Partnering for Health Equity: Progress, Practice and Policy

Bringing together CHWs, Certified Navigators & Outreach Workers, their employers and other stakeholders interested in healthier communities for a day of learning, networking and partnership-building to advance health equity including health access.  ASL interpreting provided.

June 5, 2014 from 7:30 a. m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Commons Hotel, 615 Washington Avenue SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Register online here. 

Download exhibit guidelines here.


Our one-day statewide conference, held in conjunction with the Minnesota Public Health Association (MPHA) Annual Conference, will build our knowledge, capacity and momentum to work together to achieve healthier communities for all. We’ll share lessons and best practices to help achieve health equity and improve health access through the engagement of community health workers including community health representatives, promotoras, certified navigators and outreach workers.

Our MPHA partnership means that Alliance and MPHA conference registrants will participate in a joint opening plenary on the morning of June 5th and also be able to  attend breakouts from either conference planned for that half-day.  Our Alliance conference will continue into the afternoon with a buffet luncheon, plenary program, and breakouts.  We will close with an awards ceremony and call to action.

Conference Objectives 

  1. Recognize how the work of CHWs and navigators helps advance health equity including access to affordable coverage.
  2. Understand major federal and state health reform policies and their potential impact on the outlook for CHW and navigator roles.
  3. Identify best practices, lessons learned and financing options by programs that engage CHW and outreach and enrollment services.
  4. Describe CHW education, employer types and career pathways.
  5. Identify research and success factors for next-stage work.

Conference Location and Parking…The Commons Hotel, Minneapolis

The conference will be held at The Commons Hotel at 615 Washington Avenue SE in Minneapolis on the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota.  For directions, call the hotel at 612-379-888 or visit:

Parking may be found in the adjacent Washington Avenue parking ramp @$2.50 per hour with a maximum of $12/day and at other nearby parking ramps and lots with lower daily rates. The hotel may also be reached by public transportation and bicycle. University of Minnesota East Bank campus map for visitor parking options.

Accommodations…Special room rate applies through May 5, 2014

For hotel reservations, please contact The Commons Hotel directly at 612-379-8888 or toll-free at 1-800-822-6757.   A limited number of hotel rooms are available at the special conference rate of $169 guest deluxe single/double per night (plus applicable state and local taxes) for the night of June 4, 2014 for conference attendees.

Please request the University rate of $169/night and reference the following: room block name is MPHA/Boynton code #060414MPHA.  In order to take advantage of this discounted rate, room reservations must be made no later than May 5, 2014.

Cancellation of a room reservation is your responsibility.  Please review the hotel’s cancellation policy prior to making a reservation.

How to Register…Lock in an early bird rate by May 5!

Early bird rates apply for all registration categories: CHWs/navigators: $25; students: $15; stakeholders: $75: and afternoon-only: $35.  There are two different ways to register and pay:

  • Register and pay online here. Online registration features immediate confirmation of your registration via email and follow-up reminders from the Minnesota Public Health Association which is serving as our conference registrar. Credit card payment is required for online registration.
  • Register by mail and pay by check. You may pay by check by making your payment to the Minnesota CHW Alliance and noting “2014 Conference” in the memo line.  Mail your check to: Portico Healthnet, Attn:  Bob Hinschberger, 2610 University Avenue West, #550, St. Paul, MN 55114. Please include the following information with your check:
    • Your Name
    • Organization
    • Address
    • Work or daytime phone
    • Email (needed for confirmation)
    • Registration type (CHW/navigator, student, stakeholder, afternoon-only)
    • Registration amount included

Regular rates go into effect on May 6 and pre-registration ends on May 28.  Please email any questions to Joan Cleary at the MN CHW Alliance at

Scholarships and Lodging Assistance…Applications due May 2

A limited  number of need-based registration scholarships are available for CHWs and Mnsure navigators upon application.  We will consider applications on a first come, first serve basis, one per organization.  Applications are due no later than May 2, 2014. Download the application here.

Need-based requests for lodging assistance for CHWs and MNsure navigators will be evaluated on a first come, first serve basis for those who reside at least 100 miles from the hotel location, one per organization.  Applications are due no later than May 2, 2014.

Download and complete the scholarship and lodging assistance form available on our conference web pages at or contact

Cancellation Policy:  Due to heavily discounted rates and the short time horizon for our conference, we regret that we are unable to refund registration fees.

Continuing Education Credits

Continuing education units, contact hours and recertification credits are available through the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.   Please contact Maggie Truax by email at if you have questions or are interested in receiving a certificate.

Program Schedule

Please note that the titles and time slots of specific breakout sessions may change as we finalize our programSeveral breakouts are under development and will be added.

7:30-8:15 a.m.: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:15-8:30 a.m.: Opening Introductions and Welcome

8:30-9:30 a.m.: Plenary Session:  Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota, Melanie Peterson Hickey, Interim Director, Center for Health Equity, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). This session will provide a brief overview of the new Center for Health Equity.  The new Interim Director will describe the Center and its work overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the MDH report “Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota.”  She will identify the team, next steps and how people can be involved with the Center’s work.

9:30-9:45 a.m.: Break

9:45-10:45 a.m: Concurrent Sessions

Race, Racism and Medicine, Stephen Nelson, MD, Children’s Hospital. Many factors play a role in racial health care disparities.  These will be addressed with an emphasis on racism and health provider bias.

Cultural Groups and Health, Niccu Taffodi. This session will discuss strategies for engaging immigrant and refugee populations in linguistically and culturally-appropriate health education and strategies for engaging cultural communities in creating a community voice to impact health.

