American Indian youth encouraged to consider healthcare careers at summit on April 15

AIYWS_Logo_Final-01Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan to address youth in their medical lab coats at end of day

Hennepin Healthcare’s Talent Garden series continues its successful outreach to young people with its American Indian Youth with Stethoscopes Summit on Saturday, April 15 from 9-3:15 p.m. American Indian men and women ages 12-18 who are interested in learning about healthcare careers have filled all of the slots for this summit – the first one that is specific for American Indian youth.

“Nearly a third are from out of town – and at last count, we have 28 tribal affiliations among the registrants from Minnesota and Wisconsin,” explains Aida Strom (Sisitowan Wahpetowan Dakota), Health Equity Community Engagement Program Manager at Hennepin Healthcare.  “Each of our Youth Summit participants receives a white lab coat with his or her name embroidered on it – and for this event, we’re also including their tribal affiliation. We are so excited about the outpouring of interest for this event and hope that it’s indicative of the future of our healthcare workforce.”

Dr. Thomas Wyatt (Shawnee/Quapaw), Senior Medical Director of Emergency Services at Hennepin Healthcare, is one of the panelists who will meet with every one of the student groups throughout the day.

“We need more American Indian representation in healthcare. We have a long history of caring for others – and we can all make a difference in people’s lives. Whether it’s as a physician, a nurse, a technician role – everyone has an essential purpose in the health and wellbeing of our patients. We are honored to be here to encourage and support our future healthcare colleagues.”

Similar to the other Youth Summits, the American Indian Youth with Stethoscopes Summit will begin with a keynote speaker (Dr. Mary Owen from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth) and introduction of panelists who will share their experience and tips for pursuing a career in healthcare. Participants will rotate in groups to experience hands-on learning activities throughout various stations in dentistry, ultrasound, dermatology, pathology, and in the Simulation Center caring for “patients” as they deliver babies and stitch wounds.

Panelists also include Dr. Casey Dorr from Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute, and medical students of the U of M Med School chapter of ANAMS (the Association of Native American Medical Students)  whose U of M chapter leaders have embraced the event and will also escort students throughout the day. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has also greatly contributed to the success of this event.

“This Summit will differ from others as we incorporate traditional indigenous practices into the day,” said Strom. “We will open with a traditional prayer offered in the morning, and later, we will be entertained with traditional dancers and drums. Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan will conclude our day with a sendoff speech when we reconvene as a group at 2:30 p.m.”

What:             American Indian Youth with Stethoscopes Summit
When:            Saturday, April 15, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Where:           Hennepin Healthcare’s Clinic & Specialty Center
715 S. 8th St., Minneapolis, MN 55404
Free parking is available in the ramp beneath the clinic building; entrance is located at 821 S. Park Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55404

The American Indian Youth with Stethoscopes Summit is part of a series of initiatives and events organized by Hennepin Healthcare through its Talent Garden program to expose youth to careers in medicine, while connecting youth to high quality work-based learning opportunities and creating access to a network of healthcare professionals of color.

Hennepin Healthcare releases its first annual Health Equity Report

Hennepin Healthcare’s first annual Health Equity Report has been released for the year 2022. The 22-page report by its Health Equity Department outlines the organization’s achievements in the areas specific to diversity, equity, inclusion/belonging, and health equity.

“This report summarizes the first chapter in our journey to become what does not yet exist,” explains Dr. Nneka O. Sederstrom, Hennepin Healthcare’s Chief Health Equity Officer. “We’re envisioning a new path to serve our communities in the way they deserve – reaching outcomes that are not influenced by race.”

From nine “Collective” affinity groups to help support a deeper sense of belonging for diverse employees – to Hennepin Healthcare’s Compass Program, where team members explore and reflect racial inequities in healthcare systems, the comprehensive report contains many innovative projects developed by the Health Equity team, including its Talent Garden. A diverse workforce of healthcare providers is being grown by this program. According to the report, 296 youths of color attended five Talent Garden Youth Summits between December 2021 and December 2022 to introduce them to a variety of healthcare careers.

In 2022, Hennepin Healthcare was one of the first healthcare organizations to meet or exceed rigorous requirement for national health equity accreditation by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The system earned its Health Equity Accreditation Plus accreditation, which recognizes organizations that lead the market in providing culturally and linguistically sensitive services, and work to reduce health care disparities. Hennepin Healthcare was one of two healthcare organizations in the country to receive this recognition – the first time NCQA has accredited healthcare systems.

“To use medical terms, we’re implementing an essential ‘plan of care’ that’s both intentional and transformational for our patients, communities, and team members. We couldn’t feel more dedicated to this important work,” said Sederstrom.

About Hennepin Healthcare
Hennepin Healthcare is an integrated system of care that includes HCMC, a nationally recognized Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and acute care hospital, as well as a clinic system with primary care clinics located in Minneapolis and across Hennepin County. It is operated by Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., a subsidiary corporation of Hennepin County. Learn more about Hennepin Healthcare’s commitment to health equity at