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Club at Como Clinic promotes health, connects neighbors

The HealthPartners Como Clinic health club brings neighbors together to help them to be more active in their own health.

Yoga class at Como Clinic

When you think about health care, you might imagine sitting in a doctor’s office or laying in a hospital bed. Good health is much more than the medical care you receive, though. HealthPartners Como Clinic is building on this idea. They created a health club that brings neighbors together and encourages them to be more active in their own health.

The idea for the health club began in 2009. University of Minnesota professor Bill Doherty, PhD, approached HealthPartners about piloting a Citizen Health Care program in a clinic. It was modeled on a program Doherty created to work with diverse community groups on health issues. He partnered with Steve Radosevich, MD, Como Clinic’s Medical Director, to start the Como Health Club.

The club is open to everyone in the community, including patients, staff and neighbors. It offers classes that promote health and well-being. These include walking clubs, yoga classes and gardening workshops.

“Cooking classes are always full and we have waiting lists. We do most of them in the employee break room of the clinic, but have started having some at The Good Acre. It’s a non-profit group working to improve access to healthful foods and promote diversity in farming,” said Jennette Turner, Program Manager of the Como Health Club.

One of the more popular activities is the poetry group. “We didn’t think we would have a lot of interest in it,” explained David Johnson, Regional Clinic Director. “But it turned out to be one of the more popular activities.” The club’s book discussion groups are also a hit. They choose books that focus on end-of-life issues and a variety of other well-being-related topics.

Cooking class at Como Clinic

One of the more popular activities is the poetry group. “We didn’t think we would have a lot of interest in it,” explained David Johnson, Regional Clinic Director. “But it turned out to be one of the more popular activities.” The club’s book discussion groups are also a hit. They choose books that focus on end-of-life issues and a variety of other well-being-related topics.

“I am healthier because I’m part of this group. I’ve started to see the ripple effect of caring about my own health. The changes may be small and slow, but they’re there,” said one club member.

“Patients love the club. It lets them know the clinic cares about their health. And many patients have told me that,” said Turner.

But it’s not just patients who participate. Nurses, clinic assistants, pharmacists and providers are involved as well. One physician said, “It has brought a breath of fresh air to the clinic.”

The Como Clinic is currently the only clinic in the country with a patient-led health club. Other HealthPartners Clinics have expressed interest in starting their own clubs in the future.

Cooking in kitchen at Como Clinic

Como-area community members who are interested in joining the club or receiving the newsletter can contact comohealthclub@healthpartners.com.

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