The Heartbeat of Downtown – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

Downtown Minneapolis is constantly changing, yet one health care presence remains rooted in its location and mission to provide excellent care to all. “One thing that doesn’t change is the need for health care,” says Hennepin Healthcare CEO Jennifer DeCubellis. “People get hurt. People have medical concerns. Kids need well-child checks. Hennepin Healthcare is here for our communities, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

Hennepin Healthcare—first known as Minneapolis City Hospital— got its start providing medical care to the burgeoning City of Lakes as its lumber and flour mills hummed and population spiked. People began turning to the provider for everyday illnesses and disease outbreaks, from influenza to polio, and for its skill in caring for people with grave injuries and conditions.

“People get hurt. People have medical concerns. Kids need well-child checks. Hennepin Healthcare is here for our communities, and we take that responsibility very seriously.” —Jennifer DeCubellis, CEO of Hennepin Healthcare 

As downtown Minneapolis grew, so did Hennepin Healthcare. It developed into a network of primary care clinics in the city and throughout Hennepin County, along with its flagship hospital, known for decades as Hennepin County Medical Center. Today, Hennepin Healthcare still operates as an integral part of downtown, bringing in more than 2,000 patients daily.

Its evolution continues along with the constant changes downtown. When more people began moving to Minneapolis’s vibrant North Loop neighborhood, Hennepin Healthcare followed, opening a clinic and pharmacy there in 2017. The following year, Hennepin Healthcare made a splash with the Clinic & Specialty Center, its first new building downtown in 40 years. A redevelopment is slated for the early 2030s and will include a modern inpatient facility on a more compact campus. DeCubellis says it’s especially important as downtown’s population is poised to climb from 57,000 to a projected 70,000 by 2025.

Hennepin Healthcare also serves as a major employer and trainer of the next generation of physicians, nurses, therapists, and technicians. “They help ensure the future of health care in the Twin Cities and beyond,” DeCubellis says. “Team members at Hennepin Healthcare are able to do what they love—care for our community.”

A key part of that care is helping people during emergencies. When venues big and small—U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Field, Hennepin Avenue theaters, and more—hold events downtown, the EMS team, a nationally recognized Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma center, is at the ready, DeCubellis says.

During the challenging past few years, Hennepin Healthcare has doubled down on its commitment to address racial inequities in health care, DeCubellis says, with a focus on hiring and training a more diverse health care workforce. Through its EMS Pathways Academy, which provides paid training for emergency medical technicians to become paramedics, and its Talent Garden program to support underrepresented youth pursuing health care careers, Hennepin Healthcare is driving change that helps deliver the best care for all.

This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. 

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