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

Circle of Healing: A BYI Community Health Action Team

BYIBackPage-PhototoLEFTofseg.#1Who is The Circle of Healing?

by Harry Ford, Circle of Healing CHAT

The Circle of Healing Practitioners CHAT is a collaborative of Backyard practitioners including complementary healers, elders, representatives from different cultural traditions, conventional health professionals and community care givers. Members of this CHAT come together as practitioners interested in creating a more formalized network of people (Circles of Healing) around Backyard residents to provide better information, support for healing, and reflection about the message of dis-ease. This network serves both the Backyard community receiving care and the healing practitioner community in the Backyard.

The Vision

The vision behind the Circle of Healing Practitioners CHAT is grounded in cultural health practices and ways of knowing that honor the reciprocal and holistic nature of healing. In order to meet the health needs of the people living in the Backyard, this CHAT aims to empower health practitioners and community members and to connect the community care-giving system to the conventional health care system in a more formal, integrative way. The CHAT aims to bring awareness to Circles of Healing, Map to Wellness Sessions and the community care-giving system that currently operate/are available in the Backyard. One way the CHAT plans to accomplish this task is by holding a series of dialogues about the Integral Framework and its relation to all healing systems. The Integral Framework will serve as a starting point for conversation about how people can practice what they know in a way that is complementary to what other people know. This series of discussions will eventually become part of an official training and certification process for practitioners from various healing modalities and professions who want to adopt a more holistic and community-based approach to their practice and so become a part of the care giving system facilitated by this CHAT. The project”'s vision is not based in creating a static system but focuses on building a process-oriented model that will continue to evolve and grow. The network will create a model of partnering between health care and community care practitioners.

Connecting the Healer to the Backyard

The Backyard Initiative is a dynamic partnership between Allina Health and its neighbors. Through connections and commitment to understanding self, the seven neighborhoods which are immediately surrounding the Allina corporate headquarters, include the Allina Commons, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, and the Phillips Eye Institute are building community together. These connections are being used to redefine health and healing. Real health expresses, not only caring, but also having a heart. When we add this into existing systems such as the Backyard Initiative; you will be able to see health realized in the faces of the people.

Despite having access to medical care right in their “backyard”, many residents in the area experience poor health outcomes. The Circle of Healing is built on the belief that it takes many ways of knowing, to achieve health. We have to study ourselves to have better health. Every culture in the Backyard holds the power of knowing and healing. It is in our ability to create whereby we can know true health. Each person should study themselves as way of improving the health of their neighbor.

The Backyard Initiative goes beyond medical care. It improves health and health care through understanding the processes of cultural knowing for creating healing which must have community engagement. As healers, we must address the root causes of what is causing sickness in our communities. When people are reconnected to their culture, they will be able to see balance in their lives. They will be able to verbalize what works or does not work as it relates to disease. Through building culture of community,, the Circle of Healing is committed to creating healthy connections and demonstrating health through self-studies. For there to be systemic change, we as individuals have to connect the dots for ourselves.

What”'s next for the Circle of Healing CHAT?

The next stages for the Circle of Healing include more self-study and understanding as healers. This work will be centered on developing a personal language and deeper understanding around what it means to be a healer. Each member will participate in self-study, to develop and learn ways of healing in the communities each member is connected to. As each member of the circle understands becoming a healer, we hope to learn how the cultural-self directs the ways of knowing, learning and accepting healing. At the finish of the first phase of self-study, the members of the Circle of Healing will present their findings to the Backyard Initiative All CHAT community.

To learn more about the BYI Circle of Healing CHAT, please call the Cultural Wellness Center, 612-721-5745 or via email,

What have we learned through Circle of Healing *CHAT?

  • Ways of knowing represent a form of study and knowledge integral to creating health and managing the complexity and unpredictability of health
  • A paradigm shift is required to be better able to care for communities
  • Practitioners of healing ways have a role in informing the design of health delivery models
  • Cultural ways of knowing facilitate a deeper process through which the body may achieve health and healing

*Community Health Action Teams (CHATs) which consist of study groups and cultural community circles who research and organize to work on a particular topic of importance to the whole community”'s health and well-being.

The Backyard Initiative (BYI) is a partnership between the Community, Allina Health Systems and the Cultural Wellness Center. The goal of this partnership is to improve the health of the 45,000 residents living in the “backyard” comprised by the neighborhoods of Powderhorn Park, East Phillips, Midtown Phillips, West Phillips, Ventura Village, Central, and Corcoran. There are eleven Community Health Action Teams (CHATs) focused on improving the health through a variety of cultural and community-connecting activities. For info on the BYI, please call the Cultural Wellness Center, 612-721-5745.

Back Yard Initiative Back Page

The BYI Back Page is produced each month as a collaborative venture between the BYI Communications CHAT & Alley Communications, Inc., publisher of The Alley Newspaper. The Communications CHAT works with BYI CHAT (Community Health Action Teams) each month as a “resource CHAT” ”“ helping to get the news and activities of the BYI out to the broader community.

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