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JULY 2019 MNCHWA Community Health Worker Spotlight

LaTrese VanBuren-Thompson

Community Health Worker, University of Minnesota Physicians Broadway Family Medicine, 2019 MNCHWA Leadership Development Institute Graduate, and a CHW Mentor for the La’Tanya Black Alumni Mentoring Scholarship (LBAMS.)

LaTrese VanBuren-Thompson has over 16 years of bridging the gap in the medical field.  Before becoming a Community Health Worker, LaTrese was a Certified Medical Assistant of 14 years and the desire to help her community led her to become a Community Health Worker.

Interview with BMNCHWA Community Engagement Specialist, LaTanya Black

What do you do as a CHW?
I serve in a Family Practice clinic where I help socially isolated and diabetic patients get connected with resources that will help improve their health and isolation.  

What has been your favorite part of being a CHW?
My favorite part has got to be building the trusting relationships I have with my patients.  Starting as complete strangers, and now being a part of their lives and impacting them is such a positive way.  Awesome!

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I really enjoy doing NOTHING!  I am always running around, socializing, and being of service however, my heart is at home, relaxing in peace and quiet.

LaTrese, far right, at the 2019 MNCHWA Leadership Development Institute Reunion Luncheon.

LaTrese’s Work as a Community Health Worker: In Her Own Words

I once worked with a “Socially Isolated” young man who feared leaving his home; doctors diagnosed him with a form of agoraphobia.

This prevented him from becoming better connected with his community.  During one of our scheduled appointments he expressed he would like to set a goal of becoming more physically active, but didn’t know what he could do in his home. 

There was a beautiful pond in back of his home, after a few visits and establishing trust, I asked if he would feel comfortable walking around the pond with me once a week. 

He said yes! During one of our walks, half way around the pond I pointed out a YMCA right across from where we were standing, this young man did not know this YMCA was in his backyard

(I had always known this, as my grandmother lives in the building next door and this is my community!)

He agreed to walk a little further to explore it. We took a tour of the YMCA. When we met the next month, I discovered he applied for a membership to this YMCA and now goes every Wednesday with a relative! AMAZING!! 

Contact LaTrese   (612) 310-8321 • Mobile

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