Breaking the Care Barriers

April 22, 2016
A bearded white male with a stethoscope examines examines a female Asian patient.

At the Community University Health Care Center, extraordinary efforts are the order of the day. Like the time its medical director spent two hours building a Laotian immigrant patient’s trust, uncovering the reason why her medications weren’t working, and arranging the help she needed.

A primary care clinic. CUHCC was founded in 1966 by the University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics. There, University doctors, nurses, dentists, and other providers serve patients from all walks of life, but especially people of color, immigrants, and those with low incomes. lt’s a place where you don’t have to be wealthy, or even have health insurance, to receive topnotch treatment. Last year the clinic saw more than 10,500 patients.

Because CUHCC sits at the corner of Bloomington and Franklin avenues in central Minneapolis, community members need not come to the University for their primary care; instead, the University comes to them. Patients encounter staff who may greet them in Spanish, Somali, Hmong, or Vietnamese, as well as English and other languages. Clinic staff care for the whole person, not just their maladies, by helping patients find health insurance or a job, learn to cook, or master other life skills.

This year CUHCC celebrates a half century of breaking through divides of poverty, language, race, and culture to serve those who need it most.