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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

H&N to Make Connections for Change in Minnesota Communities

“Creating a stronger Minnesota amidst grand challenges” was the theme at the annual Extension Fall Program Conference held October 5 through 7 in Bloomington. Many conference sessions emphasized partnership and connecting with one another to meet grand challenges. Of course, these strategies also enrich our work and the impacts we have in our communities.

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:
To learn more about work being done in these areas, click on any one of the links above, or read the October Portfolio Plan Update.

Renee Obrecht-Como, Program Director — Operations
Stephanie Heim, Associate Program Director

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