ORHPC News Update May 2022 - Office of Rural Health and Primary Care



Office of Rural Health and Primary Care News

View this as a webpage

May 2022

Update Index

MDH news

Realizing an equitable mental health workforce

Developing an equitable mental health care workforce includes attracting and retaining professionals that represent the diverse populations we have in Minnesota. Not only is there a overall shortage of mental health providers available—especially in rural communities—there is also a growing need to have a greater number of mental health professionals who are themselves from communities of color or underrepresented communities.

To address this issue, MDH, ORHPC administers the Mental Health Cultural Community Continuing Education grant (MHCCCE) program for the purpose of assisting mental health professionals in pursuing a course of study, through post–secondary training or continuing education, that is expected to lead to recognition as a board–approved Licensing Supervisor. ORHPC began soliciting grant proposals from mental health professionals from communities of color or underrepresented communities to become qualified to serve as supervisors for mental health practitioners pursuing licensure (‘Licensing Supervisor’). 

The next set of applications for this grant are due August 1.

Cross-sector partnership funds equitable expansion of mental health workforce

Recognizing the severity of the mental health professional shortage, health plan UCare and mental health providers Alluma and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation have announced the development of their pilot program to make it easier for prospective mental health professionals to join the mental health field.

Through the partnership, UCare will fund $100,000 in stipends for clinical interns as they complete the supervision necessary to graduate from and eventually be licensed in social work, clinical counseling, marriage and family therapy, and other mental health roles. Wilder and Alluma will provide hours of required supervision at no cost. The pilot will focus on supporting clinical interns from cultural and ethnic minority groups, rural communities, and other underrepresented populations where the workforce needs are greatest.

Top of page

Grants and other funding

New: Community Health Worker Training Program

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released a new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to expand the public health workforce by training 13,000 community health workers (CHW), as well as building their knowledge and skills.

The CHWTP is a new multiyear program focused on education and on–the–job training to build the pipeline of CHWs. This program will support experiential training and employment through registered apprenticeships and job placements. The CHWTP aims to increase access to care, improve public health emergency response, and address the public health needs of underserved communities.

HRSA will award approximately $226.5 million to up to 75 grantees over a period of three years. Applications are due June 14.

Reminder: Public Health Scholarship Program

A new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) has been released. This program will provide funds to award recipients who will in turn provide scholarships to individuals receiving training in professional, graduate and /or certificate programs in public health. Applications are due June 1.

Top of page


Free COVID–19 testing supplies

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is currently distributing COVID–19 testing supplies to CMS–certified Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) free of charge. Supplies may be shared among various facilities of the same health network, including non–RHCs. Not only that, RHCs can distribute supplies to communities through foodbanks, schools, churches, and more. Currently available supplies include:

  • Quidel QuickVue At-Home Test Kits
  • BD Veritor Point of Care Test Analyzers
  • COVID/Flu Point of Care Test Strips
  • COVID Point of Care Test Strips
  • Adult N95 Masks

For more information on the program and how to enroll, please visit https://www.narhc.org/narhc/COVID-19_At-Home_Tests.asp.

For additional questions please contact RHCTestKit@hrsa.gov or RHCcovidsupplies@narhc.org.

Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System Deployment Underway at Minnesota Hospitals

Medical facilities are urged to establish accounts for this mandated system

The Minnesota Legislature last session mandated that sexual assault victims have access to information about the status of their sexual assault kits (Minnesota Statute 299C.106).

Kit records begin with every Minnesota medical facility that occasionally or regularly collects kits. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is implementing a new kit tracking system called Track–Kit in which medical facilities, law enforcement agencies and forensic laboratories create and update records about kits. This secure system is used both for kits that will be tested and those that the victim has not consented to testing.

Track–Kit training and system deployment is happening now and the system is already in use in parts of Minnesota.

If your facility has not done so already, please email Cindy Chung at Invita Healthcare Technologies at Cindy.Chung@invitahealth.com to provide a Track–Kit point of contact for your facility.

Top of page

Read this

Health impacts of air pollution

While all Minnesotans are susceptible to the health impacts of air pollution, these impacts do not affect all Minnesotans equally. Structural inequities formed through institutional systems like city planning, infrastructure, and policies have led to disparities in local source pollution. Learn more in two new data briefs Life and Breath: Metro (updated 2022) and Life and Breath: Greater Minnesota (2022).

Urban Area Criteria for the 2020 Census–Final Criteria

The Census Bureau: Urban Area Criteria for the 2020 Census–Final Criteria . The Census Bureau's urban-rural classification is fundamentally a delineation of geographical areas, identifying individual urban areas as well as the rural portion of the nation. The Census Bureau's urban areas represent densely developed territory, and encompass residential, commercial, and other non-residential urban land uses.

100s of US urban areas will become rural with new criteria , KSTP.com Eyewitness News, May 1, 2022.

A Hard Look at Minnesota Hospital Finances, Twin Cities Business, May 1, 2022.

Top of page

Save the date

The virtual National Telehealth Conference, will be held May 16–17

The virtual USDA Rural Development Placemaking Conference will be held May 23-24.

The virtual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held August 18–19.

This year's National Rural Health Day is Thursday, November 17.


Top of page