Essentia honors Renee Van Nett with lecture on cultural competency

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Essentia held an inaugural lectureship in honor of the late Duluth City Councilor Renee Van Nett. The topic is cultural competency in healthcare, a topic fitting for Van Nett’s work.

“She was a very staunch advocate in our community for the underserved, the labor union brothers and sister, and for the community overall,” Kala Pedersen, Essentia’s Community Relations Program Manager explains. “We’re really thrilled to honor her legacy through this lectureship.”

The first speaker was Joseph Nayquonabe from the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. He has dedicated his career to exploring how Native American tribal economies can grow and prosper. He spoke on  “Learning from Influential Leaders.”

“This lectureship honors Renee Van Nett’s legacy by elevating the significance of cultural competency within health care, for health care providers and the communities we are privileged to serve,” said Dr. David Herman, CEO of Essentia Health. 

Van Nett died in June of 2022 after a brief battle with terminal cancer. She was 52 years old.

Van Nett was the first Native American woman to serve on the Duluth City Council and as Council President.