News from DHS for July 2021

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JULY 2021

News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Submit your nomination for a Commissioner's Award by Aug. 5

Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards

We're seeking nominations for the 2021 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards!

The awards recognize excellence and innovative work among human services providers, counties, tribes, advocacy groups and other organizations that work in partnership with DHS to serve Minnesotans. Submit your nomination by 5 p.m. Aug. 5 at

While individuals make marked differences in the lives of Minnesotans, these awards celebrate organizations.

Summer food aid on its way to Minnesota children

P-EBT sandwich graphic

About 385,000 Minnesota children will receive benefits to support healthy nutrition while school meal programs are on break.

Their families will receive over $170 million through a summer program recently approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This year’s Summer Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program supports food purchases for June through August, when school-age children who rely on free and reduced-price school meals may lack access to healthy foods. Summer P-EBT benefits will also go to children ages 5 and younger enrolled in nutrition and economic assistance programs.

Read more in the department's July 16 news release.

Refugees’ contributions strengthen Minnesota

2021 Outstanding Refugee Awards 2

Refugees bolster Minnesota’s communities economically and socially, and this month, several Minnesotans who arrived with refugee status will receive some much-deserved recognition for their contributions.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services recognized 22 individuals – 10 from 2020 and 12 from 2021 – at the Outstanding Refugee Awards on July 19 in ceremonies at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.

Read more in the department's July 19 news release.

Photos from the event are posted on Facebook:
2021 Outstanding Refugee Awards
2020 Outstanding Refugee Awards

In social media

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Communities of color face an added level of stigma and discrimination when seeking mental health care. This #MMHAM, let’s break down stigma so no one struggles in silence. #NotAlone

July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to emphasize the vision of equal access to care for all. Bebe Moore Campbell was an author, advocate and co-founder of the urban Los Angeles branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She died in 2006, but her work lives on. Visit to learn more.

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Cynthia MacDonald named assistant commissioner


Commissioner Jodi Harpstead named Cynthia MacDonald assistant commissioner for Health Care and state Medicaid director, effective July 26.

MacDonald worked for DHS in the past and went on to work in nearly every facet of the health care system, from the private sector to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where she worked on implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

Market Bucks program for low-income Minnesotans wins state funding. Market Bucks, a statewide program that offers incentives to low-income Minnesotans to buy produce from farmers markets, has fended off fears that it might run out of funding this month. Read more in a July 8 Star Tribune article.

Teens in foster care will go to college for free, under new state program. Minnesota is hoping to make higher education more attainable with a new grant program starting in fall 2022 to cover college costs for young adults currently or formerly in foster care. Read more in a July 13 Minnesota Reformer article.

Traditional Healing for Native American Communities. 
Traditional healing is a relatively new program. The nature of traditional healing is based upon knowledge and sacred ceremonies passed through the generations, carefully taught, and intrinsically linked to the respect of the communities. Read more in the Phoenix Spirit July/August issue.

Minnesota could get $337 million in settlement with opioid maker and distributors. The state’s spending from the agreement will be overseen by the state’s Opioid Epidemic Response Recovery Council. Read more in a July 21 Pioneer Press article.

DHS fact sheets

2021 legislative session fact sheets. Highlights of human services investments in Minnesota’s FY 2022-23 budget.

Two-year human services budget invests in Minnesotans (PDF)

Health care: Improving access and affordability (PDF)

Children and families: Investing in families’ well-being, increasing resources for providers and partners (PDF)

Behavioral health: Simplifying regulations, improving culturally informed care, expanding services (PDF)

Older adults and people with disabilities: Major influx of resources to boost programs and services (PDF)

Other fact sheets updated:

Elderly Waiver Program (PDF)

Safe Place for Newborns law keeps infants safe (PDF)

History of the Minnesota Family Investment Program (PDF)