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Better Together Hennepin

Better Together Hennepin

Our vision

Better Together Hennepin believes that young people are valued members of our community — not problems to be solved. Adolescence is a critical stage of life and young people have unique and specific needs. Better Together Hennepin recognizes sexual health is a key component of adolescent health and wellbeing and not all youth have access to what they need, especially those affected by racial and other health disparities. By providing young people with education, support, and tools they need to make healthy decisions today, we invest in their hopes and dreams for tomorrow.

Our approach

Better Together Hennepin launched in 2006 to address the county's high rates of teen birth and disparities by race, ethnicity, and geography. Housed within Hennepin County Public Health, Better Together Hennepin partners with the community to support programming and to change systems in order to advance adolescent sexual health and wellbeing. Better Together Hennepin delivers four key supports proven to promote adolescent health in Hennepin County neighborhoods and cities with the greatest needs:

  • Connections to caring adults
  • Accessible, adolescent-friendly health care
  • Healthy youth development opportunities
  • Sexual health education

This approach includes a variety of innovative and evidence-based programs that are guided by community engagement.

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Clinics that provide high-quality, adolescent-centered sexual health care play a crucial role in promoting adolescent health. Young people have unique needs that require special services and programs. Better Together Hennepin helps clinics create the best possible outcomes for adolescent patients.

Better Together Hennepin works with clinics

Better Together Hennepin’s MyClinic program convened an advisory board of local experts to develop Standards of Care for adolescent sexual health care. These standards form the measure of best practices that Better Together Hennepin uses in working with clinics and were most recently updated in 2017.

Better Together Hennepin plans to reconvene a MyClinic workgroup in 2021 to review current standards of care for adolescent sexual health care and incorporate a greater focus on ways that clinics can support mental wellbeing. Along with this effort, Better Together Hennepin will invite clinics to undergo the clinic self-assessment and clinic customer service analysis calls to assess their current practice and to provide training to help them strengthen their ability to serve adolescents.

Additionally, as part of the Better Together Hennepin MyClinic2021 update, Better Together Hennepin will provide technical assistance and host trainings to strengthen health care organizations’ ability to serve youth.

If you are interested in getting involved in MyClinic2021, please contact Katie Miller at

MyClinic resources

  1. Introduction (PDF)
  2. Background and guiding principles (PDF)
  3. Standards of care for comprehensive adolescent sexual health care (PDF)
  4. Assessment tool (PDF)
  5. Standards of care and related assessment questions (PDF)
  6. Clinic customer service analysis calls (PDF)
  7. Adolescent specific satisfaction survey (PDF)

Minors’ consent e-training

In collaboration with partner clinics, Better Together Hennepin created an e-learning on ensuring that your clinic polices and practices align with the Minnesota Minors’ Consent Law. The training is designed to be completed by any clinic staff, including providers and support staff. Access the training.

Better Together Hennepin’s success is the result of the commitment, expertise, and reliability of our partners. Together with funders, school districts, clinics, community stakeholders and youth, BTH utilizes a partnership model that addresses adolescent sexual health and wellbeing.

Funding partners

Better Together Hennepin invests in upstream prevention programming. This important work requires funding from a variety of funding sources including foundations and public investment. These financial supports allow Better Together Hennepin to increase health equity, reduce generational poverty, and help young people reach their dreams. Better Together Hennepin is supported by the following funders:

Compared to intervention services, programs and services that prevent problems are underfunded. But we know that getting ahead of the curve is more fruitful in achieving positive outcomes and preventing longer term challenges.

In 2014, Better Together Hennepin and Youthprise launched a public-private partnership to broaden, deepen, and sustain Better Together Hennepin’s infrastructure. Youthprise combines funding, capacity building, policy advocacy, research, and youth engagement so all Minnesota youth thrive. Learn more about Youthprise.

Better Together Hennepin and Youthprise are seeking funders who are also interested in investing in youth. With your help we can continue to help our youth reach their full potential.

To join our effort, contact Emily Scribner-O’Pray at

Clinic and community partners

Better Together Hennepin community partners are highly respected and trusted by professionals, parents, and youth in Hennepin County communities. Collaborating with community partners allows Better Together Hennepin to offer coordinated programming that is evidence-based, and at the same time, responsive to local concerns.

