Advocacy team

As the advocacy team at Children’s Minnesota, it’s our job to bring health home through active community engagement and strong public policy advocacy. Our work is founded in the understanding that health is largely driven by factors outside of clinical care, a respect for community knowledge and a belief that every child deserves to be healthy and well.  As a result, we work hard to influence federal, state and local public policy decisions and building relationships with organizations and people who share an interest in supporting children and families.

How you can help

You don’t have to work at Children’s Minnesota to help us advocate for children, patients and families. Learn how you can be a voice for children.

Meet our advocacy team

Take a minute to get to know the members of our team:

Jessica Block, Manager, community health programs

Jessica supports Children’s Minnesota community presence and the community voice elements of the advocacy and health policy work, while also providing expert guidance and project management support. Jessica’s work includes three main areas of focus: 1) clinically‑aligned, community health oriented projects and programs, 2) community engagement and events, and 3) communications and network-building.

Prior to joining Children’s Minnesota in 2014, Jessica was an elementary educator. She made a switch to join the health care industry in order to pursue her passion for advancing health equity, reducing health disparities and positively impacting the health and well‑being of children and families in Minnesota through advocacy and community engagement. Jessica’s interests outside of work include traveling, cooking and spending time with friends and family. She considers herself a life-long learner and enjoys trying new things.

Jessica holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Winona State University.

Kjelsey Polzin, Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program manager

Kjelsey joined the advocacy team in 2017 and enjoys being an advocate for all children in Minnesota!  She graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in Community Health. She began her career at Children’s Minnseota as an intern for the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program and was hooked. She is now the program manager for the federally funded statewide program that ensures all children in our state receive the best appropriate care in a health emergency. The mission is to reduce child and youth mortality, and morbidity resulting from severe illness or trauma. In partnership with the EMS Regulatory Board, EMSC works to fulfill the federal requirements of the grant. The program has an advisory committee that spans across Minnesota including EMS agencies, rural and urban hospitals, the state’s poison center, school nurses and family representation.  Kjelsey’s passion for volunteering and health/wellness has guided her to be a Hands Joining Hands co-chair and also advocacy’s Wellness Champion.

Additionally, she loves hanging out with her husband, family and friends, traveling, being active, exploring the great outdoors (when the weather is nice), and being an auntie to her four nephews and three nieces.

Megan Precht, Community affairs specialist

Megan provides foundational support to Children’s Minnesota advocacy, community and health equity strategic priorities. She works to execute the tactical elements of plans, programs and initiatives from the broad and diverse body of Advocacy Department work that includes external community and advocacy activities as well as internally-oriented, clinically-aligned community health programs. Megan has a passion for public health, partnership building and developing projects that address health equity and have measureable impact.

Prior to joining Children’s Minnesota in April, 2018, Megan was the community engagement coordinator at KARE 11. During her 5+ years, she managed KARE 11’s media partnerships, community initiatives and worked to continuously build relationships with non-profit organizations. When she isn’t working, Megan loves to read, travel, try new recipes and take advantage of all of the outdoor activities that the Twin Cities has to offer.

Ms. Precht will be receiving her Master of Public Health degree from St. Catherine University in May, 2018. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Education from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in 2011.

Pam Ross, Director, community health programs

Pam leads programs at the intersection of clinical practice and community health. Her work is closely aligned with Children’s Minnesota value-based care initiatives, and she partners with teams across Children’s Minnesota to improve the health of children and families. Key initiatives include Community Connect (a social determinants of health intervention) and Children’s Healthcare-Legal Partnership. Before joining the team in 2015, Pam worked at Allina Health and UnitedHealth Group, leading several initiatives around community benefit, community programming and evaluation, and community-focused grantmaking.

Along with her family, Pam aspires to take advantage of all that the Twin Cities has to offer – from great music, festivals, plays, museums, and restaurants to our amazing parks and lakes. Pam received her undergraduate degree from Colgate University and both her law degree and Master in Health Administration from Tulane University.