Bridges Health has received a $25,000 Innovation Funding Award from Minnesota State Educational Innovations. Bridges Health is a WSU student-led, faculty guided, health and wellness program that provides an array of free preventative health, wellness and social services to community members, including health screening and exams, health education, health promotion, social support, and information and referral services. Other specialized services include mental health, deliverable health promotion kits to at-risk families, and a variety of virtual supports to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The funding will help support WSU students as they lead innovative community efforts in health, wellness, and social care, specifically designed to reach underserved groups, while partnering with organizations in the community. It will also be used to equip community sites with the supplies, services, and technology to serve clients and interprofessional students.


Bridges Coordinator and WSU Associate Professor from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Jennifer Timm also shared that new innovative services have been enacted to provide care amid the pandemic.


“Our new services are designed to reach people during the COVID-19 pandemic from a safe physical distance. Students are getting hands-on experience in designing, implementing, and evaluating programming that reaches people now in a virtual format as well, given the COVID-19 pandemic. This helps prepare interprofessional students in the use of technology as they enter fields now dependent on such connection with clients and patients.”


The funding will allow faculty members and students to be equipped to serve at-risk and underserved populations in creative ways. Additionally, it will continue to help Bridges deliver and develop services using technology to expand its reach to more individuals and families.


WSU students from interprofessional undergraduate and graduate programs work in multiple teams to support the mission and vision of Bridges Health. The students are responsible for leading the design, development, implementation, evaluation, quality improvement, and collaboration across the teams. The learning environment of Bridges Health fosters learning in care for underserved groups, population-focused health and wellness, leadership development, and interprofessional practice.  Students are provided with supplies, equipment, and tools to deliver preventive health, wellness, and social care. Clinical faculty guide and supervise the student’s work in the practice setting. The faculty are also given the opportunity to engage in interprofessional collaboration and practice themselves, outside of their own profession.


Services and support for Bridges Health are provided through collaborative efforts of WSU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences; multiple community organizations, including the Winona Community Warming Center, Winona Friendship Center, Winona Volunteer Services, along with Arcadia and Cochrane Fountain City K12 Schools; Neighborhood Family Clinic and the Winona State University Foundation.


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