Interdisciplinary Team/Collaborative Meeting Paper


School of Nursing, Minnesota State University, Mankato

NURS 482 01- Population and Focused Care for RNs

Dr. XXX (faculty name)


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Interdisciplinary Team/Collaborative Meeting Paper

On September 22, 2020, a virtual Zoom meeting was held with members of Healthy

Communities, which is part of a larger organization called the Health Equity Coalition. During

the course of this two-hour meeting, ten members were present that contributed ideas, comments,

opinions, and suggestions to one another regarding present public health concerns in their

communities. This paper will discuss what the Health Equity Coalition is and what they do, the

current public health issues within their communities, and a reflection elaborating upon this

program and its impact on public health and how it can be enhanced to better the outcomes of

community members.

Collaboration Overview

The Healthy Communities team is made-up of three counties in rural Minnesota, which

include Meeker, McLeod, and Sibley County. This group, according to the Meeker, McLeod, and

Sibley Healthy Communities (MMS HC) (2020) website, “is a collaboration of organizations and

individuals partnering together to promote health and well-being within our communities” (para.

1). The group was created in January of 1995 with the same vision and goal as they abide by to

this day, which is “to partner with communities to encourage and support efforts to impact

environmental change and enhance healthful living” (MSS HC, 2020, para. 3). Heathy

Communities mission is “to advance healthy living within our three counties” (MSS HC, 2020,

para. 2). Their mission strives to identify health gaps within their communities and provide

education and awareness about health inequity that may contribute to the health outcomes of

individuals (V. Gladis, personal communication, September 22, 2020). According to Savage

(2020), “Health inequity describes avoidable gaps in health outcomes” (p. 158). By educating

their communities and spreading awareness of the current public health concerns they are facing,


they are not only making individuals aware of the issues, but they are actively working to engage

community members in realizing their potential in achieving the highest health outcomes for

themselves and all community members (MMS HC, 2020).

Prior to learning more about this group, Vlada Gladis, the program lead, was contacted

through email and asked about the Healthy Communities team. She then agreed to allow the

student nurse to participate in their monthly virtual team meetings that discuss various public

health issues occurring within the three counties. During the virtual meeting, the members within

the group, those who attended the meeting and those who did not, held various occupations. The

members represent nurses, lawyers, health educators, police officers, social workers, teachers,

emergency preparedness community health members, food shelf directors, and members of the

McLeod Alliance for Victims of Domestic Violence. However, Vlada expressed that due to the

current COVID-19 pandemic, many members have quit as their priorities have been shifted to

their occupations.

Public Health Issues

Within this coalition, many public health issues are addressed. These issues vary from

mental health to health disparities within the Hispanic community to obesity. Each year the

group strives to identify at least two public health concerns that are identified within their

communities, and this year the focus is on mental health and the Hispanic community. During

the meeting, the topic of COVID-19 was brought up in several contexts, all of which revolved

around the increasing mental health crisis and the health inequities of Hispanic individuals.

Vlada stated during the meeting that over 40 percent of Hispanic individuals within Minnesota

are experiencing an increase in stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns

(personal communication, September 22, 2020). This is a crucial topic for the health coalition to


address as Hispanics make-up a large portion of the population in McLeod, Meeker, and Sibley

County. Since many of the Hispanic individuals in the area speak little to no English, there is a

growing concern that they are not being properly educated on health resources that are available

to help them during this challenging time.

Collaborative Planning

Healthy Communities focuses their education and awareness programs based on

evidence-based data collected from credible sources like the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Minnesota Department of

Health (MDH). They rely on credible data to determine areas of concern throughout the United

States, Minnesota, and their counties. Their website relies on data and statistics from these

sources for community members to view and interpret. Once the information is collected and

analyzed, the team then determines if the public health concern needs to be addressed within

their communities, and if so, then the team gathers further information and educational resources

to assist in their community involvements of the issue. Some of the data collected from this past

year includes national, state, and county statistics on COVID-19, Hispanic behavior health

surveys, and mental health surveys within the communities.

Additional data that may be useful for the team to utilize would be additional surveys

mailed out to individuals residing in the three counties. These surveys could consist of health

questions varying from physical to mental to emotional health. Another survey that could be

conducted could consist of question relating to health inequities and disparities within the

communities and determining what individuals are at highest risk based on the survey question

answers. However, the challenge with collecting this data is the chance that county residents will

not mail the surveys back. Another barrier is the cost of mailing out surveys. The team has a


budget and finance group that determines how much money to spend each year and what to

spend it on, so the cost of postage to mail-out surveys may be an expenditure that they do not

deem necessary.


