Episode 31 of the More than Health Care: A Community Health Conversation podcast is now available on the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ website and on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. Every other week, a new episode uncovers keys to collaboration and holistic health in pursuit of improved health outcomes and lower costs for all.

Since the recording of this podcast the world has changed in profound and significant ways. In fact, that is an understatement given the new focus on social reforms being catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the demand for social justice in relation to the killing of George Floyd.

To juxtapose the content of the podcast, recorded early in 2020, with the reality of today’s state of affairs, Kim Pepper, chief engagement officer at  Pillsbury United Communities, answers several questions related to the organization’s  current actions within their Minneapolis community. Click here to view.

People, Place, and Prosperity are the impact areas that Pillsbury United Communities in Minneapolis, Minnesota focus on. And while each area may necessitate specific goals, systems, and approaches, all are interconnected in Pillsbury’s overriding efforts to address systematic issues and empower the people they serve through a unified community voice and positive civic engagement.
Among his myriad of responsibilities as president and CEO, Adair Mosley has fostered growth in Pillsbury’s seven social enterprises. “We’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit as an organization,” says Mosley. And today, this includes a newspaper, radio station, and grocery store, with each providing personal, social, and economic power to the community. Mosley feels these revenue-generating entities are vital to developing relevant skills for workers through experiential learning as well as providing a source of income for the organization. “It’s standing up other assets in the community that start to build the skills and capacity of the community,” he states.
Through her position as director of community health, Tsega Tamene works to address health inequities that affect all aspects of care and well-being for those served by Pillsbury. She feels this is accomplished through developing cross-sector partnerships that account for the distinct cultural differences, needs, and priorities of each neighborhood. This includes providing more authentic, actionable community health needs assessments, innovative and sustainable care delivery models, and developing community leaders who can, through lived experience, authentically represent the unique individuals they speak for. “What we wanted to be certain to do is inform and transform the way we think and speak about this work, but also have some clear, actionable objectives that we’re walking toward,” Tamene stated. And with this clear understanding, progress is being made.
To provide fresh and healthy food while also offering learning opportunities for youth, Pillsbury invested in urban farming and community garden projects. Managing this operation is Ethan Neal, who first started with the organization as a case manager for adults with special needs. However, when it was discovered that he had a farming background, his journey to becoming food systems manager was inevitable. In alignment with Pillsbury’s principles, Neal works to meet the diverse and authentic needs of the communities that connect to Pillsbury through their four neighborhood centers. “We get to have this opportunity to really dive deep into how do we serve these communities the right way. … And that's always going to be a challenge,” Neal explains. But he meets that challenge with hard work and an appreciation that he is using his specialized skills to help people thrive.
Mosley points out that all who work at Pillsbury are striving hard to create positive change through generative and systems-level work. And through social enterprises, cross-sector partnerships, developing community leaders, and providing sustenance and opportunity through urban agriculture, it’s clear that Pillsbury United Communities is fulfilling its mission and vision to the benefit of thousands.
Listen to Adair Mosley, Tsega Tamene, and Ethan Neal of Pillsbury United Communities as they describe how their work, through social enterprises, cross-sector health partnerships, and urban agriculture, has worked to educate and empower its community members in Episode 31 of the  More than Health Care Podcast  available through the Alliance website or subscribe on the Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Spotify apps

About the Podcast

While many are realizing that collaboration and holistic approaches are the solution, the health care and human services sectors are struggling to find the right formula to realize the full potential. The More than Health Care podcast is designed to help organizations overcome barriers to partnerships resulting from cultural differences, financial pressures, and rules and regulations. 

In addition to showcasing inspiring examples of integration from across the country, featured experts will expose the myths, misconceptions, and shortcomings of efforts to address the social determinants of health through collaboration across sectors. 

This podcast is presented by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Ascentria Care Alliance, Beech Acres Parenting Center, and KVC Health Systems. Cohosts Jill Huynh, vice president of new business development at Beech Acres, and Tim Johnstone, executive vice president of community services at Ascentria, and producer Erin Keltner, vice president of clinical services at KVC Health Systems, work at the intersection of health and human services, bringing the expertise and practical experience to uncover key takeaways for improving health care and human services integration. 

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Learn more about the Alliance's efforts to improve population health and well-being.