Team Cass Lake

Tuesday March 13th


We spent today at two very different clinics that serve Native Americans in the Cass Lake area.

Cass Lake IHS is the primary care facility for Indians on Leech Lake Reservation. It also runs a dental clinic, and a pharmacy. Internists, family med docs and pediatricians work in coordinated teams with nurses, pharmacists, and social worker. The want to have a mental health provider on each team, but they can’t recruit them. Right now they have a social worker who is trying to cover mental health for the whole clinic.

In addition the lack of access to mental health care, we also asked about detox facilities for alcoholics. We found out the only facilities in this part of the state is several hours away, and often full, so they have to send patients home if their withdrawal symptoms do not justify admission. They also have to come up with transportation to the detox center in many cases.

Sanford Clinic Bemidji is a private hospital 25 minutes away from Cass Lake.  Patients are referred to Sanford from both the Cass Lake and Red Lake IHS facilities.

Some students shadowed Vikki Howard, an Indian Advocate who serves as a social worker for Indians, who make up 25% of the patient population, and a cultural awareness educator. Vikki gave us a presentation about Ojibwe healing traditions.


Then we ate Mexican. It was good.


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