Minnesota Healthy Communities Conference 2013: Building on What Works

In spite of all the attention given to health care coverage, research consistently shows that social and economic factors play a larger role in determining health outcomes.
A conference held on Friday, November 1, explored ways to build a healthier Minnesota by promoting the integration of health-related programs and community development to address social determinants of health. The conference highlighted current successful cross-sector efforts throughout the state, and also gave a national perspective. It was a follow-up to a conference held a year ago.  
Elaine Arkin, Manager, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America provided the keynote, giving a status report of the  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2013 Commission to Build a Healthier America, including recommendations and implications for Minnesota.
Groups working on cross-sector collaboration were encouraged to showcase their successful joint projects. Each submission was featured on a poster highlighting goals and activities, populations served, major partners, major outcomes, ingredients for success and advice for others. Nineteen projects were showcased.

Conference Hosts 


Report Shows Cross-sector Partnerships Sparking Widespread Action

A new report, from Wilder Research and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis answers the following questions:
  • What collaborative activity is occurring between the health and community development sectors in the United States?
  • What factors underlie successful cross-sector initiatives to improve community health?
  • What obstacles prevent collaboration between health and community development organizations from occurring?
  • What actions can help optimally support additional collaboration between health and community development organizations that work to improve community health?


The report draws from a nationwide survey and in-depth key informant interviews with leaders working in community development as well as those working in public health. ​The report was prepared for the reconvening of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Build a Healthier America.

Healthy Communities Conference 2012

On November 1, 2012, leaders from community development and health organizations across the state came together to find ways to converge their efforts to build healthier communities. Ideas that emerged included developing a common framework and language, sharing board members, and sharing data.

Presentations from the conference:

Health and Human Services Sector Education for Community Development Professionals.
Jim Hart, Adjunct Professor, University of Minnesota School of Public Health; David Kindig, Professor Emeritus and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health; Gretchen Musicant, Commissioner, Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support.

Community Development Sector Education for Health and Human Service Professionals. Andriana Abariotes, Executive Director, Twin Cities LISC; Allison Coleman, CEO, Capital Link; Stacey Millett, Senior Program Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation.

Related Reading

Braunstein, S., & Lavizzo-Mourey, R. (2011). How the health and community development sectors are combining forces to improve health and well-being. Health Affairs, 30(11), 2042–2051.
Edmonson, J., & Zimpher, N. L. (2012, Summer). The new civic infrastructure: The 'how to' of collective impact and getting a better social return on investment. Community Investments, 24(2), 10-13.
Fleming, H. K., & Wysen, K. (2010/2011, Winter). Making up for lost time: Forging new connections between health and community development. Community Investments, 22(3), 11-18.
Lavizzo-Mourey, R. (2012). Why health, poverty and community development are inseparable. In Investing in what works for America's communities: Essays on people, place, and purpose (pp. 215-225). Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Low Income Investment Fund.
Paloma, M. (2012, Spring). The intersection of health philanthropy and housing. Shelterforce.
Rausch, E. (2012, Spring). CDFIs as catalysts for improving social outcomes. Community Investments, 24(1),18-21.

 In the Media




Opening remarks from Paul Mattessich, Executive Director of Wilder Research, and Narayana Kocherlakota, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, at the recent Minnesota Healthy Communities Conference.



Keynote presentation from Elaine Arkin, Manager of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America.


 Short Takes


Andriana Abariotes, Executive Director, Twin Cities LISC, and Kathy Gaalswyk, President and CEO, Initiative Foundation, describe collaborative efforts in which leaders in community development and public health are successfully working together.

More short takes