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Minnesota Public Health Association

Since 1907, MPHA has been dedicated to creating a healthier Minnesota through effective public health practice and engaged citizens. 

Minnesota Public Health Association 2021 Conference

“Bold and Humble - Engaging in Anti-Racist Public Health"

April 29 - 30, 2021

Virtual conference

Thank you for attending MPHA21!

Post-conference follow up:

  • Evaluate the conference! - All attendees, please fill out our evaluation by Wednesday, May 12. (This is required if you need CHES/MCHES credits.)

  • Continuing Education/Certificates - If you need continuing education records or certificate of attendance, please request one here.

  • Save the date for MPHA’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Connects: Thursday, May 13, 8-9 am & Thursday, May 27, 4-5 pm

The Minnesota Public Health Association (MPHA)’s Annual Conference was held April 29-30, 2021 in a virtual format.

New for 2021: A Virtual Poster Hall is open one week ahead of the conference in conjunction with the MPHA Policy & Advocacy and Health Equity Committee forum

The 2021 theme is: “Bold and Humble - Engaging in Anti-Racist Public Health".

Racism has been declared a Public Health Crisis...but what happens next? The public health community has talked about this for so long, how can we assure ourselves and each other this is a movement, not just a moment?

Addressing today’s public health challenges requires innovation and collaboration. This conference will elevate Minnesota-based initiatives on racial justice work & its intersectionality with a variety of public health topics such as disabilities and accessibility, sexual orientation and gender identity, chronic disease, aging, injury and violence prevention, mental health, environmental, maternal and child health, and other timely topics. Learn about the issues and resilience of the work being done through bold, innovative approaches and thoughtful, courageous collaborations.

Exhibit Hall 2021 Conference

Conference Brochure

Full Conference Program

Read our Anti-Racist Resource List here.

José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, MPA APHA President

Briefly, José Ramón Fernández-Peña will go over some APHA news and updates and then will talk about the parallels seen between the AIDS pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing lessons so that we are hopefully better prepared for the next one.

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify parallels between the US response to HIV and to COVID-19.
  • Name at least three areas needed to respond more effectively to the next pandemic.

Plenary: Addressing Racial Equity through the Great Lakes Public Health Coalition: Region V APHA State Affiliate Actions

Great Lakes Public Health Coalition (GLPHC) members from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin will share how racial equity impacts the work of each state’s association. Through the stories shared, participants will learn new ideas to further their racial equity work.

Upon conclusion of this session participants will be able to:

  • Explain why racial equity is health equity
  • Recognize how racial equity has impacted the work of the affiliates within GLPHC
  • Use the concepts covered in the presentation to further racial equity work in their role.

Plenary: Rosemond Sarpong Owens, CDM, MPH

“Are we now in a post-racial America?" With many white people believing that because Obama was president, any Black man can, the belief is that racism as a whole is over. During this plenary, Rosemond Sarpong Owens will cover reasons why white people think racism no longer exists and inspire us to take action.

Upon conclusion of this session participants will be able to:

  • Identify reasons that people consider racism is dead

Plenary: Kenston Henderson Sr., CEO of Live With Lyfe, LLC

Bridging the chasm of racial reconciliation won’t happen by people choosing to either stay silent or engage in online argument wars. Instead, the key is embracing the hard space of Uncomfortability. Conversation, self-reflection, and commitment are needed to embrace “active racial reconciliation.” In this direct and unflinching presentation, Kenston shows how Respect, Empathy, and Maturity are the keys to intentionally choosing to build effective, cross-cultural relationships.

Upon conclusion of this session participants will be able to:

  • Identify ways to build effective, cross-cultural relationships

Plenary: Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr.

The plenary will challenge the audience to examine and explore issues related to bias, privilege, supremacy and belief systems. Additionally, we will focus on how to take action against individual and systemic racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. We need #PublicHealthLeaders #MPHAFam committed to justice, equity and change across America. Are you ready? #NowIsTheTime for us to be #MooreWoke and #MooreFocused determined to be/inspire #MooreGoodTrouble.

Upon conclusion of this session participants will be able to:

  • Describe at least one way the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge can be adapted to your work.

  • Apply at least 2 tools in an action plan

Concurrent Breakout Sessions, Thursday, April 29th from 2:00-2:40pm CDT: Building Capacity for Diversity, Strength and Longevity for Racial Equity

Ian D. Wolfe, Ph.D., MA, RN, HEC-C, Clinical Ethicist, Clinical Ethics Department, Children's Minnesota

Hadija Steen Mills, Healthcare Reparations Director, Black Liberation and Abolitionist Cohort; MPH Student, University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Olihe Okoro, Ph.D, MPH, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy and Glenn Simmons Jr, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota, Medical School, Duluth MN

Paul Iarrobino, Founding Director, Our Bold Voices

Brigid Riley, M.P.H., C.T.F., Owner, B.E. Riley Consulting; Kia Moua, M.A., Owner, Kia Moua Consulting, Sherry P. Johnson, M.Ed., C.T.F., Owner, Cultivate Strategy

Concurrent Breakout Sessions, Thursday, April 29th from 3:00-3:40pm CDT: Strengthen Public Health Practice for Racial Equity

Sarah Garcia, PhD candidate, Sociology, University of Minnesota; Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Minnesota; JP Leider, Director of Evaluation, Region V Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Training Center; Senior Lecturer, University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Annie Krapek, MPH, Senior Program Manager, Public Health Initiatives, Twin Cities Medical Society and Jenna Carter, MPH, Government Relations Manager, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN

Carolina De La Rosa Mateo, MPH, Research Associate and Rodolfo Gutierrez, PhD, Executive Director, Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research (HACER)

