Welcoming Community: Health Equity

For many individuals from underrepresented groups, disparities in health outcomes continue to persist across various dimensions. Inequitable healthcare access and practices, exposure to environmental contaminants, mental health challenges, and limited access to healthy food and resources, are just a few of the factors that contribute to disparities.

As May is Mental Health Awareness month, we want to challenge you to consider the topic of Health Equity in this month’s newsletter.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines health equity as,”the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.” 

Health equity is a significant factor that can contribute to an individual’s potential to achieve success and be fully engaged in their community. Ensuring that all community members have the ability to access environments and resources to support their health is an important piece to creating equitable, diverse, and inclusive communities.  

Efforts are being undertaken by individuals and groups in northeast Minnesota to promote health equity and provide every individual within our communities with equitable opportunities to become their healthiest selves.  

A recognition of the past and continuing inequities in relation to health equity can help local governments, community members, and organizations advocate for health equity for all community members in the region.  

Welcoming efforts around health equity might consist of:  

  • Identifying and addressing existing barriers related to health for low-income and diverse populations 
  • Encouraging policies and programs that promote access to affordable health services 
  • Supporting community discussion and group learning around the value of health equity 

Considering health equity is essential to understanding a more complete picture of equity across the Northland. Visit the Resources to Explore section below to learn more about current initiatives and stories around health equity in the Northland.  

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman.” —Martin Luther King Jr. 

Continued Learning 

The goal of the Welcoming Community program is to provide continued opportunities for learning and connection related to topics relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our region. In our monthly emails, we highlight a specific equity topic and provide resources related to the monthly theme. 

The theme for the month of May is Health Equity. When exploring the learnings in the Resources to Explore section, we ask that you consider the following question: 

“In terms of health equity in northeast Minnesota, where have we come from, where are we now, and what steps do we need to take to reach an equitable future?” 

Resources to Explore 

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Application Available! Inclusion Learning Cohorts 2023-2024  

Northspan’s Welcoming Community program is excited to announce launch of the application for the 2023-2024 Inclusion Learning Cohorts.   

Throughout the past year, we have been highlighting the progress of the two initial Inclusion Learning Cohorts in rural communities in northeast Minnesota. The Cook County Area and Cloquet Area Inclusion Learning Cohorts have now wrapped up their workshop series and have moved on to planning and embarking on their Community Inclusion Projects!  

We plan to offer the Inclusion Learning Cohort in two communities over the next year. If your community is interested in applying for this opportunity, please review and complete the application. 

The goal of the Inclusion Learning Cohort experience is to:  

  • Build relationships across difference 
  • Learn inclusive community practices  
  • Identify gaps in inclusion and discuss areas of need in the community  
  • Identify a Community Inclusion Project to move forward together (with up to $5000 of funding available)  
  • Connect with other Inclusion Learning Cohort members in the region to share learnings, ideas, resources, and experiences.  

The Inclusion Learning Cohort process involves: 

  • Initial recruitment of community members 
  • Completion of a comprehensive assessment (to hear community voices and understand the current baseline for inclusion in the community)  
  • Reporting the results of the assessment and choosing workshop themes through action planning with community members 
  • Recruiting community members to apply to participate in the 7-workshop series of the Inclusion Learning Cohort  
  • Project selection and planning for continued action to address gaps in inclusion in the community  

Please complete the application below by June 30th, 2023 to be considered for the next Inclusion Learning Cohort community in northeast Minnesota.   

If you have any questions about the program or this application please contact Welcoming Community Program Coordinator Amber Lewis at alewis@northspan.org.

Inclusion Learning Cohort Application 

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Welcoming: In the News! 

Mesabi Tribune: Area Communities Roll Out the Welcome Wagon 

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Photo Credit: Matthew Sauser, Matthew Sauser Photography


Welcoming Events Across the Northland

Many initiatives are ongoing to support Welcoming across northeast Minnesota. Listed below are some in-person and digital opportunities to explore and participate in! 

Do you know about a connection opportunity we could highlight in an upcoming newsletter? Submit events to alewis@northspan.org by June 10th, 2023. 

Love Your Block Mini-Grant
Accepting Applications
(Lincoln Park & Hillside neighborhood)

Application Deadline: June 1st, 2023
Learn more here 

Twin Ports Juneteenth
June 18th, 2023
Harrison Park (3002 W 3rd St, Duluth, MN)
Learn more here 

Duluth NAACP Annual Juneteenth Celebration
June 18th, 2023
Central Hillside Community Center and Park (Duluth, MN)
Learn more here 

3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration
June 18th, 2023, 11AM -3PM
Historic Lake Street (Chisholm, MN)
Learn more here 

The Duluth Lyceum:
“How does the shape of our city shape us?”

June 22, 2023
Duluth Folk School/Dovetail Cafe, Duluth, MN
Learn more here 

Lake Vermilion Traditional Pow Wow
June 23-25
Bois Forte Vermilion Government Center
1610 Farm Rd S, Tower, MN
Learn more here  

AICHO: Birchbark & Cattails
An Homage to Land that Creates Art

May 8th – June 30th, 2023
212 W 2nd Street, Duluth, MN
Learn more here 

Ongoing Events

MN Department of Health
Mental Well-Being and Resilience Learning Community

Learn more here 

Stepping On Up
Safe Bay Opens April 17, Volunteers Needed

Learn more here 

Boundary Waters Connect
Hello Neighbor

Learn more here 

 Cultural Healing Program
Weekly Beading Classes

Learn more here

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Ke go naa! Language Lessons

Learn more here  

Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging
Classes, Workshops, Trainings

Learn more here  

Entrepreneur Fund: Stride
Learn more here  

Members Cooperative Credit Union (MCCU)
Financial Education Webinars

Learn more here 

Banzai Financial Wellness Library

Minnesota Women’s Press
Changemakers Alliance

Learn more here 

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Invite a Friend  

If you know others in your community who are interested in participating with Welcoming Community programming, please share this post so they can learn more & Click Here to join our email list. 

Contact Northspan’s Welcoming Community Program Coordinator Amber Lewis at alewis@northspan.org with any questions.