Health Equity Summit - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Health Equity Summit

The inaugural Health Equity Summit was held in 2019 as a partnership between the Center for Health Equity, the Health Equity Leadership Network (HELN), and the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI). The annual event is designed to bring Group of diverse people smilingtogether health equity leaders and champions from across Minnesota communities to connect, strengthen and amplify our collective efforts.

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2020 Health Equity Summit
2019 Health Equity Summit

2020 Health Equity Summit

health equity summit 2020 logo of web

The 2020 Health Equity Summit will take place on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 from 8 am to 4 pm in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

HELN is comprised of 180+ cross-sector health equity leaders from across Minnesota. Since the inaugural Summit in March 2019, we've been learning from network members what health and racial equity efforts are happening across the state. Building on this learning and the 2019 summit, the 2020 summit will feature a health equity innovation lab, where participants will experiment with human-centered design to identify innovations to advance health equity.

Optum Advisory Services consultants, who are engaged in this project through the Optum Pro-Bono Consulting Program, are helping to design the innovation lab and coach selected teams to host lab stations throughout the day. Participants will walk away with new skills in how to leverage human-centered design for health equity as well as new partnerships to move the work forward.

Summit Goals

  • Co-design actionable strategies that address upstream factors impacting health equity (as outlined in the Health Equity 2019 Summit Overview on pages 12-14)  
  • Leverage human-centered design to advance health equity through cross-sector partnerships
  • Ignite relationships across sectors, communities and areas of expertise

Innovation Lab Call for Ideas

The Health Equity Summit steering committee, comprised of HELN members, is seeking great ideas from across the state on how to advance health equity through cross-sector collaboration. Ideas should address the ideologies, barriers and contributors/indicators to health equity (as outlined in the Health Equity 2019 Summit Overview on pages 12-14). Below is a visual of this framework:

HELN priority issues including ideologies, barriers, and contributors

The Health Equity Summit steering committee will then select 8-10 ideas that align with the goals of the summit. Optum and steering committee members will then work with those individuals/teams to prepare them to host innovation lab stations during the summit. Teams will be provided with a facilitator to help move through the human-centered design process during the innovation lab. There is the potential for small seed funds (approximately $2,000 to $5,000 activation grants) to be distributed to teams who are ready to pilot their ideas after the summit.

What type of ideas are we looking for?

We are looking for ideas from anyone across the state and from any sector. Ideas that are a great fit for the innovation lab are ideas that…

  • Address an ideology, barrier, AND contributor/indicator of health equity (all three)
  • Engage (or want to engage) cross-sector partners
  • Are a new idea OR have already been tested/piloted and want to be replicated or scaled up

What is human-centered design?

Human-center design (HCD) is a creative approach to problem solving that is rooted in a deep understanding of those most impacted by that problem. provides a useful overview of HCD. You do not need to know anything about HCD to submit an idea. If selected, you will receive coaching and support from Optum and Health Equity Summit steering committee members to bring your idea to life during the innovation lab at the summit.

How do you submit an idea?

Submit your idea through the Call for Ideas submission form.

Submissions are due no later than Monday, February 3, 11:59 PM CT.

What happens after you submit an idea?

After ideas are submitted, the Health Equity Summit steering committee will select the top ideas that best align with the goals of the summit and represent diverse communities and geographies across Minnesota. Selected ideas will be invited to complete a second application asking more details about the idea, project or initiative. Our team will be available for assistance in completing the second part if needed. Once part 2 applications are submitted, the steering committee will narrow the list of ideas down once again and select approximately 8-10 ideas to host innovation lab stations at the summit. Selected teams will receive coaching and support from Optum and Health Equity Summit steering committee members leading up to the summit.


Join a WebEx call on Monday, January 27, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. CST to learn more or sign up on HELN’s online Mobilize platform on the HELN webpage if you have further questions.

WebEx information:
Meeting number: 963 157 290
Password: 1234

Join by phone:
1-855-282-6330 United States Toll Free
Access code: 963 157 290

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2019 Health Equity Summit

health equity summit 2019 logo of web

On March 26, 2019, CHE hosted the inaugural Health Equity Summit in partnership with HELN and the 2016-2019 cohort of Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) grantees. The summit brought together 220 leaders from across sectors, geographies, communities and experiences. The theme of the summit was: “Strengthening the Web: Building Our Networks to Activate Health Equity”.

Co-sponsors included the Blue Cross Blue Shield Center for Prevention; the Minnesota Department of Human Services; the University of Minnesota Program in Health Disparities Research; and the Catalyst Initiative at the Minneapolis Foundation.

The goals of the summit were to:

  • Connect - Build connections to others advancing health equity in Minnesota
  • Strengthen – Begin mapping connections and gaps in who is doing what throughout the state
  • Amplify - Leverage collective power to think differently about what is needed and what is possible to advance health equity in our state

Check out the 2019 Health Equity Summit Overview to learn more about the summit and read the notes from participant discussions throughout the day.

health equity summit mural

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Updated Thursday, 30-Jan-2020 14:25:16 CST