Mankato— September 14, 2022— Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS) and the Children’s  Museum of Southern Minnesota (CMSM) are regional institutions that value health and  wellness. Both institutions have strengths to lend to this partnership as they seek to  provide opportunities for children and families to gain greater awareness about health  and wellness and develop skills that will be beneficial to them now and in the future. 

“This partnership between MCHS and CMSM brings together staff, volunteers, and  resources, and utilizes shared messaging, access to experts, and intentional  programming to positively impact the health and wellness of children and families in our  region,” said Kim Kleven, CMSM Vice President of Education and Learning Experience. 

Dr. Erin Westfall, Associate Program Director/Director of Osteopathic Education,  Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, and Mayo Clinic Family Medicine Residency – Mankato, said the partnership is beneficial for all involved. 

“Number 1: we get to play with kids and families (and sometimes goats).” she said. “Health  happens in the community. We are absolutely committed to working with community  partners to improve the health and well-being of our community. Community work is inspiring and energizing work for us here at the residency program. Our residents have  this wonderful opportunity to learn about child development while also being able to use  their knowledge to playfully teach what they’ve learned about health and wellness. So,  the benefit is really multidimensional – we get to engage our community and learn from  our community members, which will hopefully not only help our children and families  develop the knowledge and skills to achieve optimal health, but also help to develop our  residents into better family physicians through improving their communication skills and  helping them to experience the benefits of community engagement first hand,” Westfall  said. 

This partnership resulted in several programs that were held this summer and will  continue into the fall. They include Healthy Habits, Sun and Bike Safety, Heart Health and Eating Well. The programs also include Wellness and Career Exploration along with a  Baby Play partnership that supports parents and caregivers of infants. 

Christi Wilking with Mayo summed up the partnership by adding, “Mayo Clinic Health  System partnered with the Children’s Museum with the goal of providing opportunities  for children and families to gain greater awareness about health and wellness and  develop skills that will be beneficial to them now and in the future. The Museum is a  place where families gather and it is a natural place to share messaging and  programming to improve health and wellness.” 

She adds, “Mayo Clinic Health System strives to be the most trusted healthcare partner  in the community. By providing trusted education and programming, Mayo Clinic Health  System aims to improve the health and wellness of children and families in our  region. Our providers get to interact with families and learn from them as well. Our  regional children, families and community benefit. An example would be having a family  medicine physician attend Baby Play and guests being able to ask questions about  breastfeeding and nutrition. Another example is around non-school day programming  that aims to inspire children to look at careers in healthcare by checking blood pressures  and practicing suturing. Finally, during the summer Healthy Habit events, families get to  try infused water or healthy snacks to help model healthier choices for at home.” 

A key partnership that allows our community to grow and flourish.