Sydney Bernard, BA CHES, MN CHW Alliance Registry Project Manager and Adri Lobitz, BS, MN CHW Alliance Registry Manager

Concurrent Breakout Sessions, Friday, April 30th from 10:00-10:40am CDT: Build a Public Health Movement for Racial Equity

Robert Noel "Chi" Anigbogu, Intern, Hennepin County CHIP; Ronald Partridge, MPLS resident of Bii Di Gain Dash Anwebi Elder Housing; Siddhee Anand Sahasrabudhe/Nishank Varshney, MPLS resident of Chateau student housing co-op; Kayleigh Jo Schernbeck, Hopkins resident

Heather Gillich, Healthy Living Initiative Manager, Minneapolis Health Department, City of Minneapolis; April Graves, Office of Violence Prevention Specialist, Minneapolis Health Department, City of Minneapolis; Farhiya Farah, Director, Assistant Professor; Public Health Programs; St. Mary's University

Therese Genis, MPH, Community Health & Wellbeing Strategist, Community Advancement, M Health Fairview; Janssen Hang, Executive Director, Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA)

Dr. Jokho Farah, Chief Information Officer & Chief Quality Officer, People's Center Clinics & Services; Dr. Roli Dwivedi, Chief Clinical Officer & Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota/Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC)

Kate Feuling Porter, MPH, Twin Cities Medical Society; Gene Nichols, Community Advocate; and Betsy Brock, MPH

The American Public Health Association’s president, José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, MPA, will deliver a keynote address. Additional plenary speakers include Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., Kenston Henderson, Sr., and Rosemond Sarpong Owens, CDM, MPH. They will thoughtfully guide attendees through anti-racism practices from their national-level experiences. Inspiring breakout sessions and an engaging weeklong poster hall will round out the conference. Attendees will finish the conference ready to start Dr. Moore’s 21 Day Action Plan to boldly and humbly carry forward anti-racism lessons learned. This year’s content aligns with MPHA’s Strategic Plan and allows space for individual reflection and future action.

The MPHA annual meeting gathers public health professionals at every level – students, mid-career professionals, retired experts – from around the state to exchange information and create a healthier Minnesota through effective public health practice and engaged citizens.

Dedicated public health professionals and interested community members who want to connect with peers, pick up new ideas and gain skills to bring back to their workplace or community are encouraged to attend. 


Continuing education credits have been approved for 5.5 CHES / 2.75 MCHES  advanced-level. CPH and nursing CEUs are also available.


Upon conclusion of the conference, attendees will:

  1. Gain increased understanding of the complexity of public health challenges and identify strategies and action steps for addressing them. 

  2. Develop new knowledge and skills to address structural racism and health equity to enhance community health in Minnesota.

  3. Leave empowered with tools and specific actions to bring back to your organizations to make a meaningful impact.

  4. Become emboldened to go on your own anti-racist journey.


MPHA greatly subsidizes the attendee cost of the conference and relies upon sponsors to help keep the conference accessible and affordable for all who wish to attend. Annual Conference sponsorship opportunities are available here. Sponsorships are appreciated by April 15, 2021.

If your organization is interested in yearly sponsorship for MPHA programming, please click here: Yearly MPHA Sponsorship.


Conference Registration: 

  • Individual/Lifetime: $100 MPHA Member; $175 Non-member
  • Retiree/Reduced Price Individual: $50 MPHA Member; $75 Non-member
  • Students: $25 MPHA Member or Non-member

MPHA Annual Membership + Conference Registration:

  • Individual Membership $50 + Conference $100 = $150
  • Student Membership $20 + Conference $25 = $45
  • Retiree Membership $20 + Conference $50 = $70
  • Reduced Price Membership $20 + Conference $50 = $70


Registrations may be canceled and a refund issued, transferred to another attendee, or donated to the MPHA Scholarship Fund, if the request is received in writing to by April 22, 2021 (one week prior). After April 22, no refunds will be issued.

Please note Memberships included with conference registrations and donations that have been charged are nonrefundable. 


MPHA strives to make conference attendance possible for all interested participants. Based on the amount of scholarship sponsors received, MPHA will offer a limited number of need-based scholarships to defray registration costs.

Eligibility:  MPHA is committed to ensuring that conference participants from priority populations including people of color and American Indians, LGBTQ+ communities, persons with disabilities, and public health students attend and participate in our annual conference.  

Based on the amount of scholarship fundraising, MPHA will have a limited number of scholarships for registration for attendees who identify themselves with one of these priority populations, or for those that have a special interest in advancing healthy equity in any one of these populations. In addition, a limited number of scholarships are available through a lottery who work for an agency with a general operating budget of less than $50,000.

To apply for a scholarship, please email There is no description of need required.

Applications are now being received on a rolling basis and awarded according to the donations in our scholarship fund.

Students: if your school is assisting in registration costs, please fill out the name of your school and department/program on the registration form. MPHA will connect you to your schools' resources.


The planning committee has developed a program that recognizes the need to engage many stakeholders to help address public health problems.  With your support, we hope to provide need-based access to individuals who might not otherwise attend and participate in this conversation. Individuals are invited to make a contribution in any amount, and will receive recognition on the conference registration website, in the program, and in a letter to all attendees receiving a full or partial registration scholarship.

Contributions may be made online at MPHA's donation page (check "scholarship support" and write "annual conference" in the Special Instructions) or, mailed to MPHA at: PO Box 14415, Minneapolis, MN 55414. MPHA is a 501(c)(3) organization.


The 2021 MPHA Annual Conference Planning Committee is chaired by Elizabeth Moe and Rosemond Sarpong Owens. Please direct questions to Merry Grande, Executive Director, at or 612-963-3243.

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