Otto Bremer Trust Invests $1M to Launch UMN Mobile Healthcare Initiative

Minneapolis, MN
Jul. 8, 2020

The University of Minnesota has received a $1 million philanthropic investment from the Otto Bremer Trust to establish mobile healthcare services in communities that lack access to medical care because of COVID-19, civil unrest related to racial injustice as well as economic and other factors.

Initially, the program will be based at the Broadway Family Medicine Clinic in North Minneapolis and the Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC) in South Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood, with geographical expansion to come over the next several months.

The mobile health initiative brings together U of M health professionals from dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, medicine and veterinary medicine to provide a range of services, including COVID-19 testing (both viral and antibody) and education, enhanced access to healthcare for populations at higher than average risk for COVID-19 infection and poor outcomes as well as needed vaccinations for individuals and their companion animals. The overarching goal is to address healthcare disparities occurring in neighborhoods that are segregated and have inadequate access to community facilities because of long-standing racial and social injustices.

“Time and again, the Trustees of the Otto Bremer Trust have stepped up to ensure that all people have access to needed healthcare services,” said Dr. Jakub Tolar, the U of M’s vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the Medical School. “Earlier this spring as the pandemic was revealing itself, they were the first to help us purchase protective equipment for COVID-19 patients and frontline healthcare providers. Now they are the first to help us expand healthcare access in under-served communities confronting two pandemics, COVID and social injustice.”

The U of M’s initiatives under Dr. Tolar’s leadership are saving lives. It is that simple,” said Brian Lipschultz, co-CEO and Trustee of the Otto Bremer Trust. “We are determined to do everything in our power to support that work and help the most vulnerable members of society receive the care they deserve. 

The U of M is a partner of ours in every sense of the word,” Lipschultz added, “and as Trustees of OBT, we are humbled by their limitless commitment to this state’s well-being.”

Initial support from the Otto Bremer Trust will help build stronger collaboration with community leaders and ongoing U of M investment in medically underserved areas.

Our goal is to address community needs related to inequities or disparities in access to care by helping communities build on what they themselves identify as needs and reasonable approaches,” said Dr. Bobbi Daniels, associate vice president for clinical affairs, who will oversee implementation. 

We have already conducted mobile testing in COVID hotspot areas, including Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, and assisted the Minnesota Department of Health in Mower County, which has seen cases spike over the past several weeks,” Daniels said. “We will continue to grow and expand this initiative, working with our community partners throughout the state.”

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About the University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Visit system.umn.edu.

About the Otto Bremer Trust
The Otto Bremer Trust is a bank holding company and a private charitable trust based in St. Paul, Minn., that works at the intersection of finance and philanthropy. Created in 1944 by Otto Bremer, it is today one of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations and is committed to supporting a better quality of life for residents of Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Wisconsin. OBT is the majority owner of Bremer Financial Corporation, a regional financial services company, and manages a diversified investment portfolio. Since its founding, OBT has invested more than $750 million in people, places and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Visit ottobremer.org.

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A summary of Otto Bremer Trust’s investment in the University of Minnesota
In addition to its support of the mobile healthcare model, the Otto Bremer Trust has invested a total of more than $10 million in University of Minnesota initiatives since 1971, including:

  • $500,000 this spring to catalyze the Medical School’s emergency response to COVID-19, providing funding for essential equipment and protective supplies, and investing in surge preparations at Bethesda Hospital, the first specialty-focused COVID-19 treatment site in the country.
  • $1 million earlier this year to help establish the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain, an interdisciplinary initiative focused on understanding and promoting healthy brain development in children and adolescents.
  • $490,000 granted to the Social Work Interprofessional Training Collaborative for Health (SWITCH) Fellowship at the College of Education and Human Development in September 2019 to provide graduate students in social work with interprofessional training in behavioral health so that they can respond to the mental health and substance use needs of children, adolescents, adults and families living in medically underserved communities in Minnesota.
  • A $150,000 grant in September 2019 toward the renovation of Edson Auditorium in the Edward J. and Helen Jane Morrison Performing Arts Center at the University of Minnesota Morris. In recognition of OBT's investment, the auditorium’s new control booth will be named the Otto Bremer Trust Control Center.
  • $1 million in May 2019 to make Minnesota’s health system more “age friendly” by educating and training health professionals in core geriatrics principles that will improve medical care for this growing population throughout the region.
  • A total of $270,000 in 2018 and 2016 to support the Minnesota Prison Doula Project, which seeks to improve the mental and physical health outcomes of incarcerated pregnant women and mothers.
  • $150,000 in January 2018 to support the future creation of the Tribal Sovereignty Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth, which will contribute to student scholarships, research and general operating needs.
  • $2.5 million in 2016 to name the Otto Bremer Trust Center for Safe and Healthy Children. Part of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and located at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, the center provides comprehensive medical care and health services to victims of child abuse and neglect.
  • Ongoing support for the University of Minnesota Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC). A community health center dedicated to transforming care and education to advance health equity, CUHCC provides team-based care to those in need and offers important clinical training for the next generation of healthcare professionals.
  • Regular grant funding for the Center for Small Towns (CST), which provides research, education and program support to Minnesota communities of fewer than 5,000 people. Through this funding, CST supports dozens of communities each year, improving the vitality and resilience of small towns in greater Minnesota.