In large organizations like Children’s Minnesota, it’s easy for people to work in silos, unaware of what other teams are doing, even if it might benefit them to know. That’s one reason why, in the spring of 2022, we launched our Collective for Community Health.
What is the Collective for Community Health at Children’s Minnesota?
Much of what determines a child’s health depends on how and where that child lives, learns and plays. So in addition to working inside our clinics and hospitals to help children be as healthy as possible, we also work out in the community, addressing health disparities so kids thrive no matter where they live, learn and play.
This work can’t be done alone. That’s why we collaborate with community groups who share similar goals. The work also can’t be relegated to a corner somewhere inside Children’s Minnesota. It needs to permeate our entire organization. And it does:
- Our advocacy team champions policies that benefit children and families.
- Our Community Connect team screens patients for social needs and connects families with resources like food, transportation, housing and legal services via our Healthcare Legal Partnership.
- Our kid experts partner with community groups on efforts and events aimed at improving asthma, mental health, vaccination rates and public safety.
- We also have a formal process for listening to community members, and we’ve launched a Community Advisory Council to help guide our community initiatives.
With all this varied work, you see how our teams could potentially become siloed. The Collective for Community Health helps anchor this work across Children’s Minnesota, keeping staff and partnerships with community groups more connected and coordinated, helping us help kids more efficiently and effectively.
Making a difference
The Collective is just over a year old, but already it’s making a difference.
Advancing policies to benefit kids and families
During the 2023 Minnesota legislative session, we partnered with community organizations and associations to advance policies that benefit kids and families. Two examples:
- Free school breakfast and lunch for all Minnesota students.
- The passage of the CROWN Act, which protects Minnesotans of all races and ethnicities against discrimination based on hair texture and style.
Next Step violence prevention program
Kids and families are facing an epidemic of violence in our communities, so in 2023, with the guidance of our trauma team, we joined the Next Step violence prevention program. Next Step is a hospital-based program that connects survivors of violence with resources and support to interrupt the cycle of recurrent violence.
The Collective is partnering with the United Health Foundation and our Children’s Minnesota Health Equity team on a three-year, $3 million grant to address pediatric disparities related to asthma, vaccinations and mental health for underserved children and families in the Twin Cities. The initiative will provide culturally responsive health interventions with community partners, as well as local public school districts. The program includes training for school health staff via the Clinic in the Classroom program.
One of our values at Children’s Minnesota is “joining together.” We’re more effective when our Children’s Minnesota teams join together with each other, and with like-minded community groups, to help kids thrive.
Our Collective for Community Health is the glue that is helping us connect and coordinate. Thank you for a great first year.