Minnesota is often celebrated for the quality of our health care, but inequities in health care access and public health outcomes persist in Indigenous communities and communities of color.
Minnesota faces racial disparities in everything from breast cancer, infant mortality and heart disease rates to incidences of injury and violence. And COVID-19 and George Floyd’s killing have further shaken what trust BIPOC communities had in existing systems and the people who operate in them.
State leaders have acknowledged racism and health care disparities in Minnesota remain unsolved, and activists have pushed for community-based, culturally competent care, telemedicine and other solutions.
Are we making progress? Where do we stand in the fight for racial equity in health care in Minnesota? What are the key reforms and initiatives we must realize next?
This week, we’re revisiting recent conversations we’ve had about Minnesota’s persistent racial disparities. In this rebroadcast of an event in MPR News’ In Focus series, host Angela Davis talked to public health advocates and health care providers working to address racial disparities in health care.
To watch a video recording of the conversation, check out the original In Focus post here.
Cindy N. Kaigama is the director of innovation and learning for Minnesota Community Care, an organization founded in 1972 as West Side Community Health Services. She has more than 20 years of experience as an educator, health and human services leader and social entrepreneur. With several locations in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Community Care offers a range of health care services and is a federally qualified health center.
Antony Stately serves as chief executive officer for the Native American Community Clinic, a federally qualified health care center in south Minneapolis that provides primary dental and behavioral health care and substance abuse services to the Twin Cities Native American community. He is a clinical psychologist, an enrolled Oneida member and a descendant of White Earth and Red Lake Ojibwe.
Stella Whitney-West serves as chief executive officer of NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, a federally qualified health center serving north Minneapolis and Hennepin County. She has led NorthPoint for more than a decade and has extensive experience in governance and policy. NorthPoint has a 50-year history and is governed by a community board of directors comprised of NorthPoint patients and people who live or work in the community.
Naomi Windham is a nurse practitioner with Hennepin County Health Care for the Homeless. She provides medical care at clinics within the shelter system and as a medical provider for the Hennepin County COVID isolation hotels. Her interests include women’s health, homelessness, racial disparities in health care and diabetes management.
Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
MPR News’ In Focus is a series of convenings we are committed to leading on Minnesota’s persistent racial disparities. Through conversations with community leaders that are shaped by our curious, engaged audience, MPR News hopes to encourage new connections and relationships that will help Minnesota communities make progress toward equity and inclusion.
Editor’s note: This program originally aired in January 2021 and was rebroadcast on May 12.
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