Build Me Up: Accessible Healthcare with Action Care Community Clinic
When Ayan Abukar emigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia, staying in refugee camps before arriving in Minnesota in 1998, her passion was to help others. Growing up in refugee camps taught her the importance of community, and she has worked for decades to help underserved communities in the Twin Cities. Ayan founded Action for East African People, a non-profit focusing on eliminating barriers for African immigrants as they integrate into the local community.
Ayan saw the need for more affordable and accessible healthcare for the immigrant community, so she opened Action Care Community Clinic. The clinic sets out to provide quality care for those who may not be familiar with the U.S. healthcare system and need extra support. To discuss Action Care Community Clinic’s impact, we sat down with Ayan Abukar and clinic manager Kelli Hopkins on the latest episode of the Build Me Up podcast.
Below: Get to know Ayan Abukar in an interview produced by the City of Bloomington.
Nearly 10 percent of Minnesota residents are immigrants, yet Ayan has found limited non-profits and programs to assist this diverse population. Action Care sets out to address the cultural differences in understanding the U.S. medical system. It can often be difficult for immigrants to understand how to get proper medical care and navigate the insurance process, so Action Care takes a personal approach with its patients. They seek to eliminate barriers to medical treatment, with language barriers often being the most challenging. The clinic has interpreters to translate between physicians and patients. If they don’t have health insurance, Action Care has staff that will help them apply. Its critical that every patient understands the process from start to finish. But they don’t stop with health. Action Care assists if a family is struggling financially, helping them apply for food-purchasing assistance and housing assistance programs.
Kelli and Ayan agree that there are great healthcare providers in the Twin Cities. But they’re missing the cultural component that often leaves the immigrant population in the dark. Action Care looks at each individual patient as a whole person. A patient may come in for a root canal, but what else is going on? Or they may be coming in for their annual physical, but don’t realize how much oral health can affect physical health. Action Care seeks to connect all those dots, ensuring they see the whole scope of the person.
Action Care recently opened an additional Burnsville location, which includes chiropractic massage therapy, acupuncture, herbal therapy, cupping, and other services that immigrants may be familiar with. Their passion is to help others, and they will take patients from any walk of life. To learn more about Action Care Community Clinic and its mission, tune in to the latest episode of the Build Me Up podcast. You can subscribe to Build Me Up wherever you listen to podcasts.