Nowhere was the importance of partnerships and connections in meeting grand challenges so strongly emphasized than in the keynote address on the final day of the conference. In that address, University of Minnesota Provost Karen Hanson stated that the grand challenges, which are outlined in the University’s strategic plan, are meant to “facilitate people’s ability to look up from their daily work” — to see who else is doing similar work and might be a partner, to explore and experiment, and to reflect and adjust when something isn’t quite working. Thus, the University’s strategic plan connects us, as employees of the University who engage with our world, in meaningful ways.
During the FD center meeting, we were inspired by Latino Health Access Executive Director and founder America Bracho, M.D., who challenged us to engage deeply with people in our partner communities. “The answers are in collaboration with others,” she said, emphasizing the great power in listening and collaborating — in “walking together” with our partner communities, as well as our professional colleagues, to bring transformational change.
The Health and Nutrition Portfolio Plan outlines similar intentions of making connections in order to have impact in our communities. As we draw closer to evaluation the portfolio plan’s effectiveness, we would like to share the progress made in the following areas:
- Actions taken to date as a result of FD regional visits and Stephanie Heim’s conversations with Health and Nutrition staff.
- Efforts to build capacity to work across the Spectrum of Prevention.
- Meeting staffing needs.
- Use of technology for evaluation, marketing, and communications.
- Implementing the Minnesota Food Charter Network.
Stephanie Heim, Associate Program Director