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

Health Care & World Religions Series
Meeting date: July 11, 2006
Time:4:30-5:45 pm
Location: Willow Room, St. Cloud Hospital


Respectfully submitted by Malcolm Nazareth


Giovanni Antunez, Bret Reuter, Mary Beth Nehl, Mariani Nazareth, Jerry Wetterling, Mary T. Howard, Malcolm Nazareth

The meeting was called to order by Nazareth at 4.35 pm. Agenda sheets and beautiful blue colored brochures and flyers were distributed along with another flyer that announced an upcoming Create CommUNITY Health Care Committee event on 7/27/06 at Hoppe Auditorium. A updated handout on the details of UNIITE’s HCWR series presentations and presenters was also given to all.

Mutual introductions afforded us an opportunity anew to catch a sense of excitement with the various presenters, topics, and areas which we are soon going to explore in the Health Care and World Religions series.

Nazareth congratulated UNIITE's partner St. Cloud Hospital on being recently listed as one of the top 50 US hospitals in endocrinology and other fields of medicine. Reuter accepted the congrats on behalf of the hospital.

Nazareth also expressed the sense of gratification which he felt when the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation grant was approved late June, just days after his return from India. (By way of celebration, he and Mariani had brought Indian candy to share at the meeting.) He observed that this was not the first grant approval received for the series because CentraCare Foundation's smaller-grant approval had come in earlier.

Nazareth informed the committee that UNIITE’s Board and SC Hosp had decided to move the proposed teaser session (on "The New Medicine") from early September more appropriately to late October or early November. Howard had graciously agreed to chair a panel during the teaser and she was present for the meeting tonight.

[P.S.1: Later in July, the teaser date was fixed for Monday, 16 October, 5-7 pm, in the Clemens Room, Whitney Senior Center. There is no budget for this meeting in the Blue Cross grant. We are hoping that UNIITE will be able to procure a donation to make the teaser possible.] 

Nazareth spoke about an invitation from Blue Cross to shoot the entire series. The grantors were seeking urgently for a volunteer who will be trained by Blue Cross and equipped with a loaned video camcorder. St. Cloud Hospital already has cameras in place at the Hoppe Auditorium, where the first five sessions of the HCWR series are to be held, and such video recording of the series remains a viable option, but this invitation from Blue Cross is different. Nobody from the committee volunteered.

[P.S.2: On 12 July, at UNIITE’s monthly Board meeting, Cristina Seaborn generously volunteered to do the camera work for the series and to undergo training as needed.]

Finally, Nazareth asked if there might be any suggestions, as the series approaches rapidly, on:

  1. how to fund the teaser session and 10-minute cultural programs of each of the 5 ethno-religious groups selected for this series;
  2. screening videos on the 5 groups and healthcare, and obtaining permission for such screenings;
  3. any complementary therapy practitioners who will want to set up booths during festival on 11/13 @$50 charge per booth;
  4. searching for corporate co-sponsors for each day of the series
  5. spreading the word re. series and encouraging pre-registration. This is the only point which drew a comment. Howard suggested that the State Board be contacted in order to pass the message of a diversity training possibility to the state’s social workers.

During the meeting, Nazareth expressed gratitude that, early July, Reuter had donated a used St. Cloud Hospital computer, monitor, and keyboard to UNIITE for its work in general and the series in particular. However, Nazareth pointed out that very shortly after he had picked up the computer, he learned from Tom Pendergast, the Executive Director of the Multicultural Center of Central Minnesota, that MCCM had recently decided to move out of its present office at the Central Minnesota Community Foundation building to another location. Some months prior, MCCM had generously offered to share its office space for free with UNIITE, and UNIITE had utilized the conference room there for some of its meetings. MCCM was now requesting/inviting UNIITE to take the entire office space for itself alone, and also pay the rent, at least in part—again, a generous offer. In the given circumstances, Nazareth had decided not to bring the SCH donated computer to the shared office but to await UNIITE’s Board decision on the office.

[P.S.3: During the UNIITE Board meeting the following day, it was decided to not continue using the office space at the Central Minnesota Community Foundation building. UNIITE would look for office space at a location where parking, for example, would be convenient. Perhaps a donation of space might be in the offing. The Board expressed gratitude to Tom Pendergast for MCCM’s donation of the shared office space thus far. Nazareth conveyed this decision and returned the office key by 14 July.]

[P.S.4: In the latter half of July, Reuter called Nazareth about some directives from the St. Cloud Hospital Education Department re. the presentations during the HCWR series.

  • a) Presenters need to be selected from people who are friendly, or at least not hostile, to the western health care system.
  • b) Presentations must not lay too much stress on the history, geography, demographics of the populations treated, rather these aspects must be presented as relating to issues focused on health, death, dying. The presenters need to show how these topics relate to the health care of the populations concerned.
  • c) Role play must not consist of replays of events that have actually happened to patients. Care must be taken about privacy matters. HIPPA rultes and regulations need to be observed.
  • d) When the “patient” gives feedback to the provider after role play, the provider, too, needs to be given time for their own feedback to the “patient.”
  • e) Another title, such as “Diverse Cultural Healing Practices Festival” was preferable to the present “Complementary Therapies Festival.”
  • f) The date of the teaser “The New Medicine” needed to be moved forward (he was glad to hear this had already been discussed by UNIITE’s Board and moved)
  • g) Publicity and the sending out of brochures needed to be finally approved by Linda Schimm who was overall in charge of educational and training programs at SC Hosp. In practice, until names and qualifications of main presenters were determined for sure and approved by Schimm, mailing of brochures and publicity by SC Hosp. were going to be withheld.]

The meeting was adjourned at 5.45 pm.

Next Planning Committee meeting: 4.30-6 pm, 8/8/06, Maple Room, St. Cloud Hospital