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Carolyn Bogott: Kari Hall a welcoming face

Any time you enter Mayo Clinic Health Systems-Austin, your visit or stay is enhanced by the greeters at the door, the information desk volunteers, and often by others who are in place to help make you as comfortable as possible.   

In charge of that element of patient care here and in Albert Lea is Kari Hall with the impressive title of Supervisor for Access and Navigation Specialists, Volunteer and Patient Services.

Kari Hall

Kari grew up in Adams, in a family who volunteered often. She joined in that activity for church events, mission trips, Legion and other civic activities. She said she followed the example of her parents and friends and found giving her time to others was very rewarding.

This interest in helping people led her to a degree in law enforcement. However, when the volunteer coordinator position for Mayo in Austin and Albert Lea came open, that seemed like a good fit. She especially loves the interaction with the volunteers. They come from all walks of life, but have in common the same feeling she has, that giving to others adds meaning and purpose to living.

Kari works with the Auxiliary organization to accomplish the many services provided to patients and visitors. Volunteers are available at the information desk to give directions or to accompany patients to their appointments. They also deliver flowers, make calls for patient transport, push wheelchairs for patients, and respond to other calls for assistance. Currently they may also assist with COVID screening.  In pre COVID times they also had a coffee cart to offer coffee to those hospital patients whose diets permitted it, and to visitors.

Also, before COVID, some volunteers were trained to give non therapeutic hand massages, “Caring Hands,” to inpatients and to those coming for outpatient surgery.

Other services provided by volunteers are acting as liaisons between medical personnel and outpatient surgery patients to support them and those who accompany them.  Newborn caps are knit by volunteers, who help with blood drives and currently are assisting with the COVID vaccination clinic.

In 2019, 44 volunteers gave 5,932 hours to our medical center.

The auxiliary also has periodic fundraisers and has made contributions of equipment to many of the departments at the medical complex, and also has supplied Beanie Babies to be given to young children having surgery.

Kari’s love for people and her generosity of spirit strengthen her work administering this part of our fine medical care. Her philosophy that “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is an excellent rule by which to live, especially for her volunteers. Thank you to Kari Hall for her work enhancing our medical center experience!

For more information about the Austin Branch of AAUW, contact Sue Grove  sue.grove@riverland.edu  or Carolyn Bogott  csbogott@charter.net. The American Association of University Women, now AAUW, is open to anyone who has completed a two-year degree or beyond.  AAUW welcomes men who support our objectives and there are student memberships available. AAUW has been empowering women since 1881. We support equity and education for women. Scholarships are offered, as well as help in litigation in cases dealing with sex discrimination.  We are the most important and highly respected research and lobbying organization dealing with women’s issues such as equal opportunity and job equality.