Medical clinic opens above Seward Co-op

  • Article by: MEGAN HANSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 16, 2010 - 9:37 PM

The People's Center has started seeing patients, but the hours are limited as organizers gauge the community's interest.

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Eric Hung of the People’s Center Medical Clinic gave Dean LeCarre of Minneapolis an H1N1 vaccine last week. The People’s Center plans to set up clinics above the co-op as often as the community will support. The clinic plans to offer a holistic approach to health care, with preventative and some alternative medicine offered.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Shoppers at the Seward Co-op in Minneapolis will find more than just groceries. A medical clinic, run by the People's Center Medical Clinic, is in the early stages of operation upstairs from the produce.

The clinic is so new that it's been open only two days so far, once in January and again this month -- and then only for flu shots. More shots will be available there from 3 to 6 p.m. today, but organizers say they're still working out exactly how and when the new clinic will operate.

WHY SET UP IN THE CO-OP?

"The People's Center approached us," said Tom Vogel, marketing and member services manager for Seward Co-op, at 2823 E. Franklin Av. For one thing, many of the center's patients come from the Seward neighborhood a mile to the southeast from the People's Center.

In addition, the clinic and co-op share a commitment to healthy living, and a history. When the center opened in 1970, the People's Pantry Co-op operated out of the clinic's reception area before becoming the North Country Co-op, then helping set up the Seward Co-op in 1972.

"There has always been a relationship between the People's Center and the co-op food movement," said Peggy Metzer, CEO of the People's Center.

HOW IS THIS CLINIC DIFFERENT?

Metzer said the clinic will provide a holistic approach to health care, combining some basic medical services such as physicals, preventative care, education and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes in a neighborhood location. The clinic will also offer some homeopathic and alternative medicine.

WHAT DO PATIENTS THINK?

At an H1N1 vaccine clinic last week, Dean LeCarre said he hopes the new clinic will provide an alternative to "elitist health care," spread awareness of the need to change the health care system and help patients "get away from drugs and back to long-term preventative care."

For Sarah Matanah, who lives nearby, convenience is key. "This morning I found out one of my friends got the flu, and so when I walked in and someone told me about the flu clinic, I took it as a sign," she said. She said she may bring her two children there for care.

WHAT'S NEXT?

While the People's Center is still testing the waters at the co-op, it hopes to hold regular office hours by early May.

"We want to keep a pulse on what the community will support," Metzer said. "If that's one day a week, that's what the focus will be. If it grows beyond that, that's great."

Megan Hanson is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.

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