Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council


Agenda for April 17, 2015, meeting (PDF)
Minutes from March 20, 2015, meeting (PDF)

Agenda for March 20, 2015, meeting (PDF)

Minutes from Feb. 20, 2015, meeting (PDF)

Agenda for Feb. 20, 2015, meeting (PDF)

Archive of meeting agendas and minutes

Calendar of meetings for 2015 (PDF)
Calendar of meetings for 2013-2014 (PDF)

Posters for meetings (PDF)

Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council Recommendations (PDF)


The purpose of the council is to advise the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) on reducing disparities that affect racial and ethnic groups with in DHS programs. The council, consisting of 15 to 25 members appointed by the commissioner, is charged with reviewing DHS policies for racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and tribal disparities and providing an annual report regarding equitable delivery of services.

Bylaws of the Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council (PDF)

Legislative reports

Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council (PDF) (February 2015)
Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council (PDF)
(February 2014)


The Legislature created the Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council during the 2013 session. The law requires council members to be appointed by the commissioner, no later than Sept. 15, 2013, and to convene the first meeting by Nov. 15, 2013. In February 2014, the council must submit a report to chairs and ranking minority members of the health and human services committees of the Legislature.

On May 30, 2013, the Secretary of State's Office (SOS) posted the openings for the Cultural and Ethnic Leadership council to the SOS website. Applications were due July 30, 2013. During this period, DHS utilized several avenues for seeking strong applicants to the council. Outreach efforts included a network of cultural providers; community and diverse media outlets; news releases to neighborhood papers; and dissemination to current members of the Disparities Reduction Advisory Committee, as they end their tenure.

Appointments must include representation from racial and ethnic minorities, tribal service providers, advocacy groups, human services program participants, and members of the faith community, as well as the majority chairs and minority lead of the human services legislative committees. The council sunsets March 15, 2015.

Links to legislation

Laws of Minnesota 2013, Chapter 107, Article 2, Section 1


The Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council members were appointed in October 2013. The first meeting of the council is scheduled for Nov. 15, 2013.

Five members representing diverse cultural and ethnic communities:

  • Ahmed Mullah, Garden Interpreter and Translation Associates
  • Mitchell Davis Jr., Minneapolis Urban League
  • Kamaludin Hassan, Hennepin County Adult Mental Health Local Advisory Council
  • Pahoua Yang, Amherst Wilder Foundation, Southeast Asian Services
  • Nyagatare Valens, Minnesota Department of Education grants specialist

    Two members representing culturally and linguistically specific advocacy groups:

  • Michael Birdhard, chief diversity and affirmative action officer at North Hennepin Community College
  • Vayong Moua, CECLC chair, senior advocacy and health equity consultant, Center for Prevention, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

    Two members representing culturally specific human services providers:

  • Kamala Puram, executive director, SEWA-AIFW, Asian Indian Family Wellness
  • Titilayo Bediako, WE WIN Institute Inc., Multicultural: Children's Issues

    Two members representing the American Indian community:

  • Joni Buffalohead, director of operations, Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center
  • Kristine Rhodes, executive director, American Indian Cancer Foundation

    Two members representing counties serving large cultural and ethnic communities:

  • Patricia Brady, Ramsey County Workforce Solutions
  • Paula Haywood, continuous practice improvement manager, Hennepin County Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation

    One member who is a human services program participant member representing communities of color:

  • Pa H. Lor, office coordinator, Multicultural & International Programs and Services Office, St. Catherine University

    One member who is a parent of a human services program participant, representing communities of color:

  • Saciido Shaie, parent leader for child safety and permanency, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota

    The chairs ranking minority members of the committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate with jurisdiction over human services:

  • Rep. Matt Dean, House Finance chair
  • Rep. Diane Loeffler, House Finance minority lead (human services)
  • Rep. Tina Liebling, House minority lead (health care)
  • Rep. Tara Mack, House Policy chair
  • Rep. Joe Mullery, House Policy minority lead
  • Sen. Tony Lourey, Senate Finance chair
  • Sen. Julie Rosen, Senate Finance minority lead
  • Sen. Kathy Sheran, Senate Policy chair
  • Sen. Michelle Benson, Senate Policy minority lead

    Two members representing faith-based organizations ministering to ethnic communities:

  • The Rev. Janet Johnson, ordained elder, Wayman African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Vacant

    One member who is a representative of a private industry with an interest in inequity issues:

  • Vacant

    One member representing the University of Minnesota program with expertise on health equity research:

  • Marilyn "Susie" Nanney, advisory board member, University of Minnesota Programs in Health Disparities Research
  • Four representatives of the state ethnic councils:
  • Edward McDonald, Council on Black Minnesotans
  • Sia Her, Council on Pacific Islanders Minnesotans
  • Hector Garcia, Chicano Latino Affairs Council
  • Annamarie Hill, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council
  • One representative of the Ombudspersons for Families:
  • Bauz Nengchu, Muriel Gubasta, Jill Kehaulani Esch and Ann Hill (rotating)
  • Four members who are DHS employees:
  • LaRone Greer, Community Supports Administration
  • Anna Mazig, Operations, Compliance Office
  • Maria Sarabia, Health Care Administration
  • Nathan Moracco, assistant commissioner, Health Care Administration and DHS Senior Management Team member liaison
  • DHS staff to the CECLC:
  • Antonia Wilcoxon, community relations director
  • Tim Quan, community relations staff (research analysis)
  • Denise Flock, administrative staff

    The Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council

    Back row, left to right: Brian Ambuel, DHS intern; David Haley, Ramsey County Community Human Services; Kamaludin Hassan, Hennepin County; DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson; Mitchell Davis Jr., Minneapolis Urban League; DHS Health Care Assistant Commissioner Nathan Moracco; State Sen. Tony Lourey; Paula Haywood, Continuous Practice Improvement manager, Department of Community Corrections; Maria Sarabia, DHS Health Care Administration.

    Front row, left to right : Denise Flock, DHS; Antonia Wilcoxon, DHS community relations director; Vayong Moua, Blue Cross Blue Shield; Mee Cheng, DHS intern; Pam Cosby, Minnesota Urban Area Health Ed Center and council chair; Titilayo Bediako, WE WIN Institute Inc.; Pahoua Yang, Amherst Wilder Foundation; Bauz Nengchu, Office of the Ombudsperson for Families.

    Not pictured: Rep. Jim Abeler, Legislature Representative; Rep. Tom Huntley, Legislature Representative; Rep. Tina Liebling, Legislature Representative; Sen. Michelle Benson, Legislature Senate; Rep. Tara Mack, Legislature Representative; Sen. Julie Rosen, Legislature Senate; Sen. Kathy Sheran, Legislature Senate; Annamarie Hill, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council; Hector Garcia Chicano Latino Affairs Council; Edward McDonald, Council on Black Minnesotans; Sia Her, Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans; Ann Hill, Office of the Ombudsperson for Families; Muriel Gubasta, Office of the Ombudsperson for Families; Jill Kehaulani Esch, Office of the Ombudsperson for Families; Anna Mazig, DHS Compliance Office; Kamala Puram, SEWA-AIFW; LaJuana Whitmore, Target Corp.; LaRone Greer, DHS Chemical and Mental Health Services Administration; Pa Lor, St. Catherine University; the Rev. Janet Johnson, Wayman African Methodist Episcopal Church; Saciido Shaie, Parent Leader/Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota; Sarita Ennis, Fernbrook Family Center Inc.

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