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Canvas Health School-Based Therapist, Christina Blaszczyk, recently helped create and facilitate a mental health-related course for 916 Mahtomedi Academy and EastView Academy students.

“A Walk in My Shoes” is a one-credit course co-created by 916 Art Teacher Shawn Hennessey and 916 Language Arts Teacher Jenna Dugan and Blaszczyk. The course activities and material are based upon the movie “A Silent Voice”, which features heavy topics such as bullying and suicide.

As a part of the course, students viewed “A Silent Voice” and created an art project where they represented their authentic selves on shoes, and then participated in a peer-reviewed gallery walk where each student could share what it is like to walk in their shoes.

Students also participated in a facilitated critical discussion on the movie with teachers and therapists. The discussion focused on how to prevent bullying and suicide and how students can help stop misinformation and stigma.

“The small class size allowed for scholars to feel comfortable and safe enough to explore serious topics, such as bullying and suicide. It was a privilege to see a group of scholars from two different schools connect with each other throughout this meaningful course,” said Blaszczyk.

This course is now official curriculum within the 916 District and its creators are hopeful this course will be offered annually.

Learn more about our School-Based Mental Health Services >>

School-Based Therapist Co-Facilitates “A Walk in My Shoes” Course

Canvas Health School-Based Therapist, Christina Blaszczyk, recently helped create and facilitate a mental health-related course for 916 Mahtomedi Academy and EastView Academy students. “A Walk in My Shoes” is a one-credit course co-created by 916 Art Teacher Shawn Hennessey and 916 Language Arts Teacher Jenna Dugan and Blaszczyk. The course activities and material are based […]

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In our Staff Showcase series, we’re highlighting individuals who make Canvas Health an exceptional mental health provider. Today, we shine the spotlight on Dean Gorall, Colleen Pavel-Brown, and Ping An Liu, who have dedicated their careers to making a difference in our community.

Join us in thanking our incredible staff for their contributions to our mission!

Celebrating 20 Years with Canvas Health

Dean Gorall

Dean GorallDean Gorall is the Supervisor of the Family Treatment Program which is one of the oldest programs within the agency. He first came to the agency and began working in the Family Treatment Program to complete his internship in 1996.

Dean has been a constant calm, smart and articulate presence within the Child Division for the last 20 years. Dean has spent much of his career working with families who are experiencing the most difficult of relational struggles. He has seen many Washington County families when they are at their worst, lowest and most vulnerable. Dean’s collaboration, sensitive style and clinical expertise is seen, heard, and felt by his clients, co-therapists, and colleagues.

In 2018 Dean became the supervisor of the Family Treatment Program. And since our go live date with Profiler in 2010, Dean has put in countless hours of Electronic Health Record training for virtually all employees entering the agency. Hundreds of Canvas Health employees have been touched by his humor, kindness, and teaching.

Dean – Thank you for your 20 years of service to children and their families.

Colleen Pavel-Brown

Colleen Pavel-BrownColleen started at HSI in 2003 in the Accounts Payable role. She was in that role for a few years and then moved to doing AP role and AR role as a transition into full time AR Specialist. Then after a few years, Colleen’s role was split into part-time AR and part-time purchasing when a colleague retired. Colleen now does a split between Purchasing and AR. Colleen does all purchasing for programs supplies and office supplies. She answers client calls, works on billing questions, sends out county billing and contract billing and does all follow up on our work comp and EAP billing. Colleen also does all client collections.

For everyone that doesn’t know Colleen, she is a kid at heart. She never wants to grow up, and she is always keeping AR on our toes and laughing. Right when you think you have heard everything, Colleen will one-up herself, make your jaw drop, and leave you laughing. AR started a list of funny Colleen stories for her award write up, but we decided to keep all those stories to our “inner jokes” for AR. Colleen has been a great asset to Canvas and AR. She has given Canvas Health 20 years, and we hope to have 20 more years of funny stories. Thank you, Colleen!

Ping An Liu

Ping An LiuPing joined the agency in 2003 as an Accountant and has seen numerous accounting and financial reporting changes during that time, from adding and closing programs to becoming a CCBHC in 2022. Ping participated in 20 annual external audits (which is an accomplishment in itself) and helped Canvas Health pass these audits with minimal or no findings.

