St. Clare Health Mission operates to fill the insurance gap in La Crosse, Trempealeau, and Monroe counties in Wisconsin. The nonprofit offers primary care, specialty care, mental health therapy, and pharmacy services to patients from its clinic in La Crosse and from its new mobile clinic that travels throughout La Crosse and rural farm communities.
More than 50 volunteer healthcare workers see approximately 20 to 40 patients each week. They see individuals for numerous health issues and assist with the management conditions like diabetes and hypertension. For advanced care like dental, cardiology, and oncology, the clinic partners with area hospitals and dental clinics that provide care at no charge to the patient.
Since its beginning 29 years ago, the organization has become more effective in outreach. St. Clare Health Mission has five, full-time community health workers whose job combines healthcare and social work. Their goal is to assist clients navigate access to services like food and housing so they can prioritize personal health. They create connections and appointments with healthcare systems, determine eligibility and enroll individuals into health insurance plans, address health issues and provide informal counseling, health screenings, and referrals. These employees also provide culturally appropriate health education on topics related to chronic disease prevention, physical activity, and nutrition. They are their clients’ advocates.
Recently, St. Clare Health Mission was gifted a mobile health clinic which will expand their services to individuals who can’t get to a free clinic because they lack the resource or are located in a rural community. The mobile clinic contains two fully functional and confidential exam rooms as well as diagnostic and pharmaceutical capabilities. The mobile clinic was donated by Rotary, both local clubs and Rotary International, and local donors. The mobile clinic will host clinics two to three times per week in La Crosse and in alternate rural areas.
Executive Director Q&A
Jason Larsen is the Executive Director of St Clare Health Mission. With a long track record of reliably leading nonprofit organizations, in 2020 he took the mantle from his predecessor and spearheaded the mission through the pandemic. The clinic continues to thrive under his leadership and management. In his free time, he loves being a dad, mountain biking, and enjoying time outdoors.
Q. What are some things you know now that you wish you knew when you first started as a nonprofit leader?
A. Truly, I think if I knew how challenging the environment could be for making change—program creation, staffing, and fundraising—I, perhaps, wouldn’t have taken my fist leadership role! I’m glad I didn’t know. Being a nonprofit leader has been the most rewarding work of my life—first at Big Brothers Big Sisters and now, here at St. Clare Health Mission.
Q. What has been your biggest source of pride as executive director?
A. When I left Big Brothers Big Sisters, one of my staff said, “Jason, you flip nonprofits!” It was the greatest of compliments. When I began in that role, the organization had hemorrhaged money the past few years and the shrinking mentoring programs were in disarray. We were able to achieve the trifecta of increasing fundraising, greatly improving the programs to better benefit youth, and increasing the number of matches within the organization. We also got out of an old, dilapidated office space and purchased and remodeled a really great corporate condo in downtown La Crosse that included programming space. That experience gave me the skills, and confidence, to really see my value as an executive director.
Q. How do you see the organization changing in the next two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
A. Our goal is to increase our healthcare services outside of clinic walls. With the expansion of our community health worker program and our new Rotary Mobile Clinic, we are really off to a great start. In the next two years, I see us really coming into our own with these efforts and working to expand the role and scope of St. Clare Health Mission alongside partners to have a greater local and regional impact.