NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Friday November 17th 2017

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The Backyard Initiative: What It Is and Why It Exists

The Backyard Initiative is a dynamic partnership between Allina Health and its neighbors to improve health and health care in the seven communities immediately surrounding Allina Commons, Abbott Northwestern Hospital and the Phillips Eye Institute. The Backyard Initiative supports efforts to strengthen community health by empowering residents to draw upon their own knowledge, skills, and cultural values to care for themselves, their families, and their neighbors.

Research shows that social conditions– including isolation and a lack of social support – have a profound impact on our health. By partnering the expertise and resources of health care institutions with the wisdom and experience of residents, The Backyard Initiative is exploring a new dimension to a health care system that will focus on promoting health in addition to treating sickness.

Beginning in 2008, Allina partnered with the Cultural Wellness Center, a community nonprofit organization in South Minneapolis, to facilitate the community engagement process. The Cultural Wellness Center has a long history of engaging community residents to improve health through self-study, surfacing and producing knowledge, cross-cultural knowledge exchange, and relationship building. Early in the process, the CWC led a process that engaged residents in developing a definition of health, a definition that became the foundation for The Backyard Initiative.

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