This session will review the story of Willmar, a rural Minnesota city in Kandiyohi County, as community members rallied together to understand the unique health needs of its East African and Somali population. Hear about the initiation of the Somali Task Force for Health, the hiring of a health cultural liaison, and the development of a Community Health Worker (CHW) model. Learn how a community’s needs shape various CHW models.

Samantha Nelson, MA

Executive Director
Center for Community Health Improvement

Samantha believes that all people deserve to be well and experience good health. Through the co-creation of community-based health initiatives, barriers are broken down and new connections are made to establish networks and patterns of healthy lifestyle choices, innovate care delivery, and effective health care navigation. Together, through a lens of health equity, we can create positive changes in health education and community health overall.

Nagi Abdullahi, CHW

Community Health Worker
Center for Community Health Improvement

Nagi believes the need for community health workers needs to go beyond an ethnic population and become a model for other community and health liaison positions to act as a real bridge. The work needs to lead to healthy decisions and must be interdisciplinary. As an advocate for community health improvement and health equity, building relationships and convening conversations to further social and environmental innovation is at the forefront of this important work.