September 30, 2023
Korean Service Center was honored on Dec. 12 with a 2016 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper, center, presents a 2016 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award to Korean Service Center, represented by Executive Director Yoonju Park, left, and Board Member In Sun Hong, right. (Contributed photo)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Dec. 13, 2016) — Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper on Monday honored seven programs from across the state for their outstanding contributions to human services clients.

Recipients of the 2016 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards were recognized at a ceremony on Monday at the Elmer L. Andersen Human Services Building in St. Paul.

Piper said winners in the sixth annual Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards exemplify the great human services work happening across Minnesota to support healthy people, stable families and strong communities.

“The work we do in human services has real, tangible impacts on the lives of Minnesotans,” Piper said. “These organizations have gone above and beyond to make a difference for some of the most vulnerable among us. They have worked to improve access to mental health services for children and decrease stigma, reduce opioid prescribing and support Native American women and their families in recovery, help older residents age in place, and provide nutritious, culturally-appropriate food. It is an honor to recognize their leadership and innovation in this field.”

Korean Service Center was honored Dec. 12 with a 2016 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Pictured are Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper, center, with Korean Service Center staff and clients at the at the 2016 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards Ceremony in St. Paul. (Contributed photo)

The 2016 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award recipients are:

  • Arts Center of Saint Peter, a community arts organization in Saint Peter that helped aid patient recovery, reduce stigma of mental illness and strengthen community connections with “Changing Minds: Work by Patients at St. Peter Regional Treatment Center.” The first of its kind public exhibition in May 2016 featured more than 200 works of art, many created in classes hosted by Arts Center of Saint Peter instructors in partnership with DHS staff. The exhibition coincided with the 150th anniversary of Minnesota Security Hospital, and included both a public reception and a private event at the gallery for patients and staff.
  • Korean Service Center, a community-based social service organization that helps non-English speaking Korean older adults in the Twin Cities stay healthy and age in place with a medical transportation and escort program, as well as other long-term care services. The Korean Service Center Escort Program provides door-to-door transportation service to clinic visits for older clients in order to overcome language barriers, prevent missed doctor appointments, and improve health. The program, supported by Live Well at Home grant funding, has reduced missed appointments to zero and brings peace of mind and satisfaction to the older Korean Americans it serves.
  • Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, a non-profit located in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis committed to providing opportunities for holistic healing and self-empowerment of Native American families. Founded in 1984, Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center works to counter the effects of colonization and trauma by providing a broad range of cultural and tradition-based programs for Native American families and training for community service providers. One such program, Nokomis Endaad (Grandmother’s House), was the first in the nation to address the intersection of sexual trauma, chemical dependency and mental illness with a culturally-grounded, recovery-oriented outpatient treatment center.
  • Morrison County Accountable Community for Health, an initiative focused on innovative and collaborative solutions to confront opioid abuse in Morrison County. Partners include St. Gabriel’s Health, Morrison County Public Health and Social Services, and South Country Health Alliance. Using a multi-disciplinary care coordination model, this project delivers patient-centered care for individuals taking multiple prescription opioids. It also includes a community prescription drug task force focused on improving communication and collaboration. This work has resulted in better patient outcomes, reduced medical assistance pharmacy claims saving millions of dollars, consistent prescribing practices, and increased access to disposal for unused medications.
  • School Linked Mental Health – Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Human Services Division and Carlton County Public Health and Human Services, which formed a unique partnership to provide school linked mental health therapy services for American Indian and Carlton County children. Through the use of therapists from Fond du Lac Behavioral Health andCarlton County Public Health and Human Services, youth in four Carlton County school districts and the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School have increased access to mental health therapy in their school setting. Working with school districts, the partnership improved coordination and planning around student mental health issues, leading to improved educational success.
  • The Food Group (formerly Emergency Foodshelf Network), a non-profit that fights hunger and nourishes Minnesotans in partnership with more than 240 food shelves and hunger relief partners across 21 counties. Last year, The Food Group distributed 6.2 million pounds of food, including 1.4 million pounds of fresh produce, to more than 5 million individuals. Over the last 40 years, its work has evolved to ensure more local community members are able to access free and affordable nutritious food, fresh produce, nutrition education and outreach, and culturally equitable hunger relief services.
  • White Earth MOMS Program, an innovative response to the opioid epidemic impacting pregnant Native mothers and their babies on the White Earth Nation that includes a culturally-specific holistic treatment program. The White EarthMOMS (Maternal Outreach and Mitigation Services) Program for pregnant and parenting mothers and their partners provides daily outpatient substance use disorder treatment, mental health services, prenatal care by registered nurses, culturally-based services, traditional spiritual healing, and medication assisted therapy, along with childcare. Work by the dedicated, multidisciplinary team has led to a significant reduction in the number of babies born with neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome.

Watch videos about the 2016 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award recipients on the Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards page and