Center for Health Equity Advisory Committee - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Health Equity Advisory and Leadership (HEAL) Council

HEAL Council MembersThe Health Equity Advisory and Leadership (HEAL) Council was created as part of a broader effort by the Minnesota Department of Health to address Minnesota’s disparities in health status – particularly those persistent disparities across various ethnic, racial and regional groups. The HEAL Council represents the voices of many communities most severely impacted by health inequities across the state, including racial and ethnic minority groups, rural Minnesotans, Minnesotans with disabilities, American Indians, LGBTQ community members, refugees and immigrants.

The council assists the Minnesota Department of Health in carrying out the efforts outlined in the department’s strategic plan and its Advancing Health Equity report, including advising on specific MDH policies and programs. The council also assists MDH in developing strong performance measures related to advancing health equity. By February 15, 2019, and annually thereafter, the council will prepare and submit a report to the Commissioner of Health that summarizes the activities of the council and specific objectives the group will pursue during the upcoming year.

Members represent multiple communities and organizations that work to advance the health of those most impacted by health inequities in Minnesota. They bring both expertise on a range of health topics and the lived experiences of their respective geographic/cultural communities. The knowledge and wisdom of council members will enhance the work of MDH in advancing health equity for all communities in Minnesota.

  • Dr. Jokho Farah, Peoples Center Health Services (Co-Chair)
  • Jennifer Nguyen Moore, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (Co-Chair)
  • Aaron Wittnebel, A Wittnebel Consulting
  • Anita Buel, Commission on Deaf, Deafblind, Hard of Hearing
  • Ayah Mohammed, Family Tree Clinic
  • Callie Chamberlain, Optum Health
  • Cassandra Silveira, Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), U of MN Extension
  • Dr. Laurelle Myhra, Native American Community Clinic
  • Dr. Tracine Asberry, St. Paul Youth Services
  • Jeremy Hanson Willis, JustUs Health
  • Jessica Coleman, Hennepin County
  • Pa Chua Vang, Maplewood Care Center
  • Samuel Moose, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa's Human Services Division
  • Talia Miracle, The Food Group
  • Therese Genis, Fairview Health Services
  • Zitlali Chavez Ayala, Ramsey County
HEAL Council meetings will be held via ZOOM for 2021.

All HEAL meetings are public meetings. If you have interest in attending a future HEAL meeting, please contact Amy Lopez at, and you will be sent the meeting link.

If community members have interest to share a public comment about a health equity need or concern at a HEAL meeting, there is time at the end of each meeting from 1:45 p.m.- 2:00 p.m. If you would like to share a public comment, please contact Amy Lopez at,, one week before the HEAL meeting. We may not be able to accommodate a public comment with less than a week's notice.

  • January 22, 2021- Virtual Meeting
  • February 19, 2021- Virtual Meeting
  • March 19, 2021- Virtual Meeting
  • April 16, 2021- Virtual Meeting
  • May 21, 2021- Virtual Meeting
  • June 18, 2021- Virtual Meeting
  • July 16, 2021- Virtual Meeting
  • August 20, 2021- Virtual Meeting
  • September 17, 2021- Virtual Meeting - September 2021 Meeting Summary
  • October 22, 2021- Virtual Meeting - October 2021 Meeting Summary
  • November 19, 2021- Virtual Meeting
  • December 17, 2021- Virtual Meeting
Meetings will be held at Wilder Foundation at 451 Lexington Ave N, St. Paul from 12:00pm – 2:00pm. The room for each meeting is noted below. There is free parking onsite at Wilder and the building is adjacent to the Green Line and multiple bus routes.

Recommendations to Commissioner of Health


In January 2019, the HEAL Council released a memo to Commissioner Malcolm identifying critical issues and recommending solutions for the agency to address as the state moved into a new gubernatorial administration. The memo is available through the link below:

HEAL Council Memo to Commissioner of Health

In April 2019, the Commissioner of Health sent a response to the council chairs and members to thank them for their recommendations, share current work related to the council's recommendations, and to pledge her full support in the important work of advancing health equity. The commissioner's response is available through the link below:

Commissioner's Response to HEAL Council Memo


HEAL Council Letter to the Commissioner of Health on COVID-19

Commissioner's Response to Health Council Letter on COVID-19

Updated Friday, 19-Nov-2021 09:31:09 CST