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A Long Drive from South Dakota

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

After driving alone for hours from South Dakota, Javier* finally arrived at the Mexican Consulate in Saint Paul with considerable chest pain. The pain had been plaguing him for weeks; and he was having trouble breathing, oftentimes gasping for air. He had finally accepted that he needed to get help. He was greeted by Rosalinda Alle, the Community Health Worker for St. Mary’s Health Clinics, at the Mexican Consulate.

The Ventanilla de Salud, or “Window of Health”, program is a collaboration between St. Mary’s Health Clinics and the Mexican Consulate. It provides health resources, information, education and health screenings for walk-in individuals in need of care that has been denied them elsewhere. Rosalinda sees an average of 10 to 18 people a day, from domestic abuse survivors in need of resources to patients like Javier who need immediate, life-saving medical care.

When she saw Javier, Rosalinda knew that something was very wrong. After taking Javier’s blood pressure and noting that it was alarmingly high, she recommended that he go to the emergency room immediately. She helped him arrange for emergency funding and made sure that the Consulate knew he was there in case anything happened to him. After arriving at the emergency room Javier was screened and scheduled for open heart surgery the next day due to a heart abnormality. Rosalinda’s hospitality, experience and connection to St. Mary’s Health Clinics enabled her to triage Javier correctly and help save his life.

Rosalinda has worked for St. Mary’s Health Clinics for the past 11 years and has worn many hats. She’s served as an interpreter, scheduled patients over the phone, reviewed labs and led community events. Her work at the Mexican Consulate has allowed her to connect people to St. Mary’s and to hear first-hand what the services at the clinics mean to the people who receive care. She encourages people to write thank you notes to the clinics and to donate in any amount that they can to pay it forward, which many patients do. There is always something to do and more work to be done; work that Rosalinda looks forward to doing well into the future.

*name changed for confidentiality


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