and Child Health and Nutrition.

CTSI Releases Two Research Funding Opportunities

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is pleased to announce two pilot funding opportunities designed to support the broad spectrum of translational science research at the University of Minnesota and in our communities.

Community Collaborative Grants Program

The Community Collaborative Grants Program supports research that solves problems in translating clinical and health-related scientific knowledge into meaningful changes in practice, with the goals of improved health outcomes and/or reduced costs. This funding is intended to stimulate outstanding new pilot research that 1) involves strong community-university collaborations and 2) addresses important issues identified by community and 3) holds the promise of developing into long-term research and evaluation projects that will attract larger grants from NIH or other federal, state, or private funding agencies.

Grants are awarded in three areas: health disparities, systems for health improvement, and rural health.

Translational Research Grants Program
The Translational Research Grants Program supports and facilitates the highest quality translational research, with a goal of making definitive progress toward positively impacting human health in Minnesota and the nation. Applications must be focused on T1 human research, or human-relevant translational or clinical research with the potential to impact human health and/or disease. T1 research tests findings derived from basic research for clinical effects and/or applicability, and yields knowledge about human disease origin and progression and the potential for prevention and/or treatment.

The MN AHEC Network is proud to partner with the CTSI Office of Interprofessional Workforce Development.

Call for Abstracts: 2012 Health Equity Conference

Poster abstracts are currently being for the 2012 Health Equity Conference poster session to be held April 23rd.

The agenda 2012 Health Equity Conference will focused on eliminating health disparities. Posters may be on any topic related to health equity and health disparities.

The deadline to submit poster abstracts is Monday February 15, 2012 at 5pm.

Awards will be given in each of the following submission categories: Students, fellows, faculty, staff and community members.

The event will be co-hosted by the Center for Health Equity, Program in Health Disparities Research and the Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations.

2012 Summer Advanced Research Program

The CTSI 2012 Summer Advanced Research Program provides research training through a structured core curriculum, mentored research projects, weekly research seminars, and a final mini-symposium to present research to other scholars and mentors. With input and oversight by the faculty mentor, the scholars will design a mutually acceptable research-training plan, according to his or her career interests and the ongoing research programs of the faculty mentor.

Download the Request for Applications
Download the Application Cover Sheet
View a list of potential mentors

•Open to current University of Minnesota health sciences professional students (from the six health sciences colleges and schools) with an interest in clinical and translational research
•Offers an 8 - 12 week mentored summer research opportunity
•Provides a weekly stipend during the course of the program
•Opportunity for outstanding projects to receive travel funding to present research at a scientific conference
•Includes interdisciplinary learning and networking opportunities through weekly research seminars
•Applications from underrepresented populations are strongly encouraged
•All health sciences students are eligible, regardless of citizenship or immigration status
•Up to ten students will be selected
•Applications due January 16, 2012; start date in summer 2012

Medical students interested in health equity research should visit the Center for Health Equity website for more summer research opportunities

MN AHEC Director Barbara Brandt is the Director of the Office of Interprofessional Workforce Development in the CTSI.

AHEC Funding Update for FY12

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AHEC funding for FY12 has been finalized at $30,142,000. This does reflect a $3 million decrease over FY11; however it is far, far better than zero, as initially proposed by the House.

Please be sure to reach out and thank your legislators, as well as your students, board members, community members and the many others who called on behalf of the AHEC Program. Thanks to your continuous advocacy efforts the AHEC Network is well positioned to continue its excellent work in improving health by leading the nation in the recruitment, training and retention of a diverse health workforce for underserved communities.

2012 NHSC Loan Repayment Application Now Open!

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On December 13th, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) opened its 2012 application cycle! The application cycle will be open until May 2012, however providers are strongly encouraged to apply early.

Award amounts for this year's program have been modified to help ensure communities with the greatest need - those with the highest Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) scores - receive recruitment support to fill much needed clinical positions.

With continued service, NHSC providers may be able to pay off all of their student loans. For additional program details, please see the 2012 NHSC Loan Repayment Program At-A-Glance Fact Sheet and the complete Application and Program Guidance.

MAFP.jpgMinnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) has released a call for abstracts for their 2012 Research Forum. Abstracts are due January 27, 2012. The Research Forum will take place on March 31, 2012.

Abstracts should contain original research and be relevant to family medicine. All categories of research will be considered, including practice-based, community-oriented and participatory projects, and descriptive studies. Quality Improvement projects, clinical case presentations, and literature reviews are acceptable if they generate original conclusions.

Research can be presented as a poster rather than as a live presentation. Poster submissions do require an abstract.

Abstracts can be submitted by medical students, residents, practicing physicians, academic physicians, and researchers.

Please visit the MAFP website for details on submitting an abstract.

Northwest MN AHEC board member Ray Christensen, MD is the treasurer of the MAFP House of Delegates.