Special Edition: News from DHS

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Special Edition


November 2022

News from DHS archive

Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards logo

Seven Minnesota human services organizations received Circle of Excellence awards from Commissioner Jodi Harpstead this fall for their commitment to providing housing, economic assistance, food, health care and other essential services to the state’s residents.

The awards recognize outstanding organizations, counties and Tribes for initiatives and innovations that address critical needs in Minnesota’s communities.

In announcing the winners earlier this fall, Harpstead noted their unwavering commitment to the well-being of Minnesotans. “We are so grateful for the work these organizations are doing to help advance our mission by delivering health care, housing support, economic assistance and other services to their neighbors to enable them to live full lives in community.”

The commissioner traveled to Bemidji, Red Wing and Shakopee and visited Hennepin County Medical Center to present awards. Deputy Commissioner Nikki Farago presented the Hallie Q. Brown award at the center in St. Paul. The Hennepin County Human Services event was virtual. Harpstead and Farago noted how much they enjoyed meeting the people who perform this vital work.

More information about the Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards is on the DHS website.

American Indian Cancer Foundation, St. Paul 

AICF 2022 Circle of Excellence Award 1

The foundation works with Tribal nations across the state to address cancer inequities in American Indian communities. In six years of operation, AICAF has provided support and education around policy, systems and environmental change related to healthy eating, tobacco, well-being and physical activity. AICAF participates in DHS’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education grant, supporting the Ode’imini Giizis Farmers Market in Nett Lake. The market increases access to healthy and traditional foods to elevate food sovereignty, farming and a place to trade.

C.A.R.E. Clinic, Red Wing

C.A.R.E. Clinic Red Wing 2022 Circle of Excellence Award

The clinic provides low-cost or free dentistry, medical and mental health care in Goodhue County, playing a vital role in making health care more accessible. By focusing on dental care, C.A.R.E. spotlights an overlooked but critical health concern: Poor oral health has been linked to poor mental and overall health, including heart health. Through a comprehensive health care approach, C.A.R.E. ensures that people get the services they need to maintain basic health.

Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, St. Paul

Hallie Q. Brown Community Center 2022 Circle of Excellence Award

The community center strives to improve quality of life in the community by providing access to critical human services, fostering and promoting personal growth, and developing community leadership. The Basic Needs Program, one of six core program areas, includes a food shelf and clothing bank. It also features a community support navigator who connects constituents with housing, mental health and legal assistance. Operating in a neighborhood whose residents come from a range of racial and ethnic backgrounds, Hallie Q. Brown tailors services to meet the diverse needs of their clientele. 

Hennepin County Human Services Emergency Preparedness Unit

Hennepin County Human Services Emergency Preparedness Unit 2022 Circle of Excellence Award

The county mobilized a multi-faceted operation to provide temporary housing for more than 1,000 Afghan arrivals, coordinating initial services and supports while permanent housing was being secured for each household. This response brought together human services, emergency response and refugee resettlement agencies to facilitate a smooth transition for Afghan evacuees coming to Minnesota. With the help of dedicated organizations and passionate community volunteers, the unit supplied more than 75,000 meals and 50,000 masks.

Hennepin Healthcare, Minneapolis

Hennepin Healthcare 2022 Circle of Excellence Award

This comprehensive, integrated health system includes a hospital, 10 primary care clinics, 36 specialty clinics and community programs for low-income, uninsured/underinsured and vulnerable populations. The award recognizes three innovative efforts to improve health equity:

The Pediatric Mobile Health Clinic was a direct response to the precipitous decline in essential childhood vaccinations and other preventive care for at-risk populations of color. It began operating early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Redleaf Center houses Hennepin Healthcare’s Mother-Baby Program, which includes a range of mental health and parenting support for families before and after having a baby. This includes the Mother-Baby Day Hospital, Minnesota’s first and only partial hospital program for perinatal women with mental illness. 

The Talent Garden offers a comprehensive set of events, programs and initiatives designed to connect young people of color with clinicians, with a goal of building interest and providing support for pursuing careers in health care.

Housing Matters, Bemidji

Housing Matters Bemidji 2022 Circle of Excellence Award

The organization’s mission is for every disabled person experiencing long-term homelessness to have a stable living environment in the community of their choosing, whether living alone or with family members. Housing Matters helped address Bemidji’s growing housing crisis by developing a community-site supportive housing model that led to more supportive housing initiatives. The organization also provides Housing Stabilization Services, the state Medicaid benefit launched in July 2020 to help people find and keep housing.

Scott County Family Resource Centers

Scott County Family Resource Centers 2022 Circle of Excellence Award

Launched in 2021, Family Resource Centers provide a universal access point for families for services including parenting support, early literacy, financial literacy, mental and chemical health services, and assistance such as rental support. A program of the county’s Children’s Services Department, the centers offer support in parenting skills, early childhood development and literacy skills, and navigating domestic violence services. Family Resource Centers are co-located with three community organizations: Jordan Area Food Shelf, Shakopee Library and Savage Library.

For accessible formats of this publication, write to dhs.communications@state.mn.us, call 651-431-2000, or use your preferred relay service.