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Mino Izhiwebzi

Mino Izhiwebzi (“Good Health”) serves Native Americans (Ojibwe) Elders of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. With MedlinePlus as its core resource, Mino Izhiwebzi uses a multifaceted approach to address chronic disease management and improved wellness among Elders by fostering: 1) health literacy and patient empowerment, 2) nutrition and wellness awareness, and 3) intergenerational bonding and learning. Native Americans in Minnesota experience the greatest health disparities in the nation; their life expectancy is a full 11 years less than the state’s white population. While elderly individuals in all communities are at high risk for poor health, the weight of the multiple social determinants of health borne by Native American Elders adversely impacts their health earlier and with greater intensity. Elder health services are most effective when designed using an understanding of cultural world views, beliefs, and community history. Mino Izhiwebzi’s activities are developed and delivered by community health educators and care providers; they are community-based, culturally-responsive and tailored to the specific needs of Bois Forte Elders. Services center on monthly Elder gatherings addressing chronic health maintenance. Gatherings combine learning and socialization, known to promote longevity and improve health among elderly. Health-based games and cultural arts and crafts help maintain mental acuity and hand dexterity while stimulating socialization and sustaining interest in participation. Healthful eating is encouraged with MedlinePlus nutrition information and recipes. These, along with in-kind support, provide for healthy meals that highlight nutritious, flavorful foods. The ease of integrating movement and stress management everyday includes short walks, stretching or one-minute breathing exercises. Regular physical activity and seeking out health information using MedlinePlus is encouraged by earning points to exchange for health-related items such as cookbooks and window-sill herb gardens. Mino Izhiwebzi fosters improved health among young people through their inclusion in intergenerational learning during selected gatherings. These experiences provide opportunities for the fulfillment of critical cultural roles and nurture the beneficial give and take that is part of the Ojibwe cultural norm of intergenerational care as both children and Elders invest in their own health and support one another’s.

Identify any specific population(s) this project will serve: 
Medically Underserved Areas/Populations
Behavioral/Social Determinants of Health
American Indian
Identify roles of participants this project will serve: 
General public
Project Lead:
Anna Wirta Kosobuski
Funding Source: 
Project Funding:
Federal Fiscal Year: 
Funding Amount: 
Funding Period:
May 1, 2019 to Apr 30, 2021
Project Status:
In Progress