This is a draft agenda. Start and end times are estimates. 

Montana Healthy Communities: Bridging the Gap Between Economic Vitality & Health

Best Western Premier Helena Great Northern 

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

PRE-CONFERENCE COLLABORATIONSScheduled Association and Non-Profit Meetings

9:00 - 11:00 AM

Eat Right Montana / Action For Healthy Kids Member Meeting

Participation is open to anyone interested in learning more about the organization as well as current ERM-AFHK members. This meeting is hosted by Eat Right Montana. RSVP with Jane Gillette at

11:00 - 2:00 PM

Montana Farm to School Leadership Meeting

Participation is by invitation only. Hosted by Montana Farm to School. Contact Aubree Roth to attend.

12:00 to 5:30 PM


Registration and Check-In available from Noon to 5:30 PM


12:00 - 2:00 PM

Montana Public Health Research

Interactive opportunity for community participants, providers, other public health stakeholders, and health researchers to discuss community-based research needs and challenges. Hear about current community-based participatory research efforts in Montana from the researchers themselves, then weigh in with your ideas and questions. Moderated by Alexandra Adams, M.D., Ph.D. Light snacks provided.

Hosted by the Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity (CAIRHE) and Montana INBRE.

12:00 - 5:30 PM

Registration Open

2:00 PM

WELCOME – Great Northern Ballroom

Opening Remarks
Aaron Wernham, Chief Executive Officer, Montana Healthcare Foundation
Kristin Juliar, Director, Montana Office of Rural Health/Area Health Education Center

2:10 PM


Rural Brain Gain and Rewriting the Rural Narrative
Benjamin Winchester, Research Fellow, Extension Center for Community Vitality, University of Minnesota and full-time resident of small town, rural Minnesota

3:40 PM

21St Century Planning: Why and how the planning profession should include public health
Chris Danley, Planner, Owner of Vitruvian Planning, and former Boise Planning & Zoning Commissioner

4:30 PM

Walking Through the Looking Glass, an Inclusive Walk Audit* with Chris Danley

This hands-on pedestrian experience will expose participants to a contextual technical walking and rolling environment. Facilitated with local active living and built environment expert Cathy Costakis, Meg Ann Traci and state disability advisors Chris Siller and Liz Ann Kudrna.

**Must register for this; first come, first served. SPACE LIMITED.

4:30 PM


For those who don’t have a spot in the Walk Audit, you have free time before the Poster Showcase and Networking Reception.

5:30 to 7:00 PM

Join us for appetizers, drinks, and discussion!



Community Success Posters: Posters spotlighting cross-sector engagement through coordination, cooperation and collaboration, guided by proven practices, policies and smart investments, and overcoming barriers of time, trust and turf.

Research for Healthy Communities:  Posters spotlighting community based participatory research that links Montana communities to the researchers in Montana universities.

Learn what it would take to replicate these initiatives and research efforts in your community. Project representatives will be available to share their recommendations and ingredients for success.


Promoting Healthy Communities, Human Capital, and Neighborhood Reinvestment 


Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

7:45 to 8:15 AM

Check-In & Networking Breakfast

8:20 AM


Welcome and Opening Remarks 
Casey Lozar, Assistant Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Helena Branch

8:30 AM

Building a Community that is Economically Vital and Healthy
Tash Wisemiller, Community & Economic Vitality Program Manager, Montana Main Street Program Coordinator, Montana Department of Commerce

9:30 AM


Activity 1: Community Context Assessment
During the first activity, we will look at your community’s needs and the external context in which it’s situated. This assessment will underpin the strategic plan you develop in the final activity.

10:15 AM


10:30 AM

Montana Economic Outlook
Barbara Wagner, Montana Chief Economist, Montanan Department of Labor and Industry

10:45 AM

What’s FWP got to do with it? How Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks improves communities
Beth Shumate, Parks Division Administrator, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

11:00 AM


What’s Business Got To Do With It? How economic development, community prosperity and health are interwoven
Sarah Calhoun, Owner/Creator, Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs
Rebekah Nelson, CEO, Zoot Enterprises, Inc
Amy Hyfield, Executive Director, O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation, Montana’s Funders for Children

11:55 AM


Activity 2: Vision for the Future
We will create a compelling future state that is inspiring and that resonates with the needs of the people that you serve. When imagining your vision for the future, you will consider specific metrics and measurable outcomes you want to achieve.

12:40 PM


Presentation of the annual Health Hero Awards from Eat Right Montana and Action for Healthy Kids
Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana (Invited)

Presentation of the Andrew Nichols Rural Health Advocate Award from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health
Kristin Juliar, Director, Montana Office of Rural Health/Area Health Education Center, Montana State University

Call to Action
Rich Rasmussen, President/CEO, Montana Hospital Association
Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana (Invited)

1:20 PM


1:35 PM


Big Ideas, Practical Application: how healthcare is working upstream, breaking down industry barriers and linking for success
Christopher Coburn, MPH, CHES, System Manager of Community Health Improvement & Partnership, Bozeman Health
Kenny Smoker, Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes, Health Promotion Disease Prevention (HPDP) which administers School Based Health Clinic and Tribal Health Improvement Program

2:30 PM

Office Hours on housing, jobs, transportation, infrastructure, recreation, early education and community research partnerships
Hosted by experts, each office hour will provide a very brief overview of the topic including review of resources available followed by small group discussion, question and answer.
Attendees will disperse to one of the 7 office hour options, for 3 rotations.

  1. Housing
  2. Jobs
  3. Transportation
  4. Infrastructure 
  5. Recreation
  6. Early Childhood
  7. Community Research Partnerships

3:30 PM


3:45 PM


Activity 3: Resource Mapping
During this session, you will build on the context you analyzed earlier and choose which community need(s) you want to improve. Then you will consider what resources are available to you and the resources that don’t exist that need to be created. After the activity, you will network with other attendees to determine whether there are any resources that you did not know existed.

4:50 PM

Consider having dinner with others from your community to continue conversations.

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

7:45 to 8:15 AM

Check-In & Networking Breakfast

8:20 AM


8:35 AM


How Did They Do It? A close look at communities that collaborated across industry sectors to plan and fund a brighter future.
Amber Martinsen-Blake, MSW, Sweet Grass County Community Mental Health Coordinator, Sweet Grass County Community Health Worker Project
Kayla Sanders, Project Director of the Healthy Granite County Network
Katharine King, MPA, CEcD, Assistant Director, Community and Economic Development City of Kalispell, Kalispell Core and Rail Redevelopment Project
Kimberly Morisaki, CEcD, Business Development & Marketing Director, Montana West Economic Development, Kalispell Core and Rail Redevelopment Project

9:30 AM


9:45 AM 


Time, Trust and Turf: what investors want to see in a potential project
Karla Miller, Program Director, Northwest Area Foundation
Aaron Wernham, Montana Healthcare Foundation

10:45 AM


Activity 4: Strategic Planning
We will build a plan for HOW we hope to achieve the vision that we have designed. We want to clearly articulate the critical next steps that will drive this work to action so you know exactly what needs to get done when you return to your community.

11:45 AM


Drawings for attendance gift cards ~ must be present to win!