School Partners

  • Brooklyn Center Community Schools
  • El Colegio High School
  • Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Robbinsdale Area Public Schools
  • Richfield Public Schools

Community Advisory Group

Better Together Hennepin convenes a Community Advisory Group to guide the activities of the initiative. Members include representation from:

  • Annex Teen Clinic
  • Between Us - Hennepin Healthcare
  • Brooklyn Center Public Schools
  • Family Tree Clinic
  • HealthPartners
  • Hennepin County Contract Management
  • Hennepin County – Transition Aged Youth
  • Indian Health Board
  • Minneapolis Health Department
  • Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center
  • No Wrong Door – Hennepin County
  • Park Nicollet Foundation
  • Planned Parenthood North Central States
  • Richfield Public Schools Richfield-Bloomington-Edina Public Health
  • University of Minnesota - Healthy Youth Development Prevention Research Center
  • Youthprise

Youth leadership councils

better together youth leadership council

Better Together Hennepin’s youth leadership councils mobilize their community around adolescent sexual health and wellbeing and provide initiative guidance. Currently Better Together Hennepin supports the following youth councils:

  • Annex Advisory Council
  • Brooklyn Center Health Education Advisory Team
  • North High Peer Educators
  • Teen Health Empowerment (THE) Council Minneapolis School-Based Clinics
  • Richfield High School Student Wellness Council

Health Mentor Model

Better Together Hennepin partners with schools, community clinics and youth-serving organizations to offer sexual health and wellbeing programming that is innovative, evidence-informed, comprehensive, and focused on health equity. The health mentor model takes young people’s diverse needs into consideration in order to provide information and resources to help them be healthy, safe and supported.

better together mentor model one on one small groups classroom

Through collaborative agreements with community-based clinics, the model embeds sexual health educators in schools and agencies. Specific activities at each location vary depending on needs, resources, and support.

Community-based clinics are uniquely situated to meet the needs of young people who are most affected by health disparities. Over time these clinics have established trust among young people and demonstrated an ability to implement effective programs and supportive services. These clinics partner with their host sites to offer the four tiers of the Health Mentor Model, providing multiple ways in which young people can find answers and support.

Four tiers of support offered by health mentors

  • One-to-one health education with referrals
  • Small group sessions using youth development principles and evidence-based programs
  • Classroom education using evidence-based sexual health curricula
  • Systems work to build safe and supportive environments for adolescents

Health Mentor Sites supported by Better Together Hennepin

  • Armstrong High School, Robbinsdale
  • Cooper High School, Robbinsdale
  • Brooklyn Center High School, Brooklyn Center
  • Minneapolis North High School
  • Minneapolis Henry High School
  • Minneapolis Edison High School
  • Minneapolis South High School
  • Minneapolis Roosevelt High School
  • VOA Alternative High School, Minneapolis
  • PYC Alternative High School, Minneapolis
  • Menlo Park Alternative High School, Minneapolis
  • El Colegio High School, Minneapolis
  • Richfield High School, Richfield
  • Hiawatha Collegiate High School, Minneapolis

Health Mentor Sites supported by other funders

  • Longfellow Alternative High School, Minneapolis
  • Southwest High School, Minneapolis
  • Washburn High School, Minneapolis

It's That Easy! parent education

Better Together Hennepin partners with three community agencies to provide education to parents throughout Hennepin County. Raising sexually healthy children requires a combination of strong relationships, open communication, and clear messages regarding values and expectations between young people and parents. While the questions and concerns change with age, the goal remains the same: to raise well-informed young people who make healthy decisions throughout their lives. The It's That Easy! program assists parents in building these skills.

Better Together Hennepin partners provide parent groups with It's That Easy! workshops to help them feel prepared to have these important conversations. If you are interested in scheduling a workshop, please contact Emily Scribner-O’Pray at and she will connect you with It's That Easy! educators in your area.


The MyClinic project engages young people, health care professionals, and adolescent health experts to ensure that clinic services meet the specialized needs of adolescents with a focus on sexual health and mental wellbeing. The goal of MyClinic is to improve access to high-quality, adolescent-friendly, trauma-informed, inclusive health and confidential care for young people ages 13-24 in Hennepin County.

To learn more about MyClinic, visit the Adolescent Friendly Clinics section below.

Supporting youth involved in the justice system

Better Together Hennepin partners with the Family Tree Clinic to provide sexual health education to young people involved in the justice system. The Family Tree Clinic provides educational workshops to youth in the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center and at the Hennepin County Home School.

In 2021, Better Together Hennepin and the Family Tree clinic are piloting a new Health Mentor Model program for youth in the Juvenile Justice Division at The Link. If this pilot proves to be successful, Better Together Hennepin will continue to support this important work.

If you are a young person who came here to find answers to your questions or because you need resources, check out the links below.

Resources for youth

Hennepin County's webpage offers help with everything from housing and food to health.

Myself My Health

Find options of where to find teen-friendly clinic services, including testing for sexually transmitted infections, birth control, pregnancy tests and more. Clinics on this list will treat you with respect and will ensure that your information remains confidential. Visit MySelfMyHealth.

Minnesota Family Planning and STD Hotline

The hotline allows you to call, chat or text to get the answers you are seeking! A real health educator provides you with safe, accurate information. Visit the website.

Suicide Prevention Hotline

Find free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit the Suicide Prevention Hotline.

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