The People’s Theory of Sickness and Disease is the foundational frame that informs all of our models and curricula; it is an outgrowth of people’s experience that is articulated to preserve their authentic participation and self study.

Community Systems Navigators

In this culturally adaptable model, community residents are trained by elders at our facility to become “Navigators.” Navigators are matched to families with similar life experiences and they help reconnect people to their culture and heritage in order to help build the self-efficacy necessary to transition from welfare to work. This model underscored our work in the Promise Neighborhood.

Community Care Giving System

This is the model underscoring our work with Allina Health on the Backyard Initiative. Research shows that social support networks are needed for residents to be active partners in their own health and the health of their community. As part of The Backyard Initiative, residents draw upon their own knowledge, skills and cultural values to take care of themselves, their families, friends and neighbors. This ultimately builds the community’s collective capacity to address the root causes of illness—the social conditions that impact the health of our communities.

Elder Coaching

In the Elder Coaching Model, a cultural elder partners with health care institutions to provide culturally-specific care settings for patients. The cultural elder also coaches patients on how to navigate health care settings and interact with health care providers.

Birthing Team

The Birthing Team Model uses birthing teams, personal maps to wellness, elder coaching, healing circles and other culturally-specific practices to prevent infant mortality and preterm birth. In this model women are supported by a birth attendant who uses culturally-specific approaches to create healthy pregnancies, births, and postpartum experiences.

Cultural Knowledge Production

The Cultural Wellness Center’s Invisible College provides cultural immersion experiences for public health and social science researchers who want to strengthen their ability to conduct research alongside cultural communities.