January Hawthorne Huddle: NorthPoint means access


The first Hawthorne Huddle meeting of 2012 was Thursday January 5th, at 601 29th Ave. N. The meeting focused on health and wellness. Panelists included Dr. Paul Erickson, Medical Director of NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center; Paula Haywood, Human Service Area Manager of Hennepin County Human Services and the Public Health Department; John Munger, Executive Director, City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation; and Marques Armstrong, Executive Director, Imani Youth and Family Services, LLC.

NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, established in 1968 as Pilot City Health Center. provides full health services, including mental and behavioral health services. The mission is partnering to create a healthier community.

“It started as apart of Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty to create community health centers,” said Paul Erickson, Medical Director of NorthPoint Health and Wellness Inc. “Over the years, we have realized it is more than medical care. We have developed an integrated approach to how we provide health services,” he said.

“Studies show that 10% of mortality was attributed to medical care, while the remaining 90% was attributed to social determinacy,” Erickson said.

North Point has an inter-disciplinary team of medical, dental and human services; food shelves, housing assistance, domestic violence program and the African American Men’s Project. In addition a community health outreach program, partnering with Plymouth Youth Center (PYC) and North High, consists of three focuses: prevention and education, early identification of treatment and disease.

“One of our biggest challenges is access,” Erickson said. “We want to provide access to health services for the Northside community. In the last four years, we have seen the rate of those not insured go from 28%, to the average of now 56%. As people get stressed economically, health becomes less important,” he said.

The next Hawthorne Huddle meeting is 7:30-8:45am February 2 at Farview Park 601 29th Ave. N. For more information: Sophie Winter 763-764-3413 or Ellen.Luger@genmills.com 

The Nordic Ski Foundation, housed in Theodore Wirth Park, was founded in 2002 with a vision to establish an urban cross-country ski marathon. The first City of Lakes Loppet was held that year with 800 skiers completing a 24km course on Lake Calhoun. Since then, the Loppet has become synonymous with winter in Minnesota. Inspired by Mayor R.T. Rybak and Park Board Commissioners Jon Olson and John Erwin, a small group of skiers organized a ski race through Wirth Park, finishing on Minneapolis’ Chain of Lakes near Uptown.

The Nordic Ski Foundation is a 501c(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and support cross-country skiing in the Minneapolis area among inner-city youth. The Foundation has three focus areas: youth programming, events and trails.

“Many children in North Minneapolis do not have an opportunity to cross country ski,” John Munger said. “We first introduce them to the sport and inspire them to continue.”

The Nordic Ski Foundation has partnered with six Minneapolis Public Schools: Bryn Mawr, Pillsbury, Nellie Stone Johnson, Loring, Hmong International and Urban League Elementary. The programs run from late November through early February. “We go into the elementary schools, provide ski equipment, coaching and even provide a ski trail right outside the school,” Munger said.