Residents of Itasca County and other communities in Northeastern MN asked to contribute
In partnership with Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota (LASNEM), researchers at the Duluth Campus of the University of Minnesota Medical School are conducting research across the region. They want to speak with local community members about their lives and concerns.
“The goal of this survey is to try and better understand what the needs and concerns are of the individuals and the communities that LASNEM and its satellite offices serve, not only attempting to gauge how well LASNEM's organizational goals and priorities are aligning (or not aligning) with the needs of the community but also to see what needs aren't being considered,” explained Jon Bredeson, a research assistant at the Duluth Campus of the University of Minnesota Medical School. Bredeson is working alongside Dr. Michele Statz, an anthropologist of law conducting a three-year study on access to justice throughout rural communities in Northeastern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin.
According to Dr. Statz, the study is important because it is not often that researchers and policymakers “really seek out the diverse needs and expertise of rural/tribal community members.”
“The survey represents an important opportunity for individuals to directly inform the organizations and funding structures that are intended to make life better and more equitable–but that may miss the mark,” explained Dr. Statz. “The individuals we speak with know what is and isn't working better than anyone else, and we want to hear from them."
The survey is open to individuals who are over the age of 18, who self-identify as low income or feel they could not afford a private attorney if they had a legal problem, and who reside in one of the participating counties or reservations in Minnesota: Aitkin County, Bois Forte Reservation, Carlton County, Cass County, Cook County, Crow Wing County, Fond du Lac Reservation, Grand Portage Reservation, Itasca County, Kanabec County, Koochiching County, Lake County, Leech Lake Reservation, Mille Lacs Reservation, Pine County and St. Louis County.
Surveys will take approximately 30 minutes and will be conducted over the phone. The information participants share is confidential and will be used to evaluate and expand legal aid services in Northeastern Minnesota. All participants will receive a $10 gift card for their time, which comes courtesy of LASNEM.
For questions or to participate, contact Jon Bredeson, MA, and Michele Statz, PhD, University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth, 218-726-6069. The survey will be conducted until Feb. 1, 2019.