Children's Minnesota in the News

Jennifer Olson, COO of Children’s Minnesota, shares insights in leading Twin Cities health care forum

Two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, executives from the largest health care organizations in the Twin Cities came together to talk about the future of health care and the challenges ahead. Jennifer Olson, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Children’s Minnesota, participated as one of five panelists in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Health Care Update to provide insights on various topics, from workforce shortages to ongoing diversity efforts and the current mental health crisis among kids.

Other panelists included:

  • Dana Erickson, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
  • Lisa Shannon, president and CEO of Allina Health.
  • Troy Simonson, CEO of Revo Health.
  • Rahul Koranne, president and CEO of Minnesota Hospital Association.

During the discussion, Olson stressed the importance of addressing the current mental health crisis, especially among kids.

“Our community is drastically under-resourced for caring for those kids,” Olson said.

She also emphasized that diversity, equity and inclusion have to be ingrained deeply within all organizations, and especially health care. Noting the significant portion of patients of color at Children’s Minnesota, she shared Children’s Minnesota’s aggressive goals to hire more employees of color to reflect the patient population.

In the last two years, Children’s Minnesota increased its staff diversity by 5%, with a goal to reach 34% employees of color by 2024. She also noted the need for more transparency about this and other equity metrics.

“For some consumers, costs might absolutely be the No. 1 thing that was top of mind for them that they want transparency on. And that’s how they’re making a quality decision,” Olson said. “For others, it might be the equity measures, and whether or not they can see a provider who looks like them.”

Read more insights from the panelists here.

Dina Elrashidy