Transition Leadership Update

March always brings the promise of warmer days ahead. It makes me feel hopeful and excited for sunshine and green grass!
 
My name is Cathy Weik and I chair the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance (MNCHWA) Board of Directors. When I’m not focused on the Alliance, I serve as the Sr. Vice President, Administration/Compliance Officer for Stratis Health.  Stratis Health has been a longtime partner of the Alliance and firmly believes in the power of integrating community health worker strategies into health care, public health and social service systems as a critical component of the solution that will positively impact the overall health and well-being of our communities. As many of you may already know, the Alliance entered into an agreement with Stratis Health last fall for “back office” administrative support and co-location that includes office space, access to conference rooms, technology and collaborative programming. This is exciting and provides a dedicated space for CHWs to come together to get work done. 
 
You may have seen LaTanya Black’s letter by now in which she announces her transition from Executive Director to Project Manager. The board fully supports LaTanya in her new role representing the Alliance as a community representative and subject matter expert. The Alliance is blessed with a strong team, which also includes Anne Ganey, MPH, who will continue her work with the Alliance leading projects and serving in the education and training role, as well as the many CHWs that have a long history and involvement with the Alliance.
 
During this period of transition, the Alliance’s Board of Directors has delegated the day-to-day operational responsibilities to the board’s executive committee (Vice Chair – Laura Guzman-Corrales, MPH, Healthy Communities Program Manager; Treasurer – Gary Oftedahl, MD; and Secretary – Kimberli Barker, Community Health Worker). I will serve as the main point of contact. The Alliance’s Executive Committee, along with the other board members, will ensure the Alliance successfully executes on its work and remains a viable and active community collaborator and partner in achieving the vision of equitable and optimal health outcomes for all communities.
 
All the best,

Cathy

Cathy Weik
Board Chair
Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance
cathy.weik@mnchwalliance.org

Executive Transition Announcement

A Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that I share my decision to step away from serving as the Executive Director for the MN Community Health Worker Alliance.  The decision in no way reflects my commitment to the organization or my intention to stay involved in a meaningful way.  Unfortunately, I have experienced continued health challenges related to a serious fall I took last fall. The challenges have been such that I do not feel I am able to give my complete focus and attention to the Executive Director role. 

While I won’t be serving as the Executive Director, I will continue to serve as a project manager and will represent the Alliance as a community representative and subject matter expert.

I am confident the work of the Alliance will continue without interruption as we stay engaged with partners that are helping fulfill the organization’s contractual obligations and mission.  Anne Ganey, MPH, continues her work with the Alliance leading projects and serving in the education and training role.  Our collaboration with Stratis Health remains strong as they provide our “back office” administrative support and co-location, this relationship has strengthened the Alliance’s internal capacity.   

During the period of transition, the Alliance’s Board of Directors has delegated the day-to-day operational responsibilities to the board’s executive committee.  Cathy Weik, Sr. VP Administration for Stratis Health serves as the Alliance’s Board Chair and she will serve as the main point of contact. The Alliance’s Executive Committee, along with the other board members, will ensure the Alliance successfully executes on its work and remains a viable and active community collaborator and partner in achieving the vision of equitable and optimal health outcomes for all communities.

I want to thank the Alliance for the fantastic opportunity and for appointing me as the first Community Health Worker to serve as the organization’s Executive Director. I have accomplished great things in my work with the Alliance and have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to grow professionally and personally.  I look forward to my continued work with the Alliance and know I am not saying goodbye, but rather, just changing the role from which I interact with each of you.

Until further notice, please direct your questions to Cathy Weik at cathy.weik@mnchwalliance.org.  

As always, the Alliance’s website is a wonderful source for answers to many of your questions. Please check this space for upcoming events and resources.

Best regards,

LaTanya

January Executive Director Message

Hello everyone, 

I’d like to start my first column of 2020 by thanking all of the Alliance’s partners, allies, stakeholders and funders as well as the Minnesota community health workers (MN CHWs) who supported our mission of building community and systems capacity for better health through the integration of CHW strategies in 2019. We honored the CHW motto, “Nothing About Us Without Us.” 

