Minnesota State Innovation Model (SIM)

Cross-Driver Evaluation of Community Engagement and Partnerships

State Innovation Model: Emerging Professions Learning Community (SIM EPLC), MDH, 2015 – 2016


Rainbow Research, in partnership with The Paramedic Foundation, Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance, MVNA, and North Memorial, organized and facilitated a learning community that brought together the emerging professions of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Community Paramedics (CPs), their supporting health care teams and a broad network of stakeholders for the first time in a series of six highly interactive events and dialogue about critical issues facing their fields. The learning community explored challenges, best practices, and opportunities for moving forward together around key issues including: Role Delineation, Payment Models, Multi-Disciplinary Teams, and Supervision and Management.

CHWs and CPs play key roles linking formal mechanisms of health care delivery to clients/patients at the neighborhood level and supporting patients to address their holistic health needs.  Minnesota has led the nation in recognizing the role these emerging professions can play in population health improvement efforts, lowering health care costs, and reducing health disparities; however, there have not been many forums for stakeholders, clients, and practitioners of these two fields to join together to discuss emerging opportunities and challenges of fully integrating these fields into Minnesota’s health care system and accountable care organizations (ACO’s).

This learning community, which convened over 140 unique individuals from over 60 organizations, was successful in increasing knowledge, building relationships, and moving individuals and agencies towards identifying and taking action. Over the course of the five months series, participants identified key challenges facing the emerging professions of Community Health Workers and Community Paramedics. SIM EPLC Core Team Members helped identify key short and long term goals to address each of the five issue areas going forward. At the last event, participants further identified actions steps for each goal and assigned relevant responsible person(s) where possible.

Uniquely Rainbow Research

Facilitation techniques that focus on dialogue and relationships building:

We used a number of techniques from Art of Hosting and Appreciative Inquiry to engage all participants in meaningful dialogue and reflection, including World Cafe, Fishbowl and other opportunities for large group, small group, pairs, and individual reflection and engagement. Participants reported these techniques as a strength of our series. As the learning community progressed, we adopted Network Weaving principles that describe and facilitate strategic partnerships and interpersonal relationships to promote innovation and cross-sector collaboration.

Starting with local leadership:

We could not have done this work without the co-leadership from the outset of local leaders in the fields of Community Health Workers and Community Paramedicine. Leaders from the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance, the Paramedic Foundation, MVNA, and North Memorial Health Care were co-conveners of this project.