Ping has also helped implement and customize our current accounting system to make sure it meets the agency’s needs, and he has trained and mentored our Accounts Payable Specialists over the years to ensure invoices and expenses are entered correctly into our accounting system. In addition, Ping prepares our monthly reports and addresses questions from program leaders to help them understand their financials. Thank you Ping for 20 years of dedicated service to Canvas Health!

Staff Showcase: Celebrating 20 Years

In our Staff Showcase series, we’re highlighting individuals who make Canvas Health an exceptional mental health provider. Today, we shine the spotlight on Dean Gorall, Colleen Pavel-Brown, and Ping An Liu, who have dedicated their careers to making a difference in our community. Join us in thanking our incredible staff for their contributions to our […]

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On May 11, 2023, the federal government will end the pandemic’s classification as a public health emergency. One of the direct effects of this move on Canvas Health clients is the ending of a safety net requiring Minnesota and other states to keep individuals automatically enrolled in Medicaid programs.

This means that 1.5 million Minnesotans on Medicaid programs — either Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare — will have to once again re-enroll for their benefits. Currently, approximately 60% of Canvas Health clients receive coverage through Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare.

Canvas Health is joining the State in communicating to clients regarding the eligibility renewal process through email reminders, printed materials, and staff education about the renewal process.

If clients need assistance during the renewal process, we are encouraging them to schedule an appointment with a Canvas Health Care Coordinator. If a client no longer qualifies for Medicaid, Canvas Health’s Navigators can help them find new health care coverage through MNSure, the State’s health insurance marketplace.

We encourage clients and others to check out our special webpage to access information and links about these upcoming changes.

Medicaid Automatic Renewals Ending

On May 11, 2023, the federal government will end the pandemic’s classification as a public health emergency. One of the direct effects of this move on Canvas Health clients is the ending of a safety net requiring Minnesota and other states to keep individuals automatically enrolled in Medicaid programs. This means that 1.5 million Minnesotans on Medicaid […]

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“All Are Welcome Here,” reads the rainbow sign at the entrances of Canvas Health clinic locations.  Entering the clinic, one will also find a smaller version of this sign affixed to many of the office doors, providing a warm and affirming welcome – an indication that these are safe spaces for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

As an organization, Canvas Health is dedicated to providing affirmative and inclusive mental health and substance use services to LGBTQIA+ community members. Canvas’ employee-run Rainbow Affinity group was formally introduced in January of 2023 and is always looking for new and additional members.

The Rainbow Affinity group provides informative and educational Lunch and Learns each month (and weekly during the month of June – Pride month). These sessions have provided education about a wide range of topics relevant to serving LGBTQIA+ individuals.  Topics covered have included LGBTQIA+ “101”, gender-affirming care resources, cultural considerations, the impact of substance use in the LGBTQIA+ community and micro-/macro-aggressions, to name a few.

In June, the Lunch and Learn topics for Canvas Health staff will include:

  • A Deep Dive Into Gender Dysphoria: Criteria, prevalence, assessment tools and the DSM-V
  • Notable Figures in LGBTQIA+ History: Celebrating our predecessors
  • Staying Safe In Our Current Climate: Wait! What do you mean by that?
  • They’re Banning Drag Shows? What a drag!

In addition to the Lunch and Learns, the Rainbow Affinity group has hosted social gatherings for the agency and make themselves available to provide consultation, suggestions and/or resources to any colleagues or community members who find themselves in need.

In a climate where stereotypes seem often to be simply accepted as truth, the Rainbow Affinity group is dedicated to raising awareness and providing factual information. These efforts have proven to be a great success for Canvas Health. Each month, approximately 10-15% of Canvas’ employees attend the Lunch and Learn.  Feedback has revealed the sessions to be helpful, relevant, and valuable.

Representatives of Canvas Health will be at Loring Park June 24 and 25 for the 2023 Minneapolis Pride Festival! Please stop by our booth, check out our services and grab a little Pride swag!

