M Health Fairview program helps individuals and families from marginalized communities navigate the health care system
Every day is different for Tatiana Jara Pacheco.
Sometimes, she’s helping a family pay rent or find furniture for their house. Other days, she’s delivering food and clothing donations, connecting families to health and housing resources, or helping people get eyeglasses. It’s all part of Pacheco’s role as an M Health Fairview cultural broker working in Minneapolis’ Latine community.
“There are no typical weeks,” Pacheco says with a laugh.
The M Health Fairview cultural brokers program was created in 2016 to improve the health of folks from marginalized communities by helping them interact with the sometimes-complicated health care system and find the care they need. The program also connects individuals and families to a holistic mix of social services, taking into account how factors like housing and nutrition affect health and well-being. Each broker serves as a navigator, translator, and advocate for a specific community: Hmong, Karen, American Indian, African American, and Latine.
The program, which is supported entirely by philanthropy, has grown steadily over the last five years to reach more than 14,000 people, assisting Minnesota families all the way from the Iron Range down to Faribault.
Ultimately, the program aims to bolster trust between marginalized communities and health care providers, empowering individuals to advocate for their own health and encouraging care teams to view their work through a culturally sensitive lens. For Pacheco, who grew up in the same community that she now serves, that work feels especially crucial and close to home.
“You are with these families all of the time, you connect with them every day, and you build that trust and feel like you’re part of the family,” she says. “It almost feels like you’re helping your grandma, or your mom, or your cousin.”