UP organizations collaborate to address health care worker demand

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - An expanded effort to train U.P. health care workers and it’s thanks to $1.4 million in grant money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Health care workers are in high demand in the Upper Peninsula and now several organizations like Michigan Works and the Center for Rural Health are collaborating to address that demand. The Director of the NMU Center for Rural Health, Elise Bur said the “U.P. WIN” project will help fill the gaps in health care in the U.P.

“This project is really to expand access to care and provide some different models of care throughout the Upper Peninsula which is really going to allow more people to access care,” Bur said.

The Michigan Center for Rural Health was the lead applicant for the grant and Elise Bur will be the project’s director.

One aspect the project covers is training existing community health workers and paramedics. While also providing additional cross-training to cover more health care. Bur says the project won’t stay just in Marquette.

“We’re going to travel. We’re going to try to take the programs to people. For example, community health worker training will take place in Sault Ste. Marie and Houghton, we’ll make it to Iron Mountain,” Bur said. “We won’t expect everybody to necessarily travel to Marquette for this kind of training.”

After training the project will then focus on maintaining the workforce and expanding care. One avenue of expansion is called a “mobile integrated health program”.

The EMS Project Manager for the Center for Rural Health, Andrea Abbas said they will be working closely with U.P. Health System Marquette EMS.

“Mobile integrated health means you’re deploying EMTs and paramedics out into the community to fill health care gaps that may be between different sectors. We’re basically providing in-home care, care to folks with chronic healthcare conditions,” Abbas said.

Bur said she hopes the NMU Center for Rural Health becomes the go-to place for health care training for future health care workers.

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