Author: Jaxx Wolfe, LADC

Substance Use Treatment Program Supervisor
Co-leader, CH Rainbow Affinity Group

All Are Welcome Here

“All Are Welcome Here,” reads the rainbow sign at the entrances of Canvas Health clinic locations.  Entering the clinic, one will also find a smaller version of this sign affixed to many of the office doors, providing a warm and affirming welcome – an indication that these are safe spaces for members of the LGBTQIA+ […]

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In our Staff Showcase series, we’re highlighting individuals who make Canvas Health an exceptional mental health provider.

Join us in thanking our incredible staff for their contributions to our mission!

Celebrating 20 Years with Canvas Health

Dean Gorall

Dean GorallDean Gorall is the Supervisor of the Family Treatment Program which is one of the oldest programs within the agency. He first came to the agency and began working in the Family Treatment Program to complete his internship in 1996.

Dean has been a constant calm, smart and articulate presence within the Child Division for the last 20 years. Dean has spent much of his career working with families who are experiencing the most difficult of relational struggles. He has seen many Washington County families when they are at their worst, lowest and most vulnerable. Dean’s collaboration, sensitive style and clinical expertise is seen, heard, and felt by his clients, co-therapists, and colleagues.

In 2018 Dean became the supervisor of the Family Treatment Program. And since our go live date with Profiler in 2010, Dean has put in countless hours of Electronic Health Record training for virtually all employees entering the agency. Hundreds of Canvas Health employees have been touched by his humor, kindness, and teaching.

Dean – Thank you for your 20 years of service to children and their families.

Colleen Pavel-Brown

Colleen Pavel-BrownColleen started at HSI in 2003 in the Accounts Payable role. She was in that role for a few years and then moved to doing AP role and AR role as a transition into full time AR Specialist. Then after a few years, Colleen’s role was split into part-time AR and part-time purchasing when a colleague retired. Colleen now does a split between Purchasing and AR. Colleen does all purchasing for programs supplies and office supplies. She answers client calls, works on billing questions, sends out county billing and contract billing and does all follow up on our work comp and EAP billing. Colleen also does all client collections.

For everyone that doesn’t know Colleen, she is a kid at heart. She never wants to grow up, and she is always keeping AR on our toes and laughing. Right when you think you have heard everything, Colleen will one-up herself, make your jaw drop, and leave you laughing. AR started a list of funny Colleen stories for her award write up, but we decided to keep all those stories to our “inner jokes” for AR. Colleen has been a great asset to Canvas and AR. She has given Canvas Health 20 years, and we hope to have 20 more years of funny stories. Thank you, Colleen!

Ping An Liu

Ping An LiuPing joined the agency in 2003 as an Accountant and has seen numerous accounting and financial reporting changes during that time, from adding and closing programs to becoming a CCBHC in 2022. Ping participated in 20 annual external audits (which is an accomplishment in itself) and helped Canvas Health pass these audits with minimal or no findings.

Ping has also helped implement and customize our current accounting system to make sure it meets the agency’s needs, and he has trained and mentored our Accounts Payable Specialists over the years to ensure invoices and expenses are entered correctly into our accounting system. In addition, Ping prepares our monthly reports and addresses questions from program leaders to help them understand their financials. Thank you Ping for 20 years of dedicated service to Canvas Health!

Celebrating 25 Years with Canvas Health

Heather Mundis

Heather Mundis, staff showcaseHeather Mundis has had a tremendous career at Canvas Health. Twenty-five years ago she was hired in HSI’s violence intervention program for adolescents. From there Heather’s leadership was recognized and when HSI was approached to build a mobile crisis team, Heather was up to the challenge. She built and then ran a 24/7/365 mobile crisis team serving Washington County. Her wonderful work over the years poised Canvas Health to take on 7 additional counties providing mobile crisis services.

When Heather reflects back on all her accomplishments over the years, her proudest moments are building the mobile crisis team and saving so many lives through the work. Seven years ago an opportunity opened up in outpatient where Heather would be allotted the ability to be located closer to her home in Forest Lake.  She welcomed the shorter drives and ability to take on a new challenge, becoming the supervisor in the outpatient clinic.

