UNIITE - Understanding the Need for
Interfaith / Intercultural Togetherness & Education

January 5, 2006
Meeting at St. Cloud Hospital, Birch Room


Minutes by Angie Simon


UNIITEís Proposed 2006 "Health Care & World Religions Series": Exploring possible future support from CentraCare Foundation (CCF), St. Cloud Hospital Diversity Committee (SCHDC), and Project HEAL

Malcolm and Mariani Nazareth, Paul Knutson, David Waage, Bret Reuter and Angie Simon (who took notes in view of the Minutes)

Date -Time -Place
Thursday, January 5, 2006, 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. Meeting was supposed to begin at 3.30 pm, but Mr. Reuter was delayed, and we started a little before 4. Meeting was held in St. Cloud Hospital (Birch Room?).

Predetermined Agenda
Malcolm had sent around a 21-page tentative CentraCare Foundation grant proposal from UNIITE. He had emailed it, the morning of the meeting, to Reuter, Waage, and Knutson. In reference to that document the meeting that very afternoon was held to assess:

  1. Would CCF and SCHDC be willing to utilize your connections in the HCC and Central Minnesota Community Foundation, for example, to enable us to pull off this series this spring? This would mean that with your encouragement CentraCare Foundation, Health Partners, Project H.E.A.L., St. Ben's, St. John's, St. Cloud State, Coborns, Inc, and others would each put in a piece of the funding needed for UNIITE to make program implementation possible locally without having further recourse to outside foundations?
  2. Would CCF and SCHDC be able or willing to offer UNIITE office space from which to operate with immediate effect so that we can utilize a computer, printer, phone, fax, copier, and other such facilities along with space in which to conduct planning and training meetings for the duration of the planning and implementation of this program in 2006.
  3. Would CCF and SCHDC let us know what time next week would be suitable for you to attend our first Planning Committee meeting, and would you be willing to host this one (assuming that we will receive a donation of office space later)?

Since nobody representing St. Cloud Hospital had been able to read the 21-page document, Bret invited Malcolm to state what he expected from the meeting and to provide some background. What was the grant money being requested for?

An Account of the Meeting

Malcolm:  I was informed only yesterday about todayís meeting, so had to pull things together at very short notice.

UNIITE has just received planning grant money from Blue Cross/Blue Sheild. Hoping for possible funding to implement the 2006 series from CentraCare Foundation and others. Looking for implementation support also from HeathPartners, Project H.E.A.L, Coborn's and Xcel Energy, for example. Money is needed for educational events implementation for 5 sessions of 4 hours each and an all-day Complementary Therapies Festival.

Iím looking for funding to start implementation in late February and end in late April.

Planning implies following: Looking for resources and contacts in 5 communities--people who are willing for role-plays, for example. Identifying and visiting with complementary therapies practitioners to set up their booths, and other practitioners to present workshops. As coordinator, I have to identify and invite individuals from 5 ethnic groups for training. I have to ensure that the program gets professional evaluation, namely, an outside point of view to improve performance in view of next yearís (2007) presentations and festival.

I have to work with presenters, collect resources and materials, and work with SCH and other partners on publicity, registration, CEUs. Planning timeframe: December 2005 thru February 2006.

Bret: I suggest that we plan for September of 2006. Planning in the spring and summer '06 may be more beneficial for a successful series and festival in the fall of '06. Iím concerned with promotion of events for better turn-out, avoid rushing and short-term planning. I prefer organization and planning with more notice and publicity.

Another possibility: Festival in the late spring of Ď06, as a kick-off, to give ideas to the locals regarding what is going on in the community regarding healthcare and ethnic groups. Use this as a marketing event for series in the fall of í06.

Mariani: I agree that more time is needed so that more publicity gets out regarding upcoming events in the Health Care & World Religions series. Have five sessions regarding ethnic groups and bookcase these with two festivals: Start with one festival, end with one.

Malcolm: I will bring these suggestions and ideas to UNIITEís monthly board meeting tonight. Meanwhile, letís look at agenda point #2. Planning requires fully equipped office space. Planning needs to be started right away as we prepare for the Health Care & World Religions series. We need a public space instead of operating from our homes. Would SCH be able or willing to offer UNIITE such space and technology with immediate effect?

Bret: Space will be hard to get. It is challenging though the education department may be able to accomodate some of these needs, or functions. Work space may not be available before February of 2006.

Paul: Sprint may give UNIITE a phone for free.

Malcolm: Letís go over objectives on pg. 8 of the CCF grant (goals and objectives) to better understand what the program is about. Spirituality is becoming more important today. Integration of health and healing relating to cultures. A lot of miscommunications even with translators in place. Connect mainstream and holistic medicines without putting undue pressure on doctors, nurses, etc.

People are looking for alternative therapies due to expensive western medicines and treatments.

What is content of events such as cultural/traditional intersecting with modern meds. Spend more time on this.

Interested in shamans from various cultures, such as Native Americans and Hmong.

Iím in touch with local Native American healers. I also know Dr. David Zander in the Cities who is connected with top level people working with Hmong shamans.

I suggest that Malcolm to do a 1-hour overview with residency personnel to see what they see out there and their difficulties, perhaps building a support group with primary care physicians. Educate without necessarily promoting complementary therapies. Need data, proof regarding alternative therapies. Such as: Who is doing it and how many? With proof, others are more apt to support.

Describe it in terms of building respect for therapies.

Check with United Way who conduct Cultural Training, for publicity, sponsorship. Also Multicultural Center.

Add Betty Schnettler as a resource. Pushing the series off to the fall gives more time for obtaining grants. Ask CentraCare for money now for í06 and í07 because it will take a while to get $20,000. More likely to get it if it is applied for now.

Dave (supported by Paul):
I recommend asking small grants from individual sponsors who could each sponsor individual sessions listed on pg. 17, in the Healthcare series.

I need someone to fund festival. Iím glad weíre back to agenda point #1. Bret, I need dollar figures.

BCBS Implementation Grant more likely to be given at a later date. Since they have already given you a planning grant, they are also likely to give one for implementation.

Malcolm: I need pledges and commitments from you today.

Bret: Diversity Committee can make small contributions.

Malcolm: Okay. Can we address agenda point #3?

Bret: At our next diversity committee meeting on 1/17, we will discuss todayís meeting and try to get a couple volunteers to help UNIITE put this together.