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About Health Commons

Augsburg’s Health Commons sites are nursing-led drop-in centers led and organized by nursing faculty members, nursing and physician assistant volunteers, students, and community members. The Commons are spaces that support relationship building, connect people from various backgrounds, and provide resources. We are not a clinic nor is there a fee for service. Unlike many shelters and organizations, we do not require id cards, and we welcome new visitors each time.

 

We believe that health is a journey that incorporates the importance of belonging, finds the strength in survival, and de-emphasizes the expert model. Our care practice is embedded in social justice praxis and transcultural nursing principles. Our mission is to intentionally seek to honor the dignity of all our participants and focus on reducing stereotypes in our healthcare system. There are no experts or hierarchies in place, but a community of people who care. All are welcome and simple acts of hospitality are at the core of what we do.

 

Health disparities affect our local and global communities in deep ways embedded in historical context and social norms that need to be dismantled to focus on creating a more healthy, and peaceful world. Nursing and Physician Assistant members and students from Augsburg University led, organize and participate at the Health Commons in hopes of creating changes in our healthcare system to honor the wisdom of all people as they seek to reduce bias, increase compassionate-based care, and discover the what it means to be a citizen nurse.

 

HISTORY OF THE HEALTH COMMONS

The Augsburg Central Health Commons was founded in 1992 (previously called the Nursing Center). The Health Commons has allowed faculty and students from the Nursing Department at Augsburg University to become involved in community-based practice. Through the years, Augsburg nurses have met community members who have welcomed their service. In the relationships that have developed, we continue to experience the mutuality of health–when someone grows stronger, that strength helps everyone in the community. Since its opening, the Health Commons has been supported by donations of both time and supplies from people of many backgrounds who want to help. The original partners continue to support the Commons, and we are working with our PA Program to assist in its operation and expand our outreach to help teach students with independent practice and community engagement.

 

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to provide simple supplies and services needed for health, to make connections to new ideas, to link individuals and resources in the community, and to make connections to each other. Our nursing practice at the Health Commons is founded on hospitality and relationship development that leads to transcultural understanding and health benefits for all participants. We are dedicated to building relationships based on mutual benefit and understanding with those who utilize our space.

 

COMMUNITY MEMBERS

The people who come to the Health Commons are from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Many of our participants live on Minneapolis’s streets or are marginally housed.  Everyone is welcome, and all services are provided free of charge. Health concerns might include blood pressure, nutrition, medication, social isolation, minor injuries, or chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Frequently, people with these problems come to the Health Commons for its easy access, supportive environment, and assistance connecting to other healthcare resources.