Over the years she has been an ambassador to other programs in the Forest Lake office as well as showing willingness to go to external events to help highlight the need for mental health services and promote the great work that is being done at Canvas Health. Heather always prides herself on trying to help her staff and clients through attending to the physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual health for all those served in Forest Lake.  Heather exemplifies the mission of Canvas Health by instilling hope to all those who come in contact with her; provide healing to her clients and coworkers; and by promoting recovery in her daily work with her clients and all the clients who are seen at the Forest Lake clinic. Canvas Health has benefited greatly for Heather’s 25 years of dedication and service.

Nancy Nelson

Nancy Nelson, staff showcaseCanvas Health has had the privilege of having Nancy Nelson part of our staff for well over 20 years. If you know Nancy you know that being the center of attention is not something she enjoys, and you also know that Nancy has always taken pride in her work. She expresses gratitude for being given the opportunity to work with so many amazing people, both staff and clients. She views problems and struggles as opportunities to overcome, and she has always kept clients at the center of her work long before person-centered thinking was a thing.

Nancy began working for Canvas Health in 1997 as a vocational counselor and she can tell you about the many changes and roles she has participated in over the years. In 2010, Nancy decided to take a break from Canvas Health, but about 6 months later John Savereide approached her about a great opportunity at Canvas to make a difference in people’s lives. Nancy returned because of her respect for John and excitement about the work. She has been working with John in Housing Services ever since. They have been the dynamic duo of housing and helping people succeed in their housing.

Nancy always sees the good in people and situations. She is always kind, genuine, and willing to lend a helping hand. Even though she is “retired,” she continues working for Canvas 8 hours a week because she wants to make sure Canvas’s transition out of some housing programs goes well.  Again, always thinking about ways she can help.  It is with respect and gratitude that we say THANK YOU Nancy for all that you have done to make the world a better place for so many people.

Staff Showcase: Celebrating Our Staff!

In our Staff Showcase series, we’re highlighting individuals who make Canvas Health an exceptional mental health provider. Join us in thanking our incredible staff for their contributions to our mission! Celebrating 20 Years with Canvas Health Dean Gorall Dean Gorall is the Supervisor of the Family Treatment Program which is one of the oldest programs […]

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Due to the pandemic, Mike* lost his job in April of 2020. In his past work history, he had experience as a prep cook and dishwasher, but was struggling to find jobs on his own. It was assumed he was often overlooked for jobs he was perfectly qualified for due to his presentation.

That’s where the Partnering for Jobs Employment Specialist came in to assist Mike in his exploration.

Many individuals with mental health disabilities have difficulty holding jobs due to the cyclical nature of their illness or insufficient coping and work-related skills. Yet, employment plays a significant role in recovery from mental illness. Canvas Health provides vocational services to help these individuals seek and attain employment, and to develop skills to help them maintain employment.

For Mike, our Employment Specialist was able to communicate directly with employers to inform them of Mike’s skills, experience, and suitability for the job. One of those conversations landed him a job interview at Red Robin, where he was hired on the spot for a dishwasher/prep cook position.

Thanks to Mike’s persistence and his Employment Specialist’s support, he is able to work in an environment he enjoys and with people he thinks of as family. He often tells his Employment Specialist how thankful he is for the support he has received from his employer and the Partnering for Jobs program.

“I’m just so speechless. I’ve never had this much support in my life from anyone… and I’m not going anywhere!” – Mike, Canvas Health client*

Learn more about our Vocational Services for Adults and Youth to see how our specialists can help with:

  • Job placement, coaching, and support
  • Vocational counseling
  • Benefits counseling
  • Job retention and follow-along supports
  • Integration of mental health care with Partnering for Jobs services

Partnering for Jobs services are funded by Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services and are provided at no cost to participants. This program is offered in collaboration with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Partnering for Jobs Connects Loyal Staff with Grateful Employers

Due to the pandemic, Mike* lost his job in April of 2020. In his past work history, he had experience as a prep cook and dishwasher, but was struggling to find jobs on his own. It was assumed he was often overlooked for jobs he was perfectly qualified for due to his presentation. That’s where […]

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This article was prepared by Noreen S. Raja as a part of Canvas Health’s APA-accredited Doctoral Internship in Clinical and Health Service Psychology Program. As part of their year-long internships, interns research and present two case conferences. In recognition of Autism Awareness Month (April), following is Raja’s research into communication deficits in Autism.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), ASD is characterized by “communication and interaction with individuals, restricted interests and repetitive behaviors.” These symptoms affect the ability to function in school, work and other areas. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by differences in the brain. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition and other causes are not yet known.

