American Refugee Committee wins award for Somali program

  • Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 29, 2012 - 4:10 PM
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American Refugee Committee of President Daniel Wordsworth with Somali immigrant leaders Imam Sheikh Saad Musse Roble (center) and Ali Yusef

The American Refugee Committee (ARC) has won the prestigious 2012 Peter F. Drucker Award in the nonprofit category for its grass-roots "I Am a Star" program. The initiative engages the Somali community in Minnesota and around the globe to help shape ARC's response in order to strengthen the Somali community here and abroad.

Minneapolis-based ARC credits local Somali business- people, hundreds of volunteers as well as corporate-partners such as UCare, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Mosaic Co. and General Mills. ARC topped a field of 614 nonprofit nominees for the award, which includes a $100,000 prize.

"This award is a real tribute to the incredible work of the global Somali diaspora, who have co-created 'I Am a Star,'" said ARC President Daniel Wordsworth. "There are people all around the world who are ready to work together across geographic and cultural distances to help tackle some of the world's biggest challenges."

The Star program has expanded globally -- engaging Somali communities in the United States, Norway, Sweden, Malaysia and the United Kingdom -- to help provide relief in Somalia, home to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. For 30 years, ARC has worked through 2,000 staff members, businesses and countless volunteers to help the indigent and dislocated of Africa and Asia. More information: www.ARCrelief.org.

AFTER 7-YEAR EFFORT, HCMC GOES PAPERLESS

Hennepin County Medical Center has gone paperless, capping a $110 million, seven-year effort by the state's largest public hospital. The computerized system has improved care and saved taxpayers money, HCMC officials said.

"It's important from the technology perspective, but it's also impacting patient care outcomes, patient safety and, in the end, the patient experience and patient satisfaction," said Joanne Sunquist, HCMC's chief information officer. "That's the main reason you do it."

The hospital and its clinics use an electronic health records system that incorporates patient information with lab results, prescriptions, X-rays and other digital images, and allows a doctor to get a real-time view of a patient's chart. It also ties in claims and billing data.

Earlier this month, HCMC became the first Twin Cities hospital system to be recognized by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which does an on-site test of the system before awarding hospitals with its pinnacle achievement.

The Mayo Clinic's digital health system has also been recognized by the group. Only 95 hospitals in the nation have implemented widespread health IT systems.

JACKIE CROSBY

PR VETERAN SIGNS ON WITH BEST BUY

PR veteran Amy von Walter will work on Best Buy's image after recent upheaval that ranged from lousy performance and an ousted former CEO to an ongoing attempt by founder Richard Schulze, who was forced off the board, to buy the Richfield-based company and take it private. Von Walter, 38, has joined Best Buy as senior director of public relations. She comes from Medtronic, where she worked for the past 11 months as communications director. Von Walter's résumé includes stints at HealthPartners, Target, the Transportation Security Administration and the Washington D.C.-area Metropolitan Airports Commission.

"Medtronic is a great organization," Von Walter said. "[Medtronic CEO] Omar Ishrak is a really smart, authentic leader. But the opportunity at Best Buy was once in a lifetime. I'll get a chance to reframe the story. ... It's a Fortune 500 company with a strong foundation. There are lots of good things ahead."

JIM SPENCER

SHORT TAKES

Former Minnesota Public Radio broadcaster Bob Potter, also a veteran financial planner, has joined with a partner to form Sound Money Group, a financial planning and money-management firm.

Potter hosted "Sound Money" for 15 years before leaving MPR a decade ago to become a financial planner. Potter, 65, and business partner Scott Haakenson, 47, purchased the Sound Money registration rights to launch the new firm.

"This is a meat-and-potatoes shop," Potter said. "Sound Money Group will give people the kind of advice they expected from the radio program but personalized to their unique circumstances and integrated with health care and financial advice. During all those years I was yakking on the radio ... Scott was slogging through the trenches dealing with people's real money issues in a very personal way." More info: www.soundmoney group.com.

•There's still room at the Oct. 11 annual finance conference of the Collaborative to hear Minnesota Wild boss Craig Leipold talk about his $200 million investment in a couple 20-something pucksters; Brad Cleveland, CEO of Proto Labs, Minnesota's most successful IPO of recent years; Mark Heesen, head of the National Venture Association, and a lot of promising young companies who are looking for expansion capital. More info on cost and agenda: www.collaborative.net.

The U.S.-China Business Connections, a local organization dedicated to helping businesses succeed in relationships with China, is sponsoring six monthly meetings featuring experts on Chinese history, philosophy, culture, current events and more beginning Oct. 17. The charge is $475 for UCBC members or $90 per session. More information: Larry Mahoney at lmahoney_adr@yahoo.com.

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