Accountable Communities for Health, Renee Frauendienst, Stearns County Human Services, Elizabeth Auch, Countryside Public Health, Marie Maes-Voreis, Health Care Homes, MDH. This session will provide an overview and update on Accountable Communities for Health through the Minnesota Accountable Health Model and share perspectives of public health partnering for public health improvement.

CHW Field Basics I: CHW Scope of Practice & Statewide Curriculum, Anne Ganey, South Central College, Julie Mumm, St. Catherine University. Minnesota is recognized as one of the nation’s leading states for CHW field development with a defined scope of practice and a statewide standardized, competency-based CHW curriculum based in higher education.  This session will focus on the CHW role, its contributions to addressing health equity and the Triple Aim, as well as core competencies and the content of our state’s CHW curriculum which leads to a certificate recognized by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Addressing Healthy Housing Disparities, Rachelle Manenteau Peleska, Sustainable Resources Center. Healthy housing is a key determinant of health.  Substandard and unsafe housing contributes to asthma, lead poisoning, cancer and injuries with disproportionate burden on low income communities and people of color.  This session will describe healthy housing and provide best practices for home visitors including community health workers.

Navigator Roundtables: Lessons Learned from MNsure Outreach and Enrollment. Organized by Minnesota Assn for Community Health Clinics and Portico Healthnet. Over 200,000 individuals have gained health coverage through the roll-out of MNsure our state’s health insurance exchange.   As the face, heart, and hands of MNsure, outreach workers and certified navigators across Minnesota have played a vital role in helping members of their communities learn about and enroll in a system with well-publicized challenges. This interactive session will provide a forum for sharing experience, best practices and lessons to date.   The outcome will be a strong set of collective reflections and recommendations for future improvements.

11: 00a.m. – 12 Noon: Concurrent Sessions

Accessing Primary Care: Partnership Success Story, Organized by Jeri Peters, UCare. This case study will focus on a successful CHW intervention developed and evaluated in partnership by UCare and Wellshare International with a focus on emergency department use by Somali immigrants

Next Up: Helping Consumers Understand How to Use Their Health Coverage, Organized by Minnesota Assn of Community Health Centers and Portico Healthnet. Gaining access to health coverage is critical but only part of the solution.  What’s also key is knowing how to use that coverage to access care and stay healthy.  This session is designed to help navigators educate enrollees on using their health benefits, accessing primary care and building their capacity for better health.

Health Care Home Spotlight: Early Lessons and Results from CHW Integration, Jean Gunderson, Mayo Health System, Beth Rogers, University of Minnesota. Mayo Health System is one of five state-certified health care home programs known to incorporate CHWs on their teams.  As health care homes are called to expand community engagement and improve outcomes through patient-centered, team-based care, learn about the impact of integrating CHW strategies through this case study.

CHW Field Basics II:  Financing Strategies, Panel Discussion moderated by Will Wilson, MDH. Sustainable financing is needed to extend the reach and benefits of CHW strategies.  Panelists will discuss coverage of CHW services by Minnesota Health Care Programs (Medical Assistance and PMAP) and other mechanisms for support.

CHW Leadership for Health Equity, Anita Buel, CHW Certificate Holder, Minnesota Deaf CHW Project, Marie Tran, CHW Certificate Holder, Minneapolis Visiting Nurse Association. This session will begin with an overview of community leadership styles and approaches followed by a panel discussion by CHW leaders who will share their perspectives and stories.

12:15 p.m. Buffet Lunch Available

12:30-2:00 p.m.:  Plenary Luncheon Program:  Panel Discussion with Audience Q &A. Alfred Babington-Johnson, President and CEO, Stairstep Foundation, Paurvi Bhatt, Senior Director for Global Health Access,The Medtronic Foundation, Pam White, Founder and President, Health Empowerment (HER) Clinic. (Confirmed to date…additional panelists will join the discussion.)

2:15-3:30 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions

Looking Ahead: Plans & Priorities for MNsure Outreach & Navigation, Christina Wessel and David Van Sant, MNsure. With open enrollment scheduled to begin November 15, 2014, MNsure representatives will provide an informative update and discuss plans related to outreach and navigation.

SIM Emerging Workforce Integration Initiative, Will Wilson, MDH. The Minnesota Emerging Professions Integration Grant Program fosters the integration of emerging professions into the workforce in roles that support the broad goals of Minnesota’s State Innovation Model (SIM) related to providing coordinated care, across settings, for complex patients, populations and models of accountable care.   This session will provide information on the Program’s objectives, funding and technical assistance targeted to Minnesota’s CHW workforce integration.

Policy Roadmap for Health Equity: Outlook and Opportunities, Michael Scandrett, Minnesota Safety Net Coalition. With the continued roll-out of state and federal health reform initiatives, this session will provide an overview of key health equity policies and opportunities including implications for CHW integration.

Settings for CHW Practice: Roles, Qualifications & Impacts, Panel Discussion organized by Donn Vargas, Northpoint Health and Wellness. Nationally and in Minnesota, CHWs have successfully helped patients manage chronic conditions, develop healthier lifestyles, improve maternal and child health, increase rates of preventive screenings and improve access to and use of health care and social services through outreach, enrollment and patient education.  Panelists from a variety of CHW employment settings including primary care and public health will discuss specific CHW roles, qualifications and contributions to health equity and the Triple Aim.

3:30-3:45 p.m.: Break

3:45-4:30 p.m.: Final Plenary: Awards and Action Steps

Based on entries submitted and reviewed, the following honors will be conferred:

We will also invite the reading or performance of selected navigator/outreach worker entries on the topic “What makes for outstanding outreach and enrollment assistance?” Download the entry guidelines.