Axis Medical Center was founded by Dr. Crispin Semakula, an endocrinologist of Tanzanian origin, in collaboration with a group of health care professionals and community leaders, in order to serve Minneapolis’ burgeoning refugee and immigrant community within an environment highly adapted to the linguistic needs and cultural sensitivities of the patient population. The clinic opened its doors as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit primary care community health center in 2008, and quickly became the go-to clinic for Somali and other East African Minnesotans. This population continues to grow and its healthcare needs grow accordingly.
To assist this diverse community make the transition from underserved population with a poor understanding of how to seek and utilize health care to a well-served population educated in health care and wellness, Axis brings unique cultural and linguistic resources. The Axis medical, service, and education staff represents the broad ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity of the population it serves, with years of experience working with this population and earned credibility in the community. Axis outreach programs include free vaccinations and health screenings, diabetes prevention classes, smoking cessation and nutrition coaching, interfaith dialogue, and physical & mental health services at homeless facilities across the Twin Cities.

More recently, AXIS has launched initiatives to expand health care service among the area’s Hispanics, homeless, and uninsured/underinsured. Axis recognizes its responsibility as the major health provider for the underserved in Minneapolis’ Stevens Square and northern Whittier Neighborhood, identified as a Health Provider Shortage Area (HPSA) and a community that conforms to a number of Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P) indicators (“those with economic barriers, or cultural and/or linguistic access barriers to primary medical care services”) including a high level of poverty (32.7%) and uninsured (15.9%). Because of these barriers, many of Axis’s patients simply have nowhere else to turn for health care.

Axis has offered services at its main site near the corner of Nicollet & Franklin Avenues for more than ten years, in the heart of an astonishingly diverse neighborhood of mixed residence and business, ethnic shops and restaurants, cultural, religious, and community centers, and parks and recreation. Axis’s new additional service site on Lake Street lies adjacent to the Karmel Square and Karmel Market, the largest Somali commercial complex in Minnesota. A few blocks to the East lies thriving Hispanic residential and commercial centers, including the Mercado Central and Midtown Global Market. An additional advantage of the Lake Street facility is that it is adjoined to a Somali-owned pharmacy that serves 50% of our existing costumers’ pharmaceutical needs. Axis has established this site as an Urgent Care facility in collaboration with the pharmacy, with weekend and after-hours medical-pharmaceutical services.
in the lead

Axis Medical Center is the fastest growing Community Health Center in Minnesota because for eleven years we have been learning how to best provide culturally—and linguistically—appropriate services in a community that endures unique barriers to health and wellness, including recent immigration and low levels of insurance, employment, education, and English proficiency. Our team, our Board of Directors, and our partner organizations, all belong to the families and communities we serve.

Staff Members

Clinic Rooms

Axis Patients

Annual Visits