Lindsay Eales

CHW Spotlight: Lindsey Eales 

Community Health Worker 

Before working at Essentia Health, I was working full-time at Northwood Children’s Services and going to school full-time. I was working towards my Bachelors in Social Work. I had found a job posting as a Community Health Worker at Essentia Health, and prior to this, I had no knowledge about what a Community Health Worker was or did. I did some research, then applied. I received a call that the job was mine, and I was so excited to take on this new role. 

As a Community Health Worker at Essentia Health, I work closely with our IHP Population to help connect them to community resources. In March of 2019, we started a pilot program in three pediatric departments where a questionnaire was sent out with three questions regarding financial resource strain, transportation access, and food insecurities. When a patient screens positive for any one of these social determinants of health, I would follow up to connect them to a community partner Essentia Health is partnered with. A few months later due to the success of the pilot, this questionnaire is now sent out to all patients with a primary care visit. Since COVID-19 surfaced, Essentia Health has identified over 40,000 patients who are considered to be at high risk of contracting the virus. I have also been working with these patients to ensure their needs are being met. 

This role and community health work is important to me because I feel that social determinants of health are often overlooked. For instance, I have worked with several patients who have to decide whether to pay for their monthly prescription of medication, or use that money to get groceries for their family. No person should have to make this kind of decision. We often don’t think about how lack of transportation is going to have an effect on someone’s overall health, or lack of healthy foods. I am so grateful to be a part of this work, and helping to connect our patients to the appropriate resources.

A Note from the Board Chair

June 13, 2018

Dear Partners, Stakeholders, and Friends of the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance:

We are recently back from our statewide conference, “New Horizons in Community Health” attended by 200 of our colleagues from across Minnesota. The day-long conference brought us together for learning and networking, enabled us to recognize CHW leaders, and come together to envision the next stage of our work together.

I write to share organizational updates with you following our announcement in March of Joan Cleary’s retirement. We continue to move through a series of transitions as we position ourselves for the next exciting chapter for the Alliance. Moving through a leadership transition brings with it an opportunity for the organization to step back and assess where it has been and where it wishes to go. There have already been some early learnings and discoveries for us, most notably that it takes a team to manage the programmatic work as well as the organizational and structural work.

First, on behalf of the Board, I wish to thank Anne Ganey, MPH who initially stepped into the role of Executive Director. Anne is a vital member of our team and we greatly value all that she brings to carrying out our mission. Anne is moving into the role of subject matter expert and consultant. In addition, Joan Cleary remains with the Alliance as a senior advisor and continues to assist with specific projects. As noted in our March announcement, LaTanya Black, a CHW Certificate holder with experience as a CHW, CHW supervisor, and small business owner, will continue to serve in an outreach and advocacy role. We are grateful to Anne, Joan, and LaTanya for their vast wealth of expertise and deep knowledge.

Further, we have hired an interim management firm, Strategic Consulting & Coaching (www.strategic- cc.com), to provide executive leadership and support and strengthening our bandwidth to work on critical programmatic issues. Renae Oswald Anderson is serving as our interim executive director and is supported by Strategic Consulting & Coaching’s team of highly experienced professionals.

As we move through this time of transition, we have identified three primary areas of focus for the Alliance:

  • Education and training for CHWs and those organizations that employ CHWs
  • Advancing the field
  • Continuing policy support in the areas of health access and equity, workforce diversity, and the Triple Aim through federal, state, local, and institutional policy change

On behalf of our Board, thank you for all you do in support of the MN Community Health Worker Alliance. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Cathy Weik, Chair
Board of Directors
Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance
cweik@stratishealth.org
952-853-8519