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University of Minnesota Extension

Cultivating powerful participation

UMN Extension in collaboration with a diverse group of social justice advocates is offering the latest round of Cultivating Powerful Participation with funding from the Minnesota Department of Health Statewide Health Improvement Partnerships. This opportunity builds off the successful Cultivating Powerful Participation workshops held in 2019-2020.


This online learning opportunity is intended for public health practitioners and those interested in developing their skills to advance social justice in their work to build healthier, more vibrant Minnesota communities.

Why now?

Now more than ever, we need leaders who can take an intersectional, trauma-informed, antiracist approach to their work to advance public health. To do this leaders need to have the relationships, skills and knowledge to design and facilitate participatory processes that result in unique, collaborative and transformative solutions. Cultivating Powerful Participation is a professional development program designed to teach leaders these practical skills.

What to expect

This series includes six, two hour learning experiences, where you will build competency in facilitating social justice work. Each learning experience will focus on one topic related to social justice and include a mindfulness-based healing practice, reflective conversations within a smaller learning circle and learning a facilitation technique. You will participate in the same learning circle throughout this series which will support the development of relationships among participants on a similar place in their journey. There will also be pre-work and homework for each workshop.

Cultivating Powerful Participation is structured to provide you a safe and uncomfortable space to show up in brave and vulnerable ways, while at the same time building skills for action. This is not a DEI 101 experience. Our goal is to provide a potent space for you to grow and transform with others that are excited to advance social justice in public health spaces in Minnesota. 

Meet the Design Team

University of Minnesota Extension

Cecilia Amadou, Jamie Bain, June Blue, Laura Bohen, Noelle Harden, Stephanie Heim, Jocelyn Hernandez-Swanson, Briana Michels, Shirley Nordrum,  and Chelsea Williams.

Public health partners

Jason Bergstrand (Partnership for Health), William Moore (Ramsey County SHIP),  and Shor Salkas (Minnesota Department of Health).

Social justice partners

Susan Phillips, Leah Porter, Magdalena Kaluza,  and Miah Ulysse.


This collaboration began in October 2019 when a team of leaders from outside the University came together with Extension staff for four days to strengthen their facilitation skills and co-create a curriculum to help others learn how to bring people together more effectively to cultivate powerful participation.

A series of eight two-day in-person meetings workshops took place from November 2019 - February 2020. And when COVID-19 hit, the team adapted and hosted a series of six mini-workshops to help participants learn how to apply their skills to a virtual setting. 

Attendees walked away with practical tools and partnerships that would help them to pass these skills on to others. You can find all the virtual workshops catalogued below in the “Past Workshops” section of this page and materials from the in-person workshop stored in this open Google Drive

Upcoming events

Past workshops

Find out more about the history of our workshops and what participants had to say about the first round of Cultivating Powerful Participation.  Following are notes, recordings, and resources from a series of virtual mini-workshops that took place in April - August 2020 in response to working remotely due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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