Grow Your Knowledge: Breastfeeding Workshops for Community Health Workers

Announcing Breastfeeding Workshops for Community Health Workers

A series of three workshops designed for Community Health Workers (CHWs). Learn from experts and CHWs about the importance of breastfeeding. Grow your knowledge and ability to help the families you serve. 

Email Us to Register

The Nature of Breastfeeding

July 13, 2020 | 12 to 1:30 p.m. | Via Zoom

Learn the lifelong health benefits, how to help Moms overcome difficulties getting started and gain cultural perspectives on the importance of breastfeeding.

Speakers: Ann Oswood, Nurse Midwife, Lactation Consultant & Foua Choua Khang, CHW

The Real World of Breastfeeding

Date & Time: TBA | Via Zoom

The role of breastfeeding in families and culture, breastfeeding and mental health and during emergencies, the role of the CHW in empowering women to breastfeed.

Speakers: Dr. LaVonne Moore, Nurse Midwife, Lactation Consultant; Shashana Craft, Indigenous breastfeeding counselor, Mental Health Home Visitor; Foua Choua Khang, CHW

Breastfeeding and Getting Back to Work or School

Date & Time: TBA | Via Zoom

What does it take to breastfeed while returing to work or school? How do CHWs empower women to advocate for themselves to continue breastfeeding? Pumping and equipment how tos. Cultural perspectives and resources.

Speakers: Ann Oswood, Nurse Midwife, Lactation Consultant & LaSherion McDonald, CHW


To register email atganey@gmail.com.

Certificates of Completion are available for CHWs.

George Floyd Mural outside Cup Foods

CHW Leadership Reflected Through a Leadership Program Session

Who CHWs Are and Why They Bring So Much Value to Healthcare and the World 

Last Thursday, May 28th, CHW Foua Choua Khang facilitated a session on the topic of policy work at the Alliance’s CHW Leadership Development Program. Foua is a CHW Program Director at Hmong American Partnership and a strong CHW leader. 

Foua started with a moment of silence and reflection on the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. She then asked the multiracial, multiethnic group of 16 CHWs from across the state if anyone wanted to share feelings and thoughts related to the event.

Justice for George Floyd as well as the need to address racism and commitment to the diverse communities they serve were themes that threaded through the personal stories and heartfelt comments that followed.

One CHW shared that her child is good friends with one of the witnesses to the crime and this has consumed their life since the incident happened. So many emotions! CHWs discussed the need to prepare their children for how to act in situations they should not have to face; how it robs them of innocence.

Another CHW shared the perspective that the tragedy is widespread. She said, “None of those officers went to work that morning thinking they were going to kill someone. They all have families. They have kids that are looking at them wondering about this. They have parents they have to tell about this. It is not one family – it is five families who will be living with this. What they did is not right. They hurt their families and communities as well as Floyd, his family and community.”

The CHW participants thanked Foua for recognizing the elephant in the (Zoom) room, giving them space to talk about it and connect on an issue that impacts them and the communities they serve.

It was a demonstration of CHW character: compassion; a comprehensive view; amplifying voices directly connected to the community that serves as ground zero in this most recent tragedy.

The class moved on with an exercise in negotiation and policy. “The point is to win,” Foua emphasized as she gave instructions and the class broke up into small groups. When the CHW’s returned together to describe how they had “won” in their given scenario, it turned out that every group’s focus was on the common good. To each group, “winning” meant examining ways to help the most people without abandoning the rest. It became a shared mission, and everyone was considered valuable. They thought about future generations and the ways their hypothetical response would be impactful for years to come. They looked for ways everyone could win.

This is not because they are in a leadership class. This is because they are CHWs.

CHWs view the world through a lens of compassion, trust, community, ethics, and win-win solutions. They consider the here and now, and the generations of people who will come after us. This is what we mean when we speak of the “CHW Character.”

These are the leaders we need. 

April 2020 MNCHWA Spotlight: Mohamed Ibrahim

Mohamed Ibrahim

Community Health Worker

Mayo Clinic Health System

I was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. I have a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Benadir University in Somalia and have worked in trauma and emergency surgery including service overseas with the International Committee of Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.  Now I live in Mankato with my lovely wife Samsam. I have three boys, Hamza, Hisham and Hilal. I love soccer, reading and volunteering.

I earned my CHW certificate from Rochester Community and Technical College and currently work as a CHW in Mayo Clinic Health System where I serve as a central link between patients and health and social service providers, conducting home visits, facilitating health literacy workshops, and providing culturally-responsive interventions to address Somali health disparities.  In addition to that, I am studying for the US medical license examination test to continue the journey of helping underserved communities as a doctor.

In addition to my professional role, I am highly engaged in the greater Mankato community serving on several area committees and boards, including Blue Earth County Mental Health Task Force, Mayo Clinic Community Cancer Research Advisory Committee, Mayo Clinic Health System Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Mayo Clinic Health System Family Medicine Quality Committee. I am a founding member of a developing grassroots group, Linking for Good, a committed group of local Somalis seeking to build bridges between the Somali and the greater Mankato community.  I also serve in a leadership role as one of the Imams at the St. Peter Islamic Center and Dar Abi Baker at Mankato.

In addition to our daily work to provide the Somali community in the Mankato-St. Peter area with information on the COVID-19 virus and Minnesota’s response, we have been doing many things.  These include:

  1. We have set up two What’sApp groups for Somali community members—one for Mankato and North Mankato and one for St. Peter.  You may already know this—community members move around between these communities.  A mom may live in St. Peter while here daughter lives in Mankato. This is often the case so there is a lot of movement back and forth.
  2. We set up a free conference call listening session to share information with the community and answer questions. We will continue to use free conference calls for meetings and for educating the community.
  3. We have identified people in housing complexes in Mankato, North Mankato and St. Peter where many Somali families live to share information with families in the building. We use What’sApp and free conference calls to inform these key people.

What’sApp and free conference calls are good tools because people can ask questions.  We find people have a lot of questions because they know something critical is happening, but they are not getting the information in Somali they need to understand. They have a lot of questions.  What’sApp is very simple and used by young and old alike.