In the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park, 85th Street marks the near-invisible division between two different living experiences. North of the line, the city’s population is whiter and more affluent. South of 85th Street, the neighborhoods are home to more people of color, more immigrants, more poverty—and more disease.
“We started looking at the data, and we found abysmal health outcomes for people in Brooklyn Park,” said Wynfred Russell, a public health expert for the nonprofit African Career Education and Resource (ACER).
ACER serves the large African immigrant population residing in Brooklyn Park. In 2013, the organization partnered with Hennepin County to examine the city’s health access and health equity issues, and to pilot innovative approaches to close the city’s racial health gaps. After conducting hundreds of resident interviews and sifting through Census data, ACER and the county launched a ground-breaking Healthy Living Hub program that used creative strategies and a multi-pronged approach to get more people moving, eating healthy, and utilizing health care services in Brooklyn Park.