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Community Input

You know your health and your community best. We recognize and value your expertise — and believe that your experiences, ideas, perspectives, insights and needs are essential community wisdom. That’s why our approach to future planning will focus on your input as we develop strategies to transform our healthcare system.

Every experience with healthcare and health systems is deeply personal. Sometimes this means sharing an experience can feel painful or difficult. We know and understand this may be the case — that’s why we promise to respect and honor your feedback by working directly with you as we plan for a more equitable future at Hennepin Healthcare.

By sharing your real-life experiences and needs, you will help us create a plan that is leaps and bounds better than what we might develop without collaborating with you. Together, we can innovate new ways of community-inspired care, as well as address gaps and opportunities for improvement within our system. We thank you for your feedback and commit to approaching it with care and subtlety.

community members using dry erase board

Our Local History

To build a more equitable future, it is helpful and instructive to recognize our past. Our hospital, for example, is located in the Elliot Park Neighborhood and is one of many aspects of our regional landscape that has been shaped by several important socio-historical realities. By looking at what has happened, we can ask fundamental questions about what ultimately became today’s realities (and why), keeping this important historical context in mind as we build a vibrant future together.


Violent Acquisition of Dakota (Indigenous) Land

mni owe sni coldwater spring
The Dakota and Ojibwe people were the primary inhabitants of the land that is present-day Minnesota. In 1820, the U.S. Indian Agency was established at Fort Snelling and Indigenous communities were violently removed from their land. A wave of anti-Indigenous laws and policies followed, starting with the Indian Removal Act. The U.S.-Dakota War occurred in 1862. Elliot Park is situated on violently acquired Dakota land and various industries have been built upon that land, using its vital resources — many of which are sacred to the Dakota people. These industries have since made their owners very wealthy, while leaving Indigenous communities with almost no decision-making power over the land.
1900 - 1950

Redlining, Segregation and Gentrification

minneapolis redlining map

Homeownership is an effective way to build wealth. Unfortunately, the Minneapolis metro area has the largest disparity between Black and white homeownership of any major metropolitan area in the country. This was by design.

Throughout the early 1900s, redlining was used to reduce wealth building among African Americans and people of color by selectively blocking home financing and home purchases by race. In the early 2000s, the Elliot Park neighborhood was partially gentrified in the area closest to Downtown East and West — due to development pressure from downtown residents. As a result, rent became unaffordable in Elliot Park for Black residents and homeownership unaffordable for residents of all races.


Interstate Highway Development and Displacement

I35 highway

Construction of the interstate freeway system began in the late 1950s throughout the Twin Cities metro area. These freeways were constructed in areas with a higher density of Black residents and low-income residents.

Highways 35W and I-94 threatened or destroyed many communities’ physical and financial assets, as well as economic and social networks. The effects are still being felt today.

2000 - 2015

Environmental Harm

environmental harm map

Elliot Park is framed by both highways 35W and I-94, so residents are more likely to be exposed to air pollutants that affect overall air quality. In addition, the neighborhood has fewer trees than the citywide average, resulting in poorer air quality and increased land temperature in the area. Elliot Park averages 10.8 degrees hotter than areas that were not redlined.

Common Questions

Hennepin Healthcare is excited to begin community engagement and future planning to create a more just and equitable healthcare experience in Hennepin County.

The community served by our healthcare system will be directly engaged to share thoughts, ideas and wishes for how they would like to receive healthcare. Collectively, we will create a vision for the future of Hennepin Healthcare that improves community benefit, access, outcomes and value.

The effort will seek to listen, learn, collaborate and create new systems that integrate future organizational plans with the desires and goals of the diverse and vibrant community we are honored to serve.

This project will specifically welcome and reach out to hourly staff, nurses, our team members of color, patients of color and members of our community that have experienced discrimination or increased barriers when accessing healthcare. We will also engage broader community members representing public and private sectors who also want to build a future that includes excellent health for all. Ultimately, community wisdom means that the lived experiences of patients, team members, families, neighbors and the community at large inform how Hennepin Healthcare services show up to care for people in the ways they both need and want to seek and receive care.

For Hennepin Healthcare to fulfill our mission of delivering equitable care — now and in the future, we must listen to and learn from you.

You know your community best. We are seeking to know more about you and your loved ones’ healthcare needs, experiences and challenges — as well as your boldest desires for equitable care.

You should share your ideas if you want to see them not just being heard but potentially creating a beneficial impact in your community. The process we have developed values and includes wide-ranging and unique perspectives.

If you have ideas about building a more just, equitable and responsive healthcare system, please share them — because we absolutely want to hear from you.

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