What are common symptoms of ASD?

As children with ASD transition into adolescence and young adulthood, they may experience difficulties with communicating with peers and adults, developing and maintaining friendships or understand what behaviors are expected of them in school or at work. Additionally, co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more prevalent in individuals with ASD than in people without.

Communication deficits are one of the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. Some people with ASD can be slow to begin talking or may not learn to talk at all, and others may learn to produce words and sentences but have difficulty using them in social interaction with others. This heterogenous subgroup remains under-researched despite the fact that approximately 30% of children with ASD remain minimally-speaking or non-speaking into adulthood.

Features of non-/minimally speaking Autism

Although nonspeaking or minimally speaking can make communicating with others challenging at times, the absence of verbal communication does not indicate that an autistic person is not communicating. Some may require extra support to help them communicate effectively through other means. Some features of non-/minimally speaking autistic individuals include cortical structural changes which can impact the processing of language and speech production (Jack and Pelphrey, 2017).

Furthermore, some studies indicate visual processing impairment in minimally speaking children with ASD which can negatively influence the acquisition of language (Ortiz-Mantilla et al., 2019) Additionally, due to limited research in this area, there is no single mechanism that suggest underlying difficulties in learning to speak within minimally speaking individuals. Studies have also shown that impairments in pragmatic speech are a distinctive feature of ASD regardless of language level or age (Valle et al., 2020).

Things to consider when working with non-/minimally speaking autistic individuals

One way to accommodate these individuals is to provide access to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), which allows them to communicate their thoughts and experiences. Recognizing the importance of valuing non-verbal forms of communication for this population is essential. For example, some studies have indicated that students prefer to use non-speaking modes of communication with their teachers because it helped to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Additionally, be aware of the needs of diverse families in addition to the child. As Hanson and Lynch (2013) state: “Working as a culturally responsive educator requires professionals to be sensitive of families’ differences in beliefs, behaviors, languages, viewpoints, ways of thinking, interacting and worshipping; for they can create both texture and tension in the world.”

 

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Mental Health (Updated 2022). Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved from NIMH autism spectrum disorder (nih.gov)

Jack, A., & A. Pelphrey, K. (2017). Annual Research Review: Understudied populations within the autism spectrum–current trends and future directions in neuroimaging research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry58(4), 411-435.

La Valle, C., Plesa-Skwerer, D., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2020). Comparing the pragmatic speech profiles of minimally verbal and verbally fluent individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders50, 3699-3713.

Ortiz-Mantilla, S., Cantiani, C., Shafer, V. L., & Benasich, A. A. (2019). Minimally-verbal children with autism show deficits in theta and gamma oscillations during processing of semantically-related visual information. Scientific reports9(1), 5072.

Understanding Communication Deficits in Autism

This article was prepared by Noreen S. Raja as a part of Canvas Health’s APA-accredited Doctoral Internship in Clinical and Health Service Psychology Program. As part of their year-long internships, interns research and present two case conferences. In recognition of Autism Awareness Month (April), following is Raja’s research into communication deficits in Autism. What is […]

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With the help of the District 916 Innovation Grant, 916 Mahtomedi Academy has partnered with Cerresso Fort, owner of SIR Boxing, to offer students boxing workshops.

This unique program is designed for students who aspire to learn more about boxing or to reach their wellness goals. The 12 boxing workshops began in January 18 and will continue through mid-April 2023.

Canvas Health Physical Health

Christina Blaszczyk is the Mahtomedi Academy’s Mental Health/Canvas Health School-Based Therapist who kickstarted the partnership with SIR Boxing.