As I reflect over the past year, I am wowed by the growth of the Alliance. I am also very proud of our successful ventures and hard work.  Let me share a few of the Alliance’s many great accomplishments and activities in 2019: 
  
Minnesota Highlights

  • Moved the Alliance headquarters to new office space in Bloomington  
  • Provided our third leadership development institute training to 43 CHWs. We will offer the training to 60 CHWs from across the state beginning in Spring 2020—please see the article in this issue for more info and note that applications are due Feb 7, 2020
  • Launched our monthly CHW Spotlight and highlighted six MN CHWs working in various areas of health care
  • Organized and hosted a successful 2019 annual statewide conference and our second annual fundraiser breakfast 
  • Participated for the first time in MN Give to the Max Day 
  • Formed the Minnesota CHW Common Indicators Project as a subcommittee of our CHW Supervisors’ Roundtable and a regional affiliate of the national project
  • Began to explore CHW registry development under the leadership of the Alliance’s Research and Policy Committee
  • Welcomed new board members, tripling our number of CHWs on the board to six 
  • Engaged CHWs as lead group facilitators

National Activities

  • Attended the 2019 National Association of CHWs Conference in Las Vegas 
  • Presented a research poster on our CHW Leadership Development Institute at the 2019 APHA Annual Conference in Philadelphia
  • Represented our state as a 2019 National CHW Ambassador

As you can see, we had a very exciting and productive year. Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on our key strategic areas. I look forward to bringing new statewide partners and allies to this important work. Plus, I want to build on and expand program offerings related to Education and Training, Field Building, Partnerships and Outreach, and Public Policy.  By advancing CHW strategies and opportunities, we will help close gaps and promote health equity in our state. 

In closing, I’d like to thank all of our past, present and future partners and send my very best wishes your way as we begin 2020. Happy New Year from the MN Community Health Worker Alliance!

Kind regards,

LaTanya

LaTanya Black
Executive Director
Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance
latanya.black@mnchwalliance.org
651-500-9058

UCare Gift to Advance Health Access and Equity

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to share some wonderful news: UCare has provided the Alliance with a generous gift of $50,000 to advance health access and equity through CHW strategies!

In addition, UCare has supported the work of the Alliance for many years through board leadership. A number of years ago, a UCare executive served on our founding board. Currently, Ms. Jeri Peters, Vice-President of Clinical Services and Behavioral Health, serves on the Alliance board providing guidance and leadership and contributing to sound governance; essential in every well-run nonprofit organization.  

We are thrilled with the strategic investment by UCare that allows the Alliance to move ahead with several important priorities during 2019 including:  

Updating the standardized curriculum

We will convene a multi-disciplinary work group (faculty members, CHWs and community stakeholders) to comprehensively update the current curriculum framework with the latest resources and content.

Creation of a state-wide CHW registry

There are approximately 700 individuals who have completed the 14-credit program and are CHW certificate holders. Having a registry of certificate holders enables us to:

  • Survey CHWs and their employers as to future education and training needs;
  • Help with recruitment and retention in various regions in the state; and
  • More effectively promote and engage in public policy related to health equity.

Advance and promote CHWs as important public health resources

In the next few weeks, the Alliance will be actively advancing the field through:

  • Serving on the March 22 panel at the MPHA “Public Health Matters” Policy Forum at the New Brighton Community Center. The panel will discuss training and mentoring the next generation of community health professionals including community health workers. 
  • Sending our Community Engagement Specialist to the National CHW Conference in April: Unity 2019: “Community Health Workers – Unlocking the Door to Healthier Communities” which is also the launch of the National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW); and
  • Continuing the work of the Healthy Communities Task Force serving as a data repository and co-convener with CHW Solutions.

As a statewide leader and voice of CHWs, the Alliance relies on each of you to promote, participate, and financially support the important work of the Alliance ensuring improved health outcomes for all. We would love to hear from you.

Thank you and Happy Spring!!!  

Renae Oswald-Anderson, MPNA

Interim Executive Director

MN Community Health Worker Alliance

renae@mnchwalliance.org

roanderson@strategic-cc.com

651-387-1612