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Building Healthier Communities Award

Growing an appreciation for the culture of health care quality in Minnesota

As a nonprofit organization guided by an independent community-based board of directors, Stratis Health is committed to being a responsible and engaged community member. The Stratis Health Board of Directors dedicates a portion of our reserves to a community benefit program that serves as a catalyst for collaboration and innovation to help build a culture of health care quality in our community, and through which Stratis Health can leave an ever growing program legacy.

Award nominations are made by Stratis Health Board or staff members. Awards align with Stratis Health's mission and vision, advance Stratis Health's work and relationships, benefit the community, and focus on Minnesota.

In 12 years of our community benefit program, Stratis Health has supported 44 projects in Minnesota. Approximately half of all projects had statewide impact. And, one-third of the geographic-specific projects supported rural communities,

2019 recipients

Care Providers of Minnesota received funds to develop community advisory boards in assisted living at three pilot sites, working in partnership with the Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety and the State Ombudsman for Long Term Care. The pilots will build on best practices for engagement and inform a replicable statewide model.

CHI St. Gabriel's Health in Little Falls, MN, will develop and implement a clinician-to-clinician education and coaching series using Project ECHO—a hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing network model—for opioid prescribing providers who have been identified by the Minnesota Department of Human Services as needing performance improvement to modify opioid prescribing practices.

Circle in the Field Media will use its funds to help produce a short video for individuals who are making a decision about whether to become a caregiver for a loved one at end-of-life. Stories from a diverse group of individuals will offer support and encouragement. The video will offered free of charge. Circle in the Field: Hospice (18-minute video)

Keane Sense of Rhythm will host four low-cost tap dance classes through St. Paul Community Education locations. Its Tappy Hour for Better Health dance program will use an Afro-American dance form to build brain power, balance, bone mass, and cardiovascular health among participants.

Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety will work with Lakewood Health System to engage community members and patients to co-design processes and communication for improved diagnostic test management following an emergency department visit.

Past recipients

ACT on Alzheimer’s. This award will sponsor one rural Minnesota community to become dementia friendly. The community will use the Dementia Friendly Communities Toolkit, undertake a community engagement process, and implement at least one priority goal. (March 2016)

Appetite for Change will expand evaluation of its Community Cooks program in North Minneapolis to show the value of food as a health building tool and how people cooking, eating and sharing knowledge with one another builds the overall culture of health in a community. (March 2017)

Aitkin/Crosby Communities, led by Riverwood Healthcare Center and Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, will encourage patients to complete a health care directive and to pursue advance care planning with their family members and health care providers. (March 2017)

CardioVision 2020. The award provides CardioVision 2020 funding to establish and update Web-based community education, awareness building, and social networking "heart healthy" resources for Olmsted County, Minnesota, with the secondary purpose of serving as a model and resource for other communities across Minnesota to implement similar locally-based health and prevention programs. CardioVision 2020 aims to reduce cardiovascular disease burden in Olmsted County to the lowest levels in the US by 2020, by promoting healthy lifestyle habits as well as appropriate therapies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Through this award, Stratis Health joins with other community partners-Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Minnesota, and others in Olmsted County community partners-that support CardioVision 2020. (March 2009). The program is now called Health Living Rochester.

CaringBridge. The group will use its funds to help design and implement its Author Data Project. A series of pilot surveys will gather evidence-based, quantitative data on the physical and emotional health of CaringBridge authors—individuals or their caregivers directly impacted by a health crisis. This work will begin to document the healing and cost containment impacts of this social support tool. (March 2015)

Center for Community Health identified mental health and wellness as a shared public health priority area for the seven-county Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. Its award funds will increase geographic reach and broaden the populations served by CCH-supported mental health programs. (March 2017)

Center for Population Health. The center is resurrecting itself as a collaboration of local public health agencies, hospitals, and health systems. The award will support a strategic planning process to define its new work scope to improve health in the Twin Cities metropolitan area by identifying unmet community needs, creating opportunities for collaboration, and facilitating alignment with state and federal priorities. (March 2013)

Circle in the Field will use its funds to help produce a short Hospice Stories Documentary. It will feature diverse individuals and families relating the lived experience of hospice. The video will be promoted to health professionals for use at the time of terminal diagnosis to help laypeople understand the benefits of hospice. (March 2017)