Christina’s goal with the boxing program is to help students work on both physical and mental wellness while learning valuable life skills. Christina knew that boxing is so much more than throwing punches. Like many sports, it requires mental discipline as well as physical discipline.

Cerresso, pictured here with Tricia Giese, Mahtomedi Academy staff member, agrees.

“SIR boxing works with building and strengthening the mind. Mindset is everything. When you practice mindfulness, you improve your ability to respond instead of react. Students practice self compassion, self control. We also are building confidence in our youth. Students are getting out of their comfort zones and developing a weekly routine,” Cerresso said.

The benefits go on and on, but there’s one crucial element that that makes this program a true success: having fun!

One student summed it up perfectly, as only a student can. “So far, it’s been pretty great – all of it has been really fun.”

The program is a great success so far and Canvas Health is looking forward to continuing this partnership between SIR Boxing and 916 Mahtomedi Academy into the future.

For more information on how boxing can impact mental and physical health, see articles below:

Healthline Article – Boxing Benefits: 6 Reasons to Try Throwing a Punch

Harper Bazaar Article – 6 ways boxing can benefit your mental health

CrediHealth Article – Step Into the Ring and Feel the Benefits of Youth Boxing

Boxing Helps Strengthen Students Mental and Physical Health

With the help of the District 916 Innovation Grant, 916 Mahtomedi Academy has partnered with Cerresso Fort, owner of SIR Boxing, to offer students boxing workshops. This unique program is designed for students who aspire to learn more about boxing or to reach their wellness goals. The 12 boxing workshops began in January 18 and […]

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Canvas Health is pleased to welcome an amazing team of Adult Case Managers to our agency. With their help, we will be able to do more to assist adults with severe mental health needs in receiving mental health, social, educational, employment, and other necessary services. The goal of Adult Case Management is to help these individuals to function and remain within the community.

Our newest employees embody all the best qualities of what makes case managers special. And through their individual roles, they will help Canvas Health to reach more clients.

Meet the Adult Case Management team

Expanding our Case Management Team

Erica Morris leads the team, providing oversight to the Adult Case Management and Housing Services teams.

Megan Swanson serves as our Washington County Adult Mental Health Case Manager. Megan is accepting referrals for clients who live in Washington County and have a PMAP.

Autumn Borgen is our Minnesota Community Healthcare Network (MCHN) Adult Case Manager. She works clients on brief 90-day case management services.

Supporting our CCBHC Certification

Adding this case management team is just one way that Canvas Health is expanding on services we already provide as a part of our Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) certification. Canvas Health is now one of 13 CCBHCs in Minnesota, and is authorized to provide CCBHC services to individuals on Medicaid in Anoka, Chisago, Hennepin, Isanti, Scott, and Washington counties. Check out our announcement here.

Learn more about Adult Case Management

Visit our Case Management page to learn more about eligibility criteria and the referral process for working with our case managers. In addition to offering case management for adults, Canvas Health also offers this service for adolescents and children.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Danielle Eliasen, Program Administrator, at deliasen@canvashealth.org.

Photo credit: by Freepik

Expanding our Case Management Team

Canvas Health is pleased to welcome an amazing team of Adult Case Managers to our agency. With their help, we will be able to do more to assist adults with severe mental health needs in receiving mental health, social, educational, employment, and other necessary services. The goal of Adult Case Management is to help these […]

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Columbia Heights social workers Eileen Crosby (left) and Erin Buller (right) and their supervisor Jessica Torrey (center) receive the department’s T. Nightingale Community Service Award
Columbia Heights social workers Eileen Crosby (left) and Erin Buller (right) and their supervisor Jessica Torrey (center) receive the department’s T. Nightingale Community Service Award in 2022 for outstanding efforts in
the co-responder social worker program.

In February 2023, the Columbia Heights Police Department awarded Canvas Health and our embedded social worker team of Eileen Crosby, Erin Buller, and Jessica Torrey with the 2022 T. Nightingale Community Policing Award.

