November 26, 2009

Social justice pillar of outreach efforts

Social justice pillar of outreach efforts
“Primary health care a right, not a privilege”

By ALLAN TINKER
She makes no bones about her role in providing the public with the best health care she can arrange or facilitate. Nikki Medalen assists consumers in understanding and accessing the many programs of Northland Community Health Centers in the three clinics they serve: Rolette, McClusky and Turtle Lake. She moves among the clinics and schedules according to needs within the communities they serve.
“I believe in social justice,” she states firmly. “People have a right to primary health care; it is not a privilege.” She emphasizes the need for immunizations and screenings that are so necessary to prevent the leading causes of death in the US.
Northland, which provides grant-funded health care, is publicly funded for the public good, she added. Population health is more important than individual health, she emphasized. She explains that this means that great knowledge of proper life choices in nutrition, avoidance of drugs and alcohol, access to health care, and reductions in injuries can do more for helping people on a large scale, than trying to fix community health problems one person at a time.
The large Northland program impacts can improve and educate a huge amount of people on a health issue in a relatively short time. “We make a difference, broadly,” she smiled.
Born and raised in Rolette, she graduated high school there and then received her nursing degree from Minot State University in December of 1996. She became the McHenry County Public Health Nurse, and then taught public health at MSU from August 2005 to Sept. 2009, stopping to accept the position with Northland. She is continuing her master’s degree program in nursing education through the University of Grand Forks, with some online courses and on campus.
Nikki was born to Chuck (deceased) and Margaret Leonard and has one brother, Chris, who is a physical therapist in Cleveland, OH. She is married to Keith, a Towner rancher. Together they raise registered Angus cattle and Quarterhorses. They have no children.
 


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