Hurdle Health and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Begin Partnership Focused on Culturally Responsive Mental Health Care

Brooklyn Center residents given greater holistic care access as part of five-year place-based partnership

EAGAN, Minn.--()--Hurdle Health today announced a partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) to provide free culturally responsive mental healthcare to residents of Brooklyn Center.

Traditional forms of therapy are not designed with cultural humility in mind and can perpetuate systemic barriers to accessing mental healthcare for Black, Indigenous, and communities of color. Hurdle Health was created to meet the unique needs of BIPOC communities and create a safe space where all people can feel seen, heard, and understood. Hurdle offers its care virtually to increase access and reduce the stigma of receiving mental healthcare.

Later this year, residents of Brooklyn Center will have access to culturally responsive and trauma-informed teletherapy through Hurdle Health at no cost. This effort is part of Blue Cross’s five-year place-based partnership with the city of Brooklyn Center. Brooklyn Center is the second most racially diverse city in Minnesota and the only city led by a Black Mayor and City Manager. Additionally, Brooklyn Center has been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice, which has taken a serious toll on the physical and mental health of the community.

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the Brooklyn Center community. Our mental healthcare model is purpose-built to meet the needs of BIPOC residents,” said Kevin Dedner, CEO of Hurdle Health. “Breaking down barriers for those seeking mental healthcare and providing therapy that puts culture and lived experience first are the first steps to building a strong community that can thrive even as it faces many challenges.”

Blue Cross has made it a priority to address racial and health inequities that in Minnesota are, unfortunately, some of the greatest in the nation. In 2020, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota publicly declared racism a public health crisis and pledged to address the impacts of systemic racism on the health of BIPOC communities in Minnesota.

Trauma and systemic racism threaten the wellbeing of individuals and communities and have a direct impact on the health inequities we see in Minnesota,” said Bukata Hayes, Vice President of Racial and Health Equity at Blue Cross. “Through our collaboration with Hurdle Health, we are helping to eliminate longstanding barriers to mental healthcare and ensuring that community members receive culturally responsive care rooted in dignity and trust.”

The commitment to Brooklyn Center is part of Blue Cross’ five-year engagement place-based strategy that was selected as a community to focus on as it is the second most racially diverse city in Minnesota and the