Dr. Heather Bell, MD

In 2012, Dr. Heather Bell began her family medicine practice in rural MN. She has also recently become board certified in addiction medicine. With her visionary leadership, Dr. Bell has been influential in redesigning the primary care delivery model across the clinic by adopting whole person centered care leading the clinic in earning recognition by the state of Minnesota as a Medical Home. As an emancipated minor, Dr. Bell’s childhood brought many challenges. Losing a mother as an early teen and coping through family chemical abuse and addiction instilled the strength of perseverance, courage and desire to make a difference through the practice of medicine. As opioid use and related issues became increasingly apparent, Dr. Bell identified that the whole-person care approach was most appropriate for re-engineering the approaches to care of this population. Seeing a gap in care, she started using medication-assisted addiction treatment with buprenorphine as part of her primary care practice. Her leadership and perseverance are transforming the clinic practice, demonstrating success in both cost savings and patient care outcomes. Dr. Bell, with her colleague Dr. DeVine, in partnership with the MN Department of Human Services, have launched the first MN ECHO program (videoconferencing education platform).  Through this program and funding they have been able to educate and mentor others on appropriate opioid prescribing and encouraging rural buprenorphine treatment.

Kurt DeVine, MD

Dr. Kurt Devine has been a full spectrum family medicine physician for more than 26 years. He is also a boarded Addiction Medicine physician. As a practicing physician in Rural Minnesota, he has faced many unique challenges caring for patients in the primary care setting amid evolving care delivery models demanding forward-thinking and creative strategies for change.  As opioid use and its attributing issues became increasingly apparent, he became more engaged and involved with the local community task force assembled to address concerns of opioid use and dependency within the county. His leadership has enabled grant funding to be put to practical use, demonstrating positive outcomes both financially and from a patient care perspective. During this time, Dr. DeVine added buprenorphine to his primary care practice, to improve rural access to treatment from opioid use disorder. Through legislative funding and grant procurement, Dr. DeVine and his colleague Dr. Heather Bell initiated Minnesota’s first ECHO to reduce and monitor opioid prescribing in a rural clinic setting.

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