Lucinda Jesson

Recent Articles

Celebrate and take action during Black History Month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Lucinda Jesson and Edward McDonald

Guest Commentators

 

 

Black History Month is a time to celebrate and recognize the rich accomplishments of African Americans. Many of the 311,000 Black/African American Minnesotans, including 76,000 African immigrants, have contributed significantly to Minnesota through strong cultural diversity, business development, consumer spending, government revenue, employment opportunities and trade relations with African countries. As we applaud the growing strength of African American communities during the month of February, we also encourage more families to adopt and provide foster care for children, especially the disproportionate number of African American children in the foster care system. One of the greatest memories an African American child, or any child can have, is the love and care of family. Of the 467 children in the foster care system in need of adoptive families as of January 1 of this year, 140 (30 percent) are African American — a disproportionately large percentage compared to the number of African American children in Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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Adoption celebrated during Black History Month

During February, Black History Month, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Council on Black Minnesotans, and several nonprofit and community organizations are working together to encourage families to adopt children waiting in the foster care system, particularly African American children who are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system. “All children need safe, stable, loving homes to thrive,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “During Black History Month, we are celebrating the African American families who have adopted and encouraging other families to consider adoption. We, along with our community partners, are here to provide support before, during and after adoption.”

Added Edward McDonald, executive director of the Council on Black Minnesotans, “As we celebrate the rich history of African Americans during the month of February, let us also use the month to begin doubling our efforts for the remainder of the year encouraging more African American families to adopt and provide foster care for children who are wards of the state, especially the disproportionate number of African American children. The greatest historical remembrance an African American child, or any child, can have is one that is highlighted by the love and care of a family.”

Throughout February adoption-specific events include:

The Minnesota Heart Gallery is featuring foster children in need of adoptive families in its large lobby display at the East Side Neighborhood Services Building, 1700 Second St. Continue Reading →

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Help available for Minnesota’s SNAP recipients as benefits change

Help is available for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients who will see two changes in their benefits amounts during October and November 2013. On Oct. 1, benefits increased slightly for some SNAP recipients to reflect the costs of living. On Nov. 1, most recipients will see their benefits decrease due to the end of the extra benefits provided by the federal government during the recession. Continue Reading →

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New approach to health care uses holistic model

 
Focus on wellness and prevention is the healthcare wave of the future 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

NorthPoint Health and Wellness, Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health, Hennepin County Medical Center and Metropolitan Health Plan are partners in Hennepin Health, a local accountable care organization (ACO) pilot program that began last January. ACOs are alternate healthcare models, where groups of partners such as hospitals, clinics and physicians voluntary join together to serve a specific population. Its ultimate goal is to improve health care and reduce costs. The Hennepin Health model serves low-income single adults ages 21-64 without dependents living with them, with incomes at or below 75 percent of poverty. It started with 4,884 enrollees: Nearly 70 percent are people of color, and 60 percent either have some level of chemical dependency, mental health needs, chronic pain or unstable housing. Continue Reading →

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Medicaid expansion: more insured at state-budget savings

ACA advocates predict uninsured Blacks will drop from 20 to eight percent
 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Greater United Way held a “community conversation” December 4 at the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it can help low-income uninsured Minnesotans. Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center CEO Stella Whitney-West, HealthPartners Government and Community Relations Vice President Donna Zimmerman and Jonathan Watson, Minnesota Association of Community Health Programs associate director spoke to an audience mainly composed of local health professionals. One-half of NorthPoint’s clientele are on Medicaid, the federal health program for low-income individuals and families. Thirty-seven percent are uninsured and 80 percent are from communities of color, Whitney-West pointed out. Continue Reading →

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Task force prepares for Affordable Care Act provisions

 

 
Group offers recommendations to ensure health disparities are addressed

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

One of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) major provisions is the creation of insurance exchanges or state-based marketplaces for small businesses and people without employer health coverage. Although these exchanges, designed to offer choices of affordable health plans, are not mandated until 2014, Minnesota officials are now meeting to decide how to set them up. Will these insurance exchanges, which must be in place beginning in 2014, address health disparities? This was the oft-asked topic at the January 17 state health insurance exchange advisory task force meeting at Shiloh International Temple in North Minneapolis. Health disparities “are a high-priority issue,” says Task Force Chair and State Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman at the four-hour meeting at Shiloh Temple. Continue Reading →

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