East Metro Coordination of Care Post-Acute Care Mental Health Workgroup will produce a post-acute care behavioral health video training targeted to staff in long-term care, residential care, and assisted living. The training modules will boost their understanding of older adult behavioral health and equip them with tools and techniques to de-escalate behaviors. (March 2018)

East Side Table Program Evaluation Partnership will evaluate the East Side Table's 10-week Make-at-Home Meal-Kit program. The program helps families access and prepare affordable, healthy food while developing lifelong food skills that contribute to improved dietary, health, and equity outcomes. Led by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. (March 2018)

Emergency Medical Error Reduction Group, Center for Leadership, Innovation and Research in EMS. The group will use its funding to support two Minnesota EMS provider memberships in this national organization which is building a patient safety report infrastructure to reduce preventable errors within the emergency medical community. It also will cover ongoing maintenance to servers which enable electronic data collection of patient safety and error data for EMS patients. (June 2014)

Empira. The consortium of 23 skilled nursing facilities in Minnesota will produce and disseminate a DVD presentation on its Restorative Sleep Vitality Program (RSVP), to help increase nursing home resident ability to sleep through the night and increase their wakeful daytime activities. (June 2014)

Face-to-Face Adolescent Health Clinic. The clinic will develop and implement an evaluation tool to measure patients’ satisfaction, their understanding of the health information provided to them, and their level of activation to engage in and manage their own health care. (March 2016)

Fruit and Veggie Rx Program, led by the HealthEast Foundation, will use its award to support a second round pilot. In this project, primary care teams identify low-income, food insecure refugee and immigrant patients with chronic diet-related disease. They work to empower patients and families to make better food choices by providing nutrition education and increasing affordable access to healthy produce through community supported agriculture (CSA) participation. Success is measured through improved body mass index (BMI), A1c measure of blood sugars, and other biometrics. (March 2018)

Evidence to Practice Program. Winona State University, in partnership with Benedictine Health System (BHS), will use its award to support the Evidence to Practice program, adding to the quality and best practices knowledge for long-term care facilities that is available through an online information clearinghouse. Stratis Health will help shape the content and promote the resource statewide. (July 2008)

Institute for Nursing Quality. The goal of this institute is to serve as a resource for practicing nurses to more fully understand quality improvement concepts. The institute plans to provide further education and resources via a Web site, newsletter, and a bibliography with timely updated nursing improvement resources. (October 2007)

Lakewood Health System. The health system will work across care teams and community stakeholders in the Staples area to train on and embed the use of Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), physician orders used to translate a patient's wishes into specific actions for treatment. (October 2010)

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The tribe will develop a multi-media education campaign and to provide cultural competence training for 50 health care providers who serve Native American consumers. (March 2012)

Mankato ACT on Alzheimer’s will develop the first Giving Voice Chorus in Greater Minnesota for people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. The chorus will provide a meaningful and consistent engagement experience to improve health outcomes and to reduce the social isolation and public stigma of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. (March 2017)

Minnesota Association of Geriatrics Inspired Clinicians will conduct strategic planning as the foundation to start a new professional association that will support clinicians in Minnesota who advocate for and serve those with medically complex needs in the community. MAGIC will support education, interdisciplinary learning, and collaboration, as well as serve as a platform for improving quality of care. (March 2017)

Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance. The Alliance works to provide greater awareness of the benefits of the community health worker (CHW) role and will use its funds for organizational strategic planning on how to best partner to expand access to trained CHWs and other goals. (June 2014)

Minnesota Diabetes Collaborative. The award provided a matching grant to develop and disseminate "Control Your Diabetes for Life," low literacy patient education materials. This project will promote consistent patient education diabetes messages across settings aimed at people with limited language skills and those who prefer visual instruction aids. (July 2008) The Control Your Diabetes for Life! Health Literacy Flip Chart won 2012 Frank Vinicor Award of Excellence

Minnesota Diabetes and Heart Health Collaborative. The award will help establish and/or augment grass roots diabetes prevention and care efforts in communities with the highest prevalence. These efforts include creating diabetes and prediabetes messages, education, and strategies tailored to the needs of specific communities. (June 2014)

Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership. This new coalition of health care consumers and literacy groups, together with the state’s health and social service agencies and provider organizations, to educate providers and consumers about health literacy. With the Building Healthier Communities award, the Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership plans to work statewide to provide a greater awareness of health literacy—both with health care consumers and providers. (October 2007)

Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care. The group will develop an end-of-life curriculum and reference guide for community health and allied health care workers serving the Somali, Latino, and Hmong communities in Minnesota. (March 2012)

Minnesota Rural Health Association. The association will use its funds to establish a student chapter at University of Minnesota Duluth, with a goal of exposing future health care professionals to rural practice opportunities. It also intends to develop infrastructure for expansion of student chapters at health care training programs across Minnesota. (March 2016)

Minnesota Shared Decision Making Collaborative. The collaborative’s Patient and Community Engagement Workgroup will conduct patient/community focus groups, and to plan for a media outreach campaign that will promote a common understanding of shared decision-making for patients and the community. (October 2010)

Minnesota Veterans Home – Minneapolis will launch the first Cycling Without Age chapter in the Twin Cities. Elderly veterans and their family members will ride in electric-assisted trishaw bicycles piloted by volunteer bicyclists. This program improves mental wellness and increases social connectedness between seniors, family members, and community members. (March 2017)

Multilingual Health Resources Exchange. The award will help create three public service video vignettes about the use of interpreters in the Somali and Latino communities. These videos also will be accessible by smartphones via QR codes. (March 2012)

National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). The award will support “NAMI in the Lobby” at two to three Twin Cities inpatient psychiatric units. The program trains volunteers to be available in inpatient psychiatric units to help explain to the families how to navigate the mental health system and find resources for their loved ones and themselves. NAMI also will create an improved discharge form and other materials directed to family members about how to encourage their loved one to follow up on the treatment plan. (March 2015)

Native American Community Clinic Behavioral Health Integration Initiative. The initiative will develop and implement educational materials and events for its patients that support integration of care between its medical and behavioral health clinics for a more holistic approach to health care. The materials will be made available to other clinics across Minnesota. (March 2015)

The Paramedic Foundation. The group will use its funds to support creation of continuing education modules in an internationally standardized curriculum for community paramedics, who fill local gaps in access to health care. The curriculum is available free to any accredited college or university. The first of the new modules will be geriatric specific. (March 2016)

Perham Memorial Hospital and Home. Since implementing a household model of care to improve the lives of those living and working in nursing homes, Perham Memorial Hospital and Home has fielded numerous requests from nursing homes and other long term care stakeholders wanting to emulate its success. The organization will use its award to create innovative approaches to sharing information about its experiences with others. Stratis Health's nursing home and culture change experts will assist with the project. (July 2008)

Senior Community Services. The group will optimize its client information system to better support care coordination, using insights from a Stratis Health community-based organization health IT training. The nonprofit will build capacity to create population level reports to share with other organizations to build collaborations that support the health of seniors in their communities. (March 2016)

Time Critical Care Committee. Co-chaired by Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Heart Association, the committee will receive seed money to develop a website and the first phase of an online training course for EMS time critical care. The intended audiences include first responders and EMS providers in and around Minnesota. (June 2014)

University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing will implement Integrative Therapies and Cancer Recovery projects to support patients recovering from cancer—a growing and historically underserved population. The projects will assist providers in creating supportive communities that help patients take charge of their post cancer health by integrating therapies and practices to sustain a longer, healthy life. (March 2013)

University of Minnesota School of Nursing. The school will co-create new pre-licensure nursing curriculum focusing on older adults that emphasizes person-centered care, quality, and safety. (March 2012)

White Earth Nation. The tribe will receive funding to continue its tribal health care coordination program, White Earth Coordination, Assessment, Resources, and Education (WE CARE). Funds will go toward setting up quality assurance measures to ensure WE CARE is able to document and provide evidenced-based outcomes for ongoing success. (June 2014)

YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. The group will advance the Enjoy a Health Life! patient and family engagement program by helping to create and implement an evaluation tool and enhanced facilitator resources, as well as document program impact for potential program expansion. (March 2015)