The Health Coalition team has 19 partners within the organization. Vlada explained that

the partners are currently word of mouth, so there is no buy-in from these partners. They promote

their group by contacting agencies, organizations, and companies in the local areas and ask them

if they are willing to participate in their health coalition to promote the health and well-being of

community members. The primary reason that these community partners have joined the

coalition is to further promote their mission and goals of achieving positive health outcomes and

eliminating health disparities among community members. Most of the partners work with the

team to receive feedback on current and ongoing public health concerns, and they also provide

the coalition with evidence-based data and resources to be able to share with community

members, which is needed for the team to be successful.

Collaborative Outcomes

The Healthy Communities group has made several positive contributions to their

communities over the past 25 years. Some of these accomplishments include educational

trainings and seminars focusing on various health conditions and illnesses, creating a community

awareness program about health inequities and disparities, starting a Hispanic organization that

addresses health in the Spanish language, and partnering with the Statewide Health Improvement

Partnership (SHIP). The goal of SHIP is “to help Minnesotans live longer, healthier, better lives

by preventing risk factors that lead to chronic disease” (MMS HC, 2020, para. 1). When the

coalition partnered with SHIP, it was a special accomplishment. They are now able to provide


more resources to community members to improve their health and save money (MMS HC,



After participating in the virtual meeting, interviewing the coalition team leader, and

researching the program, it was very evident that this group is working hard to ensure that the

counties of Meeker, McLeod, and Sibley are working together to bring unity and health to

individuals, however, as a community member, I had never heard of this group before. Of course,

they partner with many other healthcare organizations and non-profit groups within the

communities that I am aware of, so through this project I was able to learn about the different

seminars and awareness and educational programs this group has implemented that I have also

heard of or participated in. I believe that this organization is well received by the community as

many individuals participate in their events, but due to the current pandemic, the group is afraid

that their message and various programs is not adequately reaching individuals, which poses a

barrier to their progress and mission.

The coalition has many partnerships that provide additional resources, education, and

donations. An additional partner that would be beneficial to the group is United Way. This

organization is a non-profit group that “is dedicated to advancing the common good. It’s less

about helping one person at a time and more about changing systems to help all of us” (United

Way, 2020, para. 2). This group works individually with a variety of community members, some

of which are struggling with health and well-being. Adding United Way as a partner with the

coalition would not only assist in spreading the word about the group but could identify more

individuals that may benefit from the coalition’s resources.


During this unique time of a global pandemic, Healthy Communities is facing many

challenges that were not an issue before the days of social distancing and limited capacity in

buildings and rooms. The coalition continues to promote their mission of advancing health equity

and promoting the well-being of individuals in a virtual platform instead. However, not every

community member has access to these virtual resources, so an additional way that would still

meet the groups mission and goals would be to make educational flyers and brochures to place in

the buildings of their partners, such as Hutchinson Health, McLeod County Public Health, and

Tri-Valley Migrant Head Start. These are organizations that allow individuals to seek care in-

person, so having handouts that people can physically take home and learn from would be


Another way to promote their mission within their communities would be to host small

events that discuss the current public health concerns, such as mental health and COVID-19.

These events could be small and follow the current COVID-19 guidelines, such as enforcing

social distancing and wearing a mask. This would be a way to continue to engage individuals

through health promotion and education in the form of lectures, videos, PowerPoints, and


Lastly, as this group focuses on the public health concerns that are present with McLeod,

Meeker, and Sibley County, having nurses as coalition members strengthens the programs

missions and goals as the nurses are able to bring additional data, education, and insights to the

group. There were many public health nurses who either attended the virtual meeting or were

mentioned by other group members, so their contribution to the coalition is greatly noticed and

received by coalition members. Nurses are able to use the educational resources provided by the

coalition to further educate their own patients and spread awareness of these public health


concerns, such as health inequity and mental health. Schoon et al. (2019) explains that “PHNs

must recognize and emphasize community assets in planning interventions to promote public

health” (p. 176). Through recognizing community assets, nurses are able to bring further insight

to ongoing community issues and assist the Healthy Communities team in identifying ways to

address and resolve the current issues.



Meeker, McLeod, Sibley Healthy Communities. (2020). About us. Retrieved from

Savage, C. L. (2020). Public/community health and nursing practice: Caring for populations (2nd

ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.

Schoon, P. M., Porta, C. M., & Schaffer, M. A. (2019). Population-based public health clinical

manual: The Henry Street Model for nurses (3rd ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau


United Way. (2020). What is united way? Retrieved from

Contact Person

Person Interviewed:

Vlada Gladis



Sibley County Public Health and Human Services 111 8th St., P.O. Box 237 Gaylord, MN 55334