Helping to expand a community of health and wellness in Minnesota

It’s an unfortunate but true reality: Oftentimes, communities do not always have adequate access to the health and social services that best meet their needs – especially underserved communities with diverse populations. In an effort to target health disparities and remove barriers, Fairview Health Services has established the new Fairview Community Health and Wellness Hub, which offers direct access to health care services, social programming resources and more to help improve wellbeing of community members. 

The Hub sits in downtown St. Paul on the site of the former St. Joseph’s Hospital, and is also home to the newly established M Health Fairview Center for Community Health Equity.

As part of its new Communities of Health initiative, UnitedHealthcare partnered with Fairview to identify the needs of the community and support the design of the health care and social programming services at the Hub to meet the most vital community priorities. In addition to an initial $1 million infrastructure investment, UnitedHealthcare will continue to work with Fairview and other local health care and community organizations to address the systemic issues of health disparities and social determinants of health in the community through the design and implementation of additional public health interventions at the Hub. St. Paul marks the first of three cities to begin the Communities of Health initiative this year.

The initial services available at the Hub will target high prevalence issues in the community, such as living with type 2 diabetes, high-risk maternal health, behavioral health diagnoses and food insecurity. The services will then be provided in a “one-stop shopping” experience so clinical service providers can help conduct social determinant of health screenings and make referrals, as needed.

UnitedHealthcare’s initial infrastructure investment at the Hub will allow for delivering fresh, Minnesota-grown produce, pantry staples, dairy and protein to food insecure community members in St. Paul. Fairview will track health outcomes for patients participating in the Hub’s programming, in order to measure the impact.

Survey research among people living in St. Paul found that more than half of respondents feel existing health care services do not meet the health needs of the surrounding communities, especially for low-income people, racial or ethnic populations experiencing health disparities, and refugees. The opening of the Hub is a direct response to create an integrated point of access to better health and wellness services.

“Fairview and these other important community partners have launched an impressive new approach that provides vital services in one location,” said Brett Edelson, UnitedHealthcare CEO of Minnesota. “UnitedHealthcare is honored to be part of this process as, together, we improve the health of St. Paul.”

The Fairview Community Health and Wellness Hub will work in collaboration with a number of community partners to improve access to programs that address health disparities. This includes:

  • Minnesota Community Care, the state’s largest federally qualified health center, opened its 19th location, the St. Paul Wellness Center, at the hub to offer affordable, multi-dimensional primary care, wellness services and more.
  • M Health Fairview Mental Health & Addiction Services has expanded outpatient care in a new clinic location within the hub, as well as transitional care and mental health bridging services to support people while they await the next phase in their care. 
  • Fairview Frontiers conducts clinical trials research in a variety of areas, including new health technologies, wearable devices and new therapies.
  • The Sanneh Foundation operates food storage, distribution and pop-up food shelves at the hub in coordination with Second Harvest Heartland, helping address immediate food access needs in St. Paul.
  • Ebenezer, a subsidiary of Fairview Health Services, will operate a first-of-its-kind model of adult day services in the state of Minnesota. The program, called Daybreak of St. Paul, will help underserved seniors maintain active and independent lives through an enhanced adult day experience.

“We must create and enhance equity-centered and culturally responsive health solutions as we partner with and serve our communities,” said Diane Tran, system executive director of community health equity and engagement. “The M Health Fairview Center for Community Health Equity is a space to come together with community partners, engage on challenges and opportunities, and develop innovative programming.”