The award is named after retired police officer Terry Nightingale and is given to those who exemplify a strong relationship with the community as well as above and beyond service.

The text of the award is as follows:

The T. Nightingale Annual Community Service Award is reserved for up to one employee of the Columbia Heights Police Department, and up to one member of another city department, partner, stakeholder or member of the public.

This award may be given to a person who has provided a significant contribution, or several smaller contributions, in the area of Community Policing or service to the community. This person will have an above average relationship with the community. They will be service oriented with a willingness to go above and beyond, while considering no task too great or trivial to tackle. They will demonstrate an above average dedication to their role, project or partnership while showing a commitment to improving the Columbia Heights community. They will be known for their positive attitude and demonstrating the Community Policing philosophy in their words and actions.

“It is an honor for Canvas Health and our embedded social worker team to accept the T. Nightingale Community Policing Award from the Columbia Heights Police Department. This partnership is a beautiful illustration of the good that can come when law enforcement and mental health professionals work together to make our communities safer for everyone, even on their most difficult days,” said Dr. Khu Thao, Canvas Health CEO.

Canvas Health continues to be grateful to the Columbia Heights Police Department for their partnership and are honored to receive this award.

Embedded Social Worker Team Receives Community Policing Award

In February 2023, the Columbia Heights Police Department awarded Canvas Health and our embedded social worker team of Eileen Crosby, Erin Buller, and Jessica Torrey with the 2022 T. Nightingale Community Policing Award. The award is named after retired police officer Terry Nightingale and is given to those who exemplify a strong relationship with the community […]

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Team Mission Moment! What brings a mission to life are the people who exemplify it every day. Canvas Health team mission members are dedicated to providing excellent clinical care and making a positive impact in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Our team is motivated by a shared mission to help others and make a difference in the diverse communities we serve.

Meet some of the dedicated individuals who bring our mission to life through their work in the clinic, on staff, or as volunteers. We are grateful for their service.

Team photos for Mission Moments
The Canvas Health team is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our patients and the community. Here, our team members come together to exemplify our mission of providing excellent clinical care and making a positive impact in the community. We are proud of the work they do every day.

“I am so proud and grateful to walk alongside my clients’ journey of growth and healing. Their ability to remain resilient, hopeful, and driven despite difficult circumstances of mental illness, grief, and trauma is incredible and astonishing.” ~ Sydney Bartz, MSW, LGSW; Outpatient Psychotherapist Practitioner

Learn more about Canvas Health’s Outpatient Therapy for all ages

“As a practitioner at Canvas Health I have been trained to not only provide counseling for my clients, but to also empower them. By providing professional guidance and connecting them with the wide variety of services available throughout our agency, we equip our clients with the tools necessary for them to thrive.” ~ Nina Mattson, MA; Mobile Crisis Practitioner; Scott County Mobile Crisis Response Team

Learn more about Canvas Health’s Crisis Response Services

“As the youngest of eight siblings, I came to the United States as a refugee at the age of 11 years old. I am grateful for all the help I have received in my life. I joined the Board of Directors at Canvas Health because it allowed me to leverage my experience, both personally and professionally, to provide help to those in need, just as others have done for me.” ~ True Thao, MSW, True Thao Counseling Services, Canvas Health Board Member

Learn more about Canvas Health’s Board and Leadership

Canvas Health Mission Moment: Team Features

Team Mission Moment! What brings a mission to life are the people who exemplify it every day. Canvas Health team mission members are dedicated to providing excellent clinical care and making a positive impact in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Our team is motivated by a shared mission to help others and make a difference […]

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Communities across the Twin Cities, and across the country, are having conversations about how best to balance public safety with the needs of individuals in distress. More than merely talking about how police and social workers could work together, Canvas Health partnered with the Columbia Heights (Minnesota) Police Department to make it a reality. The Embedded Social Worker program teams law enforcement officers with social workers and mental health professionals to respond collaboratively when police are called.

Canvas Health Embedded Social Workers

Infographic Columbia Heights Embedded Social Work

 

Captain Erik Johnston of the Columbia Heights Police Department spoke about this partnership at our Valley Vine & Harvest Throwdown event in October.

