Maile-Vang Image

AUGUST 2019 MNCHWA Community Health Worker Spotlight

Maile (My-Lee) Vang

Community Health Worker-Program Assistant, Minnesota Community Care

What do you do as a CHW?

What I do as a community health worker is a work to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the people I serve in the community. Most notably, I focus on outreach, education, counseling, and social support to help out the community, and by boosting the communication between the health care facilities in the area identifying the different health-related issues that exist.

I get to assist in developing tools, strategies, and resources that can help with those problems. Therefore, I coordinate and partner with community agencies and health experts in the area to improve the health and well-being of a community. Helping families understand and improve their access to insurance, food, health care, and even housing stability.

What has been your favorite part of being a CHW?

My favorite part of being a community health worker has got to conducting health and social services outreach. I like to meet new people in community and community agencies. I love to strike up a conversation to learn about how much the people in the community get involved and currently hear what other agencies are doing to bring a positive impact. To me, that’s the beginning of a great day already because at the end of the day. I get to take back smiles, laughter, information, resources, and friendship.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I love watching horror movies! Yes, I get scared too, and sometimes I tend to overdo it, but for some reason, I like a good scare. Whether its broad daylight or taking a lunch break, you might catch me watching a scary movie.  


I have had the honor to work and volunteer with the Hmong Health Care Professional Coalition (HHCPC) during the past year to talk about Influenza immunization. One of the most concerns with families is getting their children flu shots for the cold season. I encounter a Karen family trying to get flu shots, but they have many doubts about it because a family relative has passed away from it. I was prepared for situations like this to happen, so I had to sit the family down and speak to them about things that can be helpful if the family was vaccinated.

I provided visuals of families getting vaccinated and before/after to see how they look and feel. I showed the family myself getting a flu shot from the nurses because they take excellent care of patients. I explained that influenza could be prevented by washing hands when coughing or sneezing. Towards not to share too many things when someone else is sick or not feeling well. I gave the family apowerpoint translated into Karen along with brochures and visuals of how the parents can teach the children how to prevent influenza.

The family even saw other families coming in and out getting the flu shot. Sadly, I wasn’t able to win the family over. The family couldn’t make a decision and left with the information about a week later, I had another flu vaccination event I attended. I was helping families fill out paperwork and educating on what the vaccine does. I turned around and saw the Karen family sitting at the tables and filling out the forms. I walked up to them just talking, letting them know how glad I am to see them. I was also happy that they understand how important it is to get the flu vaccination. I went over to see the information with them again and sat there to make them feel comfortable knowing that this is a welcoming environment. In the end, the family received their flu shot, and I continued assisting families in getting their flu shots.

Contact Maile

LaTrese VanBuren headshot

JULY 2019 MNCHWA Community Health Worker Spotlight

LaTrese VanBuren-Thompson

Community Health Worker, University of Minnesota Physicians Broadway Family Medicine, 2019 MNCHWA Leadership Development Institute Graduate, and a CHW Mentor for the La’Tanya Black Alumni Mentoring Scholarship (LBAMS.)

LaTrese VanBuren-Thompson has over 16 years of bridging the gap in the medical field.  Before becoming a Community Health Worker, LaTrese was a Certified Medical Assistant of 14 years and the desire to help her community led her to become a Community Health Worker.

Interview with BMNCHWA Community Engagement Specialist, LaTanya Black

What do you do as a CHW?
I serve in a Family Practice clinic where I help socially isolated and diabetic patients get connected with resources that will help improve their health and isolation.  

What has been your favorite part of being a CHW?
My favorite part has got to be building the trusting relationships I have with my patients.  Starting as complete strangers, and now being a part of their lives and impacting them is such a positive way.  Awesome!

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I really enjoy doing NOTHING!  I am always running around, socializing, and being of service however, my heart is at home, relaxing in peace and quiet.

LaTrese, far right, at the 2019 MNCHWA Leadership Development Institute Reunion Luncheon.

LaTrese’s Work as a Community Health Worker: In Her Own Words

I once worked with a “Socially Isolated” young man who feared leaving his home; doctors diagnosed him with a form of agoraphobia.

This prevented him from becoming better connected with his community.  During one of our scheduled appointments he expressed he would like to set a goal of becoming more physically active, but didn’t know what he could do in his home. 

There was a beautiful pond in back of his home, after a few visits and establishing trust, I asked if he would feel comfortable walking around the pond with me once a week. 

He said yes! During one of our walks, half way around the pond I pointed out a YMCA right across from where we were standing, this young man did not know this YMCA was in his backyard

(I had always known this, as my grandmother lives in the building next door and this is my community!)

He agreed to walk a little further to explore it. We took a tour of the YMCA. When we met the next month, I discovered he applied for a membership to this YMCA and now goes every Wednesday with a relative! AMAZING!! 

Contact LaTrese   (612) 310-8321 • Mobile

Executive Search

The Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance (Alliance) is seeking a .8 FTE contracted Executive Director. The Executive Director must be able to provide both strategic vision and strong operational management of a state-wide nonprofit organization. The mission of the Alliance is, “Build community and systems capacity for better health through the integration of community health worker strategies.”

2019 Conference Materials Available Online

Download presentations and materials from the 2019 Annual Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance Statewide Conference