COVID-19 Stories of Community Outreach and Partnership
During COVID-19, staff from across the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have been reassigned to help with our public health response. Reaching all Minnesotans with important information about COVID-19 and how to prevent the spread has been a top priority. Many staff have been specifically working to provide culturally and linguistically responsive COVID-19 guidance, partnership, and updates to communities most impacted by health inequities across Minnesota, including Communities of Color and American Indians, LGBTQIA, disability, and faith-based communities.
The following stories highlight the efforts of our staff in collaboration with community partners during the COVID-19 response. Some stories provide insight into how this work is done, others discuss what challenges our teams face, but all of them recognize how COVID-19 has pushed MDH to try new strategies so we can fulfill our mission of protecting, maintaining, and improving the health of all Minnesotans.
MDH Forges a New Model of Community Partnership
MDH has partnered with more than 120 diverse media vendors and community-based organizations to engage people about health messaging as part of the COVID-19 public health response.
Writing Guidance for Hmong Funerals during COVID-19
MDH staff collaborated with Hmong cultural and spiritual leaders to develop detailed guidance for COVID-19 safety at Hmong funerals, including how to adapt funeral practices to shorter, safer services.
The Power of Lived Experience: Community Outreach for Minnesota’s COVID-19 Testing
MDH, the Governor’s Office, and community partners collaborated to set up community testing sites across the Twin Cities in June, following the murder of George Floyd. Statewide community testing continues to connect underrepresented populations to safe, no-cost testing.
A Peek into Community Testing: Equity, Partnership, and a Voice at the Table
MDH partnered with Stairstep Foundation, a trusted foundation rooted in the African American community, to host no-cost COVID-19 testing events at four different churches and prioritize community inclusion.
Pairing Community Wisdom with Access to Institutions: The Importance of the LGBTQ Community Liaisons
The MDH LGBTQ community liaison team works diligently to ensure that the LGBTQ community is connected with resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. They advocate to ensure that LGBTQ inclusion is embedded within the COVID-19 response.
Reconnecting with Indigenous Roots: Tradition and Breastfeeding during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Nitamising Gimashkikinaan brings together doulas able to provide lactation and pregnancy support to Indigenous mothers and babies. The group also provides COVID-19 outreach to the broader American Indian population.
Understanding Impact through Stories: Partnering with People with Disabilities during COVID-19
The MDH People with Disabilities Team collaborates with partners, including COVID-19 Community Coordinators, to ensure that Minnesotans with disabilities have equitable access to resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amplifying the Message: Integrating Art and Public Health to Protect the American Indian Community
American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) worked with local public health on a billboard in Duluth featuring American Indian physician Arne Vainio, MD, and culturally tailored public health messaging.
A Minnesota Story of Resiliency and Power: Black Nurses Rock
Taking COVID-19 in stride, Black Nurses Rock passed out masks and hand sanitizer at grassroots events, staffed COVID-19 community testing events, and are now involved in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
Rushing toward a crisis: How one organization’s ability to pivot was crucial in responding to COVID-19
The Native American Community Clinic used a culturally responsive and community-centered approach to reach urban American Indians and people experiencing homelessness for testing events in their communities.
A Tale of COVID-19 Testing in Two Cities: State, local, and community partnership
Watonwan County held two COVID-19 testing events in Madelia and St. James. Building on longstanding community partnerships, the events successfully engaged many members of the local Latinx community.
Community engagement and art: A powerful combination in public health
Byron Roberson started Poet Photography in college as a way to channel his talents. He partnered with the MDH through a COVID-19 diverse media contract to create Poet's Uplift, a website dedicated to sharing COVID-19 information tailored to the African American community.
Reflecting on a Year of COVID-19 with the MDH Latinx Community Liaison Team
The MDH Latinx Community Liaison Team has worked tirelessly to advocate for the Latinx community. The team collaborates with community organizations and faith-based leaders to plan testing events, hold biweekly meetings, address vaccine concerns, and more.
Letting the Community Lead the Way: Nobles County Research Study Sheds Light on COVID-19 Spread
In April 2020, a COVID-19 outbreak temporarily shut down the JBS pork plant in Worthington, Minnesota. The city of Worthington and MDH conducted a research study with 1,961 residents to better understand the impact and extent of the outbreak in Nobles County.
Uniting Against COVID-19: A Unique Public Housing Collaboration for Vaccinating Community
The Minneapolis Health Department, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, Volunteers of America, and MDH COVID Community Coordinators worked together to bring COVID-19 vaccines to 39 high-rise apartment complexes.
Phyllis Wheatley: A cornerstone for COVID-19 support in the community
Phyllis Wheatley Community Center is a safe haven for the African American community. They host testing events, support vaccination clinics, engage with community members, and connect them to important resources like housing and food assistance.