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Posts Tagged ‘CHATs’

Backyard Initiative Update Harvesting Learning from the Dakota Language Revitalization Citizen Health Action Team

By Janice Barbee and Madeline Gardner, Cultural Wellness Center Residents of seven neighborhoods in south Minneapolis (in the area around Allina Health System”'s headquarters) have been implementing their ideas for health improvement for the past year with the support of Allina and the Cultural Wellness Center. The Dakota Language Revitalization Citizen Health Action Team (CHAT) was the first project to be approved by the Community Commission on Health and the members of this CHAT (made up primarily of Dakota community residents) have been going through a reflection or harvesting process to pull out their learning from their experiences and share it with the Commission, with other CHATs, and with the community. The Dakota Language Revitalization CHAT was formed out of the recognition that the health of a culture is essential to the health of a people and language is how culture and world view are transmitted. The Dakota language is at a crisis point right now; one CHAT member estimates there are only five fluent Dakota speakers left in the state of MN. The vision of the CHAT was that Dakota children learn their language at an early age, and their strategy was to start a day care for young children where they would be immersed in the Dakota language. The CHAT members learned a lot about the regulations, licensing and challenges of setting up early childhood care facility. A teacher was hired for the immersion program, one of the few Dakota speakers under 40 years old.  Due to the challenges in setting up a licensed day care in a house, the strategy changed to setting up a part-time Dakota language childhood immersion program within an existing day care, with the help of Wicoie Nandigikendon, the CHAT”'s fiscal agent and incubator.  Up to six children attended. CHAT members also hosted a weekly or biweekly moccasin making class for about 50 community members from February to May of 2011. Besides the challenges around regulations and [...]

A Process for Valuing the Work in the Backyard Initiative

By Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center When the Backyard Initiative began three years ago, residents of the neighborhoods of Central, Corcoran, East Phillips, Midtown Phillips, Phillips West, Powderhorn Park, and Ventura Village were invited to a meeting to look at Allina”'s plans for improving the health of the residents. One of the central messages of that meeting was that community residents need to be active participants in that planning and in the implementing of any health-improvement projects. People are tired of programs that are done for them, or to them, or on their behalf. People want to present their own ideas based on their own experiences. People want to participate in projects that involve and impact what they care most about, what they most value. And the evaluation process for reflecting on the learning and identifying and assessing the accomplishments must be owned and implemented primarily by the participants themselves. Only then can the process support improvement of the projects and help others in the community to learn how not to repeat the same mistakes and to build upon what residents have developed. Citizen Health Action Teams (CHATs) have been implemented in the Backyard area over the past year, and CHAT members are now going through a reflection process to harvest what they have learned, what they have achieved, and what they will do differently going forward to most effectively improve the health of the community. The Dakota Language Revitalization CHAT was the first CHAT to be approved by the Community Commission on Health (made of up members from each CHAT), and the members of this CHAT were the first to go through this reflection process. As part of this process, they answered the following questions: (more…)

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. (more…)

“Talking in the Backyard” Gardening Grows More than Food

“Talking in the Backyard” Gardening Grows More than Food

by Ariele Strachan, Cultural Wellness Center The Backyard Initiative (BYI) now has 13 Citizen Health Action Teams (CHATs) implementing health strategies developed by members who are local residents. The Growing the Backyard CHAT was given support by the BYI Community Commission on Health for their Family Garden Project in April of this year and have been working with families on gardening since late May. The Family Garden Project has connected with eight families in the Phillips, Powderhorn, Central, and Corcoran neighborhoods (the Backyard area) and has helped each of them to install a 4x4 foot raised bed garden. The Family Garden Project works with whole families ”” parents, children of all ages, grandparents and other members of the family ”” to make gardening a natural part of everyone”'s day where different gardening activities are less chores and are more activities to bring the family and the community closer together. (more…)

Somali Women”'s Proposal Approved by Commission on Health

Somali Women”'s Proposal Approved by Commission on Health

  By Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center The Backyard Initiative”'s Community Commission on Health approved a proposal of the Somali Women”'s Health Support CHAT (Citizen Health Action Team) on June 2, 2011 to promote communication, understanding, and support among women of the Somali community who have children in the justice system. Their project will educate Somali families about how the justice system works, help to connect women together who have children in the system in order to reduce isolation and social stigma, and help to prevent other children in the community from entering the justice system. The Somali women who presented at the Commission meeting spoke of the difficulty of supporting their children throughout the trial process and incarceration. They also spoke of how their cultural systems of authority, personal accountability, and discipline have been undermined and displaced in the move to the U.S. Understanding the justice system is a crucial first step to rebuilding those systems of authority and supporting their youth. The women plan to create a buddy system where each woman will be linked with another woman when they visit their children in prison and will help each other with transportation. This will create a support system for the women who are now feeling isolated and feel that the legal system is inaccessible and foreign. (more…)

Focus on Mental Health in the Backyard

By Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center Community residents participating in the Backyard Initiative have identified “mental health” as one focus for their work to improve the health of all residents. At their past few monthly meetings, members of the Community Commission on Health and Citizen Health Action Teams (CHATs) of the Backyard Initiative (BYI) have been discussing which health condition all the CHATs would work on together. Community members have named many different aspects of mental health, such as stress, depression, and chemical dependency as having a significant impact on overall health. In the community health assessment conducted in 2009, the top health conditions that residents reported experiencing in the last five years were stress (51%), depression (21%), and high blood pressure (21%). The BYI is a partnership between Allina Health Systems and the community surrounding Allina headquarters (the four neighborhoods of Phillips, Central, Powderhorn Park, and Corcoran) to develop ways to improve the health of the community. Resident-run CHATs are now implementing their health strategies and are accountable to the Community”'s Commission on Health, a group of primarily community residents who are also members of a CHAT. (more…)

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