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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Wednesday June 12th 2024

Update on the Backyard Initiative An Integral Community Care System

By Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center and Lovel Trahan, AmeriCorps VISTA, Allina Health Systems

On September 23, the Circle of Healing CHAT of the Backyard Initiative hosted a community forum entitled “An Integral Community Care System: Responding to the Health and Wellness Needs of Community” to present a framework for developing a community care system that will combine community resources and knowledge with conventional, professional resources.

The Backyard Initiative (BYI) is a partnership between Allina and community residents to improve the health of the community. Residents of Central, Corcoran, East Phillips, Midtown Phillips, Phillips West, Powderhorn Park, and Ventura Village have formed Citizen Health Action Teams (CHATs) to work together on health-improvement projects they have designed.

The Circle of Healing CHAT is working to blend traditional community knowledge of health and healing with institutional Western medicine. At the September forum, Elder Atum of the Cultural Wellness Center led the group through a facilitated discussion that explored how a community model of providing health care could achieve the lasting results necessary to improve quality of life. Some of the themes included connecting with a patient”'s story, identifying community partners for implementing a holistic model of patient care, and sharing knowledge across disciplines.

The Integral Paradigm of Ken Wilber was presented as a helpful framework for envisioning how a community care system would operate and what its components would be. The Integral Paradigm looks holistically at everything that contributes to our health, from how we think of ourselves and our moods, to how we take care of our body, to our family values and roles, to our environment and all the systems we interact with. In a community care system, a person would have a circle of support surrounding him or her that would include people who can assist that person to have understanding and resources in all these areas. A physician, a massage therapist, a family member, a nutritionist, a health care broker, and a cultural elder might all be part of a person”'s circle of healing in this vision of a community care system.

The Circle of Healing CHAT will continue these forums at later dates with other physician communities and with residents of the Backyard community. Anyone interested in participating can call the Cultural Wellness Center at 612-721-5745 for more information.

All Backyard residents are welcome to come to the Backyard Initiative community meetings on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 5 PM at Hope Community, 611 East Franklin Avenue. Call the Cultural Wellness Center for details.

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