Skip to main content

Community Health Action Teams (CHATs)

  • backyard-graphic

    How does the Backyard Initiative work?

    Community Health Action Teams (CHATs) work together to design, implement, and analyze health promotion projects. The Backyard Initiative currently has 11 CHATs, two of which (Assessment and Communications) provide resources to support the other CHATs' work. Each CHAT has a different focus for maintaining and improving individual and community health.

    CHATs are supported by the Backyard Initiative (BYI) Community Commission on Health, a community leadership team that authorizes funding and provides oversight for the CHATs, and the Community Resource Body, a connecting entity that leverages social, cultural and financial capital to strengthen the Backyard Initiative. Both groups are convened by the Cultural Wellness Center.

  • In 2017, more than 11,000 community members, or approximately 26% of Backyard residents, participated in CHAT activities. 

    The CHAT teams include:

    Out in the Backyard connects individuals from all cultures who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) with the resources they need to be healthy and safe.

    A Partnership of Diabetics (A-POD) supports diabetes self-management and recovery through networks of family, social and community-based resources that complement the work of health care providers.

    Rebirthing Community: Community of Lights connects different generations together through mentoring and visual arts for a "rebirthing" of community.

    Anchor Families works to establish anchor families on each block who can teach life skills, in addition to connecting youth and their families to wellness resources.

    Latino/a Environmental Health Begins at Home (LEHBAH) creates healthy environments for Latino families within the Backyard by creating healthier indoor environments.

    Group with basketball

    Project S.E.L.F. (Save Educate Liberate Free) explores specific health and cultural concerns of youth in immigrant communities through educational workshops. Project S.E.L.F. aims to assist youth, elders, and families in healthy living and artistic expressions through poetry, open microphone performances, information workshops, and community dialogue.

    Circle of Healing works to bridge the divide between western clinical care and traditional and alternative health care practices.

    Group gardening

    Growing the Backyard increases access to affordable, healthy food for Backyard families by training youth and families on gardening techniques and distributing fresh produce across cultures.
    CONTACT: TIM PAGE tpage4@hotmail.comor

    TEENS Project is a peer to peer youth leadership and entrepreneurial skills development organization. Members of the TEENS Project organize and staff the BYI Resource Center housed in the Midtown Global Market.

    Resource CHATs

    Woman helping man

    Communications works to lessen or eliminate the divide between people who have information and those who don't so that everyone has the opportunity to be engaged in a healthy community.

    Assessment and Evaluation is made up of representatives from Allina Health's Division of Applied Research, the Cultural Wellness center, and the Backyard Initiative's Community Commission on Health. This team uses a community-based participatory research process to collect and analyze data in response to the needs of the BYI CHATs and the Community Commission on Health.

    Are you a Backyard resident and interested in joining a CHAT?
    Call the Resource Center at 612-353-6211 or email or
    Work with your neighbors to improve community health!

  • Photo gallery

    Click through the photos below to see photos of the BYI Community Commission on Health and read quotes from people who have been involved with the BYI.

    left arrow right arrow
    Being a part of people who are really doing things to help strengthen and help the community...has been a blessing. I've made a lot of connections here. We come together, share information, and try to do even better tomorrow than we did today. For me the greatest benefit has been being a part of a group of people who are so determined to do something good together. I feel I've connected to a lot of cultural values here.  The togetherness is what really gives me energy. I've learned a lot that I couldn't learn from a university or anywhere else. The BYI reinforces that community-defined goals and engaged community members are critical to improving health. To me the benefits have been, first, meeting all you and having my network expanded; second the information and resources that...I share with people in my work and neighborhood.