Winona State faculty creates free clinic


Nikko Aries

The owners of Neighborhood Family Clinic and Live Well Winona on the corner of Huff & Sarnia donated their spaces and equipment to help nursing professor Jennifer Timm open Bridges Health Winona as a free clinic.

Morgan Lemmenes, Features Reporter

Bridges Health Winona held an event on Thursday, Sept. 28 in their parking lot to help bring awareness to the clinic’s opening, as well as promote a healthy lifestyle.

Bridges Health opened on Sept. 7 with help from Live Well Winona and Neighborhood Family Clinic, who donated space and equipment.

“Bridges Health is a result of two community organizations dedicated to help better serve our community and we would not have been able to do this without them,” Jennifer Timm, a nursing professor at Winona State University said. “It was very much a team effort to make this all happen.”

Dr. Lisa Schnepper, who works at Neighborhood Family Clinic, said their support for Bridges Health came easily.

“The owner of Neighborhood Family Clinic, Dr. [Ted] Thompson, was approached to provide services for Bridges Health and he loved the idea. He believes in affordable health care and it can help promote access to a variety of resources for people to get health care,” Schnepper said.

Bridges Health offers free health screening and primary care services—including vision and hearing, blood pressure, sleep apnea and other disorders, diet and exercise, depression and emotional well-being, diabetes, substance abuse and skin cancer—to anyone without insurance.

Timm was a member of a team of faculty that developed Bridges Health, which serves as both a way for low-income Winona citizens to get free health services, as well as a place for Winona State students to gain clinic experience.

The faculty team also includes nursing professors Amy Koehler, Lisa Schnepper and Sandra Paddock; social work professors Ann Vande Berg and Robert Palmer; counselor education professor Heather Sye; and mass communications professsor Muriel Scott.

“One of the many reasons for Bridges Health is to expose a diverse range of students to a developing and implementing community setting,” Timm said.

Instead of isolating to a specific major, Winona State students work together with students who have different majors to let them learn new skills they might use in the future. Students from the nursing, exercise science, social work and counselor education programs work at Bridges Health as part of their clinical program.

All four of these majors in either an undergraduate or graduate program will participate in clinical hours at Bridges Health.

“The idea came from the need to provide relevant community practices and having students work with other professions,” Timm said.

Nursing students Katie Muchring, Raelin Schue, Brooke Hahg and Megan Stark volunteered at the event last Thursday. Muchring shared her thoughts on working at the clinic.

“It is a good experience working here because not everyone is meant to be a hospital nurse,” Muchring said.

Schue also shared her thoughts on the clinic itself, as well as the experience of working at the clinic.

“It is nice because it is community based and we get to work interdisciplinary and in an environment where we could end up in one day,” Schue said.

Bridges Health is also offering free flu shots to individuals and families who need help with the cost on Oct. 26 from 3-6 p.m.

“We are healthy people who do not know the risks in the future and it is nice to have an understanding of what that might look like,” Timm said.