General sessions - Community Health Conference - Minnesota Dept. of Health

General sessions and speakers


From Separation to Relationship: How Change Happens in Living Systems, with Deborah Frieze

Thursday, October 3, 10:00-11:45 AM (The Centre)

Many of our big systems—education, healthcare, government, business—are failing our communities because they no longer have the capacity to fix the problems they were created to solve. These failures persist despite valiant efforts by people of good intent to fix them. What can we do to promote systems that value relationship and well-being over separation, silos, and individual goals?

In this interactive talk, we’ll explore the underlying beliefs in our culture about how change happens. It’s not always a straight line from start to finish; sometimes it’s a curve. Deborah Frieze will share the "two loops" model of change to explain the complexity we face every day. She will help us identify and visualize roles inside and outside of dominant systems. There is a purpose for each of us; we don’t all have to be “trailblazers” to influence systems. Deborah will lead us through conversation about ways you can choose to support new ideas, preserve public health values, and transition to new ways of doing things in your own system.

Deborah is an author, entrepreneur, and activist. Her award-winning book (co-authored with Margaret Wheatley), Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now, profiles pioneering leaders who walked out of organizations failing to contribute to the common good—and walked on to build resilient communities. She is a founding partner of the Boston Impact Initiative, an impact investing fund focused on economic justice. Deborah is also founder of the Old Oak Dojo, an urban learning center where neighbors gather to rediscover how to create healthy and resilient communities.


Parental Incarceration is a Shared Sentence. What is the Public Health Response?

Thursday, October 3, 3:30-4:45 PM (The Centre)

Everyone knows someone who has spent at least a night in the county jail. What do you know about the people in Minnesota’s county jails and their families? What effects do incarceration and separation have on their children? Children of incarcerated parents are concealed by stigma and lack of awareness about this commonplace adverse childhood experience (ACE).

To give a voice to the child’s experience with incarceration, our speakers, who include members of the SCHSAC Children of Incarcerated Parents Workgroup, will share their lived experiences—as an adult child of an incarcerated parent, a caregiver of children with an incarcerated parent, a community leader, and a law enforcement professional.

Public health colleagues, partner agencies, and community organizations will be challenged to take action to mitigate and prevent the negative effects of parental incarceration on children. Hear how the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association is partnering with local public health to initiate changes across systems to increase family resiliency.

Panelists: Bill Hutton (Minnesota Sheriff’s Association), John Soghigian (early childhood resources advocate and parent consultant), and Tierre Webster (Next Chapter Ministries)

Moderator: Dawn Beck (Olmsted County)


Closing session: Jan Malcolm

Friday, October 4, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM (The Centre)