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HealthPartners expands clinic health clubs to White Bear Lake and Maple Grove

Clubs based on Citizen Health Care model developed at the U of M

July 23, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – HealthPartners is expanding a program that creates grassroots change to promote health and build community. HealthPartners’ first clinic health club started 10 years ago at the Como Clinic. The health club model has since expanded to HealthPartners White Bear Lake Clinic and Park Nicollet Maple Grove Clinic.

The clubs are based on the Citizen Health Care Model developed at the University of Minnesota. The model reflects research on what factors work best in helping people maintain a healthy lifestyle. The research shows that social support is the best method that leads to long-term lifestyle changes for most people.

HealthPartners started a patient-led health club in 2010. Open to anyone in the community, it offers groups and classes around topic such as cooking, gardening, walking, poetry, biking, end-of-life and yoga. Planning and decision making is led by a group of about 10 citizen patients and three health care professionals. The club has grown to include more than 1,000 members.

“While physicians can give patients excellent advice on quitting smoking or getting more exercise, lasting behavior changes are unlikely without ongoing support from others. In addition, while technology such as Fitbits is popular, human interaction and social support are more effective for making permanent change,” said Bernt Helgaas, MD, a Park Nicollet Regional Medical Director.

White Bear Lake Clinic Health Club focuses on children and adults through many activities with popular ones being gardening, card-making and a children’s health fair. Produce from a garden on the east side of the clinic is donated to the White Bear Lake Emergency Food Shelf.

“We are more of a community than a club. Moving outside the clinic exam room, we work on our health together, build relationships and support the health of our community,” said Elsa Keeler, MD, a HealthPartners pediatrician. The clinic health club complements the HealthPartners Bear Power initiative in White Bear Lake. BearPower works with White Bear Lake Schools, YMCA, and community to inspire kids and families to eat well and be physically active.

About HealthPartners

HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. For more information, visit

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