“From the start, Canvas Health was an obvious partner for this program. Not only were they currently providing high-quality after-hours crisis response and support to our community, but they also quickly embraced the partnership and demonstrated the knowledge and passion to make a program like this work.

In the first 6 months of the program, 106 of 107 co-responses by social workers and police were resolved without the use of force. 103 of those situations were resolved without needing a transport hold.

During this same period, the social worker provided services to 183 clients and had nearly 800 interactions. Many of those contacts would previously have been handled by police. It has been clear to us that there is an unmet need for this type of service in our community. Additionally, both the officers and the mental health professionals are learning from each other and improving how we deliver our co-responder services to the community.”

 

Expanding the program to increase its impact

The goal is to expand this program to more police departments across the Greater Twin Cities area. In November, Canvas Health’s law enforcement embedded social workers, Eileen Crosby and Erin Buller, were proud to participate in the Criminal Justice Mental Health Summit hosted by Eckberg Lammers, P.C. Eileen and Erin worked directly with the Columbia Heights Police Department and participated in an “Embedded Social Workers in Police Departments” panel discussion with other agencies and social workers.

“I feel confident in saying at this point that our program has been a success, and that would not have been possible without the strong and generous support of Canvas Health, and my hope is for a long-lasting partnership going forward.” – Capt. Erik Johnston, Columbia Height Police Department

Success Story: Columbia Heights Embedded Social Worker Program

Communities across the Twin Cities, and across the country, are having conversations about how best to balance public safety with the needs of individuals in distress. More than merely talking about how police and social workers could work together, Canvas Health partnered with the Columbia Heights (Minnesota) Police Department to make it a reality. The […]

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What is the “holiday spirit?”
When you boil it all down, it’s two things: It’s love. It’s hope.

It’s about loving our families and working towards a better tomorrow, even when it’s hard. The holiday season can be tough, especially for those struggling with their health or trying to provide basic necessities. But it’s important to make space for joy and the holiday spirit, especially for families with children. By prioritizing health and wellbeing and refusing to give up, we can find hope and love in the midst of challenges.

Fill the Sled fundraiser raised over $7,000 for 30+ families and filled them with holiday spirit.That’s why Canvas Health hosts an annual Fill the Sled Fundraiser to provide a special holiday for their clients and their families. This year, thanks to the generosity of their staff and donors, they were able to raise over $7,000 and provide gift cards to 30+ families in need!

With those funds, we are able to provide gift cards to 30+ families in need. Families like the Wallaces* who are progressing through our Children’s Mental Health Case Management program:

“The Wallaces exemplify the meaning of family. In addition to their grown children and grandchildren, they have extended their care to their grandchildren’s friends believing it is better to have them at their house than on the streets. Despite financial, emotional, and physical challenges, they have never given up. They see a glass as half full not half empty.”

Our staff also wrote about Corrine* and Marielle*, two other Canvas Health clients whose stockings were filled this year.

“Corrine has fought an amazing battle with her addiction to Fentanyl. She sought safe housing through SHARE for her children so she could complete inpatient treatment, and is currently in IOP Substance Use Treatment. Corrine is a wonderful mother who is committed to her sobriety and recovery for a better life for herself and her children.”

Learn more about Substance Use Disorder Services and Housing Services

“Marielle has struggled with receiving adequate and appropriate state/county services to make ends meet, but has remained resilient, hopeful and determined. Though working with her therapist, she has fought through intense grief and loss that shows remarkable strength and resilience.”

Learn more about Outpatient Therapy and Care Coordination

As with everything Canvas Health does, Fill the Sled is inspired by the community we serve. Staff from all service areas nominated patients for this program and included some of their stories. Despite their challenges, what stands out the most to us is that holiday spirit of love and hope.

*Client names changed to protect privacy.

Fill the Sled, Make the Holidays Bright

What is the “holiday spirit?” When you boil it all down, it’s two things: It’s love. It’s hope. It’s about loving our families and working towards a better tomorrow, even when it’s hard. The holiday season can be tough, especially for those struggling with their health or trying to provide basic necessities. But it’s important […]

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