News from DHS for April 2022

Minnesota Department of Human Services logo


APRIL 2022

News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Report recommends actions to move needle on racial equity in Minnesota’s Medicaid program

Dr. Nathan Chomilo preferred photo

A new DHS report calls for specific changes in Minnesota’s Medicaid program to improve racial equity and health outcomes in the state, particularly for Black Minnesotans born in this country.

The report, “Building Racial Equity into the Walls of Minnesota Medicaid: A Focus on U.S.-born Black Minnesotans (PDF),” recommends three areas for action: Making it easier to enroll and renew coverage, expanding access to culturally relevant care, and engaging the community in the process of creating policy for Medicaid, also known as Medical Assistance in Minnesota.

“It is an indisputable fact that Minnesota has a staggering racial health equity problem, and ignoring the stain of institutional racism has not made it go away,” said Dr. Nathan Chomilo, Medicaid medical director and the report’s lead author. “This report aims to continue the evolution of how policy within DHS is designed, proposed and considered with communities at the center as well as model what accountability can look like as we aim to rebuild trust and ensure that Minnesota lives up to its commitment to equity.”

More information on the report and Governor Tim Walz’s budget proposals that align with its recommendations is in a department news release.

Community Conversation May 9

U.S.-born Black Minnesotans who are enrolled in Medicaid and those working to advance racial equity in health care are invited attend an online community conversation to learn more about the report’s findings, its calls to action and next steps.

It will be held Monday, May 9, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Register by visiting A similar session was held April 19.

Age & Disabilities Odyssey Conference logo

June webinar to focus on intersectional accessibility

Join DHS and the Minnesota Board on Aging for the second webinar in the 2022 Minnesota Age & Disabilities Odyssey series. Learn why acknowledging the complex and multifaceted nature of human identity is critical to any kind of social justice work at the “Importance of Intersectional Accessibility” webinar from 1-2:30 p.m. Thursday, June 2. 

Guest presenter Hayden Kristal is a Colorado-based Deaf queer activist and stand-up comedian. Life at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities has led Hayden to a career as a professional speaker, exploring the intersections of ability, gender, sexuality and access, particularly within the spheres of activism and social justice. They have brought their funny, engaging and interactive workshops and speeches to dozens of conferences, businesses and schools across North America, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia and TEDx.

Register by 7 p.m. Thursday, May 26, through the Odyssey conference website.

Odyssey events are designed for those interested in long-term services and supports, including advocates, consumers, policymakers, and providers from counties, tribes, managed care organizations and state government.

Community members needed to help improve Minnesota child welfare policies and practices

Minnesotans are needed to help shape child welfare policy, practice and training recommendations by serving on Citizen Review Panels for the state’s child protection system.

DHS is currently seeking more than 80 volunteers for citizen panels in Chisago, Hennepin, Ramsey and Winona counties. By bringing a crucial community voice to county and statewide child welfare policies and procedures, panel members play an integral role in ensuring that the child protection system protects children from abuse and neglect. They also help identify and eliminate racial disparities in the system.

More information is in a department news release.

In social media: The new LoopBack podcast

LoopBack podcast small version

Posted April 27 on the DHS Facebook page

📣 Listen up! We just launched a podcast called the LoopBack. We're so excited about this new way to connect with Minnesotans. Catch the welcome episode and follow the LoopBack on Spotify, Stitcher, Anchor and Google Podcasts.

We'll be covering topics of community interest, uplifting community voices and exploring how we can better serve Minnesotans.

Check out the 10-minute welcome episode to discover what you can look forward to in the series. Assistant Commissioner De Anna Conover also shares the purpose of our new community engagement effort called Community Empowerment Sessions.

You can always find information about the LoopBack on our website at Episode transcripts are also available on the website.

#DHSLoopBack #DHSCommunityEmpowerment

For timely updates on DHS news and events, follow DHS on Twitter and Facebook.

Follow our DHS Careers Facebook page for announcements of hiring events, new job postings, internships and more.

Accessible formats

For accessible formats of this publication, write to, or call 651-431-2000 or use your preferred relay service.

Register for Community Empowerment Session on May 11

The next Community Empowerment Session, focused on “Community Healing,” will be held virtually via Webex on Wednesday, May 11 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. 

In this session, community members will discuss how behavioral health services can be more responsive to communities, and reflective and respectful of people's cultures, languages, and experiences.

DHS staff will facilitate conversations grounded in building authentic relationships based on trust, mutual respect, and acknowledgement of each person’s and community’s added value to developing solutions. 

People and families who have experience with DHS mental health and substance use services and programs and community partners who want to help better inform policies on community healing and behavioral health services are encouraged to attend.

Learn more and register through our website.

Children's Summit report is online

The Children’s Summit brought together people from across Minnesota to create solutions for issues facing the state’s behavioral health system for young people. A report summarizing the January summit and compiling action plans that participants developed is now online at

In the coming months, the Children’s Summit Implementation Team will work with partners to follow through on these action plans.

In partnership with the Governor's Children's Cabinet, we're grateful for all who participated.

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

Arts Center hosts third show by SPRTC patients: More than 200 art pieces created by clients in the Forensic Services facility in St. Peter are being featured in the third “Changing Minds” show at the Arts Center of St. Peter. The exhibit, which runs through May 7, is a way for the public to reconsider their opinions about those in the facility on the south edge of town. Learn more about the partnership between DHS and the Arts Center, as well as this year’s art work, in a Mankato Free Press article.

OP-ED: How to make Medicaid racially equitable:The term "Minnesota paradox," coined by Samuel Myers at the University of Minnesota, describes how Minnesota can have one of the highest qualities of life for white residents, while Black residents fare worse in nearly every measurable category than in virtually every other state. Dr. Nathan Chomilo, medical director for Minnesota's Medicaid program, wrote an opinion piece in the Star Tribune outlining three areas for action to advance racial equity in health care for Black Minnesotans.

DHS fact sheets updated

Family First Prevention Services Act (PDF)

Preventing child maltreatment by promoting health and well-being for Minnesota families (PDF)

Homelessness in Minnesota: helping to connect people to the services they need (PDF)

Social Services Information System (SSIS) (PDF)