When 8-year-old Miguel’s* parents brought him to CUHCC for his first well child check, he weighed 140 pounds and was very self-conscious about his size. His family was concerned about him and also about his father, who has diabetes.
CUHCC’s family-centered approach to health care allowed the staff to get to know and help not only Miguel but also his entire family. When CUHCC staff discovered the family was very engaged in their Latino community and passionate about baseball, they encouraged Miguel’s family to use baseball as a way to pursue good health.
Miguel and his father started the Latino Little League in the Phillips neighborhood. Over three years of playing in the Latino Little League, Miguel’s body mass index (BMI) dropped from 31 to 26. His father’s LDL (“bad” cholesterol) plummeted from 336 to 70. Both father and son feel much better about themselves and their family, and Miguel has become a great baseball player!
CUHCC is proud to have helped Miguel and his family become more healthy and take a leadership role in the community.
Ahmed's New Life
A Somali man now in his late 20s, Ahmed* came to CUHCC eight years ago after being discharged from Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center, which provides inpatient and transitional services to people with severe mental illness from the Twin Cities metropolitan area. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, enrolled in our mental health group for Somali men with serious and persistent mental illness, and assigned to a bicultural/bilingual Somali case manager at CUHCC.
Family members were confused by Ahmed’s symptoms and didn’t know how to care for him. Other members of the Somali community were hesitant to discuss mental health services due to stigma associated with mental illness. During the next few years, our case manager met weekly with Ahmed and his family both in the clinic and at home to ensure that he could live stably in the community. The family grew to trust the case manager, and became receptive to learning more about Ahmed’s illness, treatment options, and medications. They also learned how to recognize signs that Ahmed might not be taking his medications and could need to be hospitalized. Together, the case manager, Ahmed, and his family wrote down key information about his illness, such as signs and symptoms, medication regimen, and contact information for key providers, clinics, and hospitals. The family then posted this list on their refrigerator where they could easily see it.
The family wanted Ahmed to live his life as fully and independently as possible. Our case manager worked with family members to locate a unit in their apartment building where he could live. He also helped them develop an intervention plan for when Ahmed stops taking his medication. All family members—mother, father, two sisters and one brother—meet at the parents’ home and invite Ahmed over for dinner. Together, they sit Ahmed down at the dinner table, place his medications in front of him, and request that he take his medications. The plan always works.
Today, Ahmed continues to check in with his case manager weekly. The case manager coordinates his Social Security and housing benefits with Hennepin County and the state and ensures that his Medical Assistance does not lapse. Because of the support he receives from his family and case manager, Ahmed has not been hospitalized since he came to CUHCC. He is able to live stably within the community and attends to his physical and mental health needs by scheduling his own health care appointments.
Ongoing support from the Greater Twin Cities United Way for the New Americans Mental Health Program at CUHCC has allowed the clinic to provide comprehensive, bilingual/bicultural services to immigrant and refugee families who may feel uncomfortable talking about mental illness or don’t know where to turn for help. The results are truly outstanding: clients like Ahmed find the support they need from their families and health care providers to gain their independence and live safely in the community.