Health Action Council and Hays Companies Host Multi-Stakeholder Community Health Discussion


March 7, 2018

Patty Starr, Executive Director of Health Action Council, in association with members of Hays Companies, led the first Multi-Stakeholder Collaborative Community Health Discussion in Minneapolis, Minnesota on January 18th, 2018. The event was staged in Edina, Minnesota and was attended by more than 20 local community leaders including employers, physicians, nurses, social workers, health strategists, entrepreneurs, and fitness experts.  The purpose of the meeting was to facilitate a dialogue across a diverse set of stakeholders in an attempt to answer the deceivingly simple question, “How do we improve the health of our individuals, employers, organizations, and the community as a whole?”


It’s a tricky question because it implies that there is a single actionable answer that can be effectively executed by an individual organization, entity, or authority. With the US far outspending other high-income countries on health care; with seemingly unstoppable increases in the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases; and with the country ranking last or near last in health system performance in the categories of access, administrative efficiency, equity, and health care outcomes 1, it is blatantly obvious that our current approaches to improving the health of our citizenry and communities from within the health care system are not working. 


The question then becomes what do we do? How do we work to improve people’s health from outside the health care system? How can we work together to improve the health of individuals, business, and the community? How do we help employees become more involved in their health and assist them in making better purchasing and management decisions prior to their entrance into the system? How do we support an environment where the right care is sought out and received in the right setting? How do we get the members of our community to start thinking about and taking ownership of their health? The answer is that we have to look for new ways to improve our efforts through new collaborations and new partnerships.


And that was the impetus for hosting this initial Collaborative Community Health Discussion. Topics such as the social determinants of health, health engagement, and health literacy were discussed at length from varying perspectives. Frustrations from employers relating to employee wellness programs, rising premium costs, inefficient use of health care, and subordinate’s unhealthy behaviors were addressed. Testimonials from the actions and efforts of social workers, nurses, and fitness experts illustrated deficiencies in different systems from a ground level, community perspective. Health Action Council and Hays Companies were honored to have the opportunity to host the event for this exact discussion, driving the conversation in an attempt to isolate opportunities for collaboration. 


Collaborating to solve complex social problems is not uncommon. For example, one of the reasons people form governments is to solve problems collectively that the people cannot solve individually. The same holds true for what academic circles call “Collective Impact” which is, “the commitment of a group of individuals from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem 2.” Our first Community Health Discussion gathered Minneapolis’ own ‘group of important actors from different sectors’ to share their different perspectives on the health problems facing the communities of the Twin Cities. The next such meeting, taking place April 10th, 2018, will attempt to hone in on an agenda where these stakeholders can begin to take action to solve some of these problems. Hopefully, this diverse group can come together to begin working towards a health initiative that will lead to the improved health of employees and members of the Minneapolis community.              





  1. Commonwealth Fund (2018). Mirror, Mirror 2017: International Comparison Reflects Flaws and Opportunities for Better U.S. Health Care retrieved from 

  2. Kania, J., Hanleybrown, F., & Splansky-Juster, J. (2014). Essential Mindset Shifts for Collective Impact retrieved from 

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