Live Your Healthy Lyfe Reflection: Building Community

Sep 02, 2022 by Asfia Qaadir, DO

PrairieCare was proud to join the first Live Your Healthy Lyfe block party in North Minneapolis on August 20th! The event was envisioned and led by community advocate and businessperson, Mr. Teto Wilson who started Wilson’s Image Barbers and Stylists. He brought together local business coalitions and sponsorships across several healthcare organizations to make the event possible. Live Your Healthy Lyfe marked a joyous commitment to improving the health of Black and African American families living in North Minneapolis.   

“[The] most inspirational moment was seeing the outpouring of community partnerships,” said Tahnahga Myers, Spiritual Care Chaplain at PrairieCare. PrairieCare sponsored the event along with Children’s Minnesota, North Memorial Health, Gillette Children’s, Northside Urban Coalition, West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, and many others. Meanwhile, Bellmont Partners played an integral role in organizing, marketing, and covering the event. As part of the block party, we had an educational and resource booth set up with volunteers answering questions about mental health and our services. While brochures and fidgets were plentiful, the opportunity for impactful conversation and community were the main attraction for PrairieCare volunteers that day. “We met teens looking for support through the transition back to school, adults who were looking for resources to help friends, and several people looking to network and help educate community members on mental health,” said Todd Archbold who is the CEO of PrairieCare.   

Life Your Healthy Lyfe was an empowering invite for the Northside community to embrace their health, honoring all dimensions of wellness, including spiritual, psychological, and physical. The event featured live, hands-on training by healthcare experts to members of the neighborhood on topics such as lifesaving first-aid and safe Narcan administration. There was also education surrounding mental healthcare, chemical dependency, primary care, pediatric health, and healthy living. Creative activities and experiences such as touring an ambulance and connecting participants to BIPOC therapists worked to decrease fear and stigma around accessing healthcare. “It was an honor to outreach in the community and for POC to see someone that looks like them represent something so important such as mental health care services,” reflected Antonio Burks, LPN, “I could sense the comfort and ease of curious individuals who inquired about what we do and the services we provide.”  

Dr. Qaadir (right) is speaking on stage at Live Your Healthy Lyfe.

Dr. Qaadir, Clinical Consultant to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at PrairieCare took the opportunity on stage to talk about the impact of historical roots of racial trauma in healthcare settings and the need for Trauma-Informed Care across mental healthcare services. Highlighting the importance of PrairieCare’s role to increase mental healthcare access within BIPOC communities through volunteering and outreach, Todd Archbold aptly stated “You don’t have to be a patient to get help from PrairieCare.”   

As PrairieCare continues to train its own staff in culturally responsive Trauma-Informed Care and Collaborative Problem Solving the next couple of months, understanding the experiences of our BIPOC patients and families is essential. As the “Y” in “Lyfe” signifies, better clinical outcomes begin with asking important questions:  

  • Why are there disparities in healthcare access and health outcomes for families identifying as Black, African American, Asian, Native American, and Latinx?  
  • Why are there barriers to accessing timely and quality mental healthcare for our BIPOC youth?  
  • Why does Minnesota have the largest racial gap in educational achievement scores despite similar school attendance rates for students?  
  • Why do we, as dedicated health-caregivers, need to learn about trauma and its impact on our youth experiencing depression, anxiety, substance use, suicidality, and learning difficulties?  

Why is a brave word that opens a door that leads to solutions and hope. Why is the beginning of a courageous conversation that compassionate healthcare workers like us can help model within our own teams. Events such as Life Your Healthy Lyfe underscore PrairieCare’s determination to be part of the conversation. As Todd Archbold said, “Supporting the health of all individuals and the communities that surround us is core to our mission.”  

Spotlighting the event, were musical performances by a variety of local artists conveying messages of love, hope, and healing. While Mr. Teto Wilson noted the importance of this inaugural event, he was clear that the goal is to continue to have similar events throughout the year to sustain the momentum begun at Live Your Healthy Lyfe. Recalling setting up the PrairieCare booth in the early hours of the morning, Tahnahga mused that the “so-called pop-up shade tent takes more than one person. You need at least four people for the legs and one tall person for the center.” A good metaphor, indeed, of the collaborative effort needed in continuing this critical work.  

As we reflect on Live Your Healthy Lyfe, we are excited to see the event continue to grow. The highlight of the day was to connect with the community and have conversations that were real, supportive, and educational. Bringing this mission into clear focus, Mr. Keith George, who was also in attendance that day, said, “To serve the community you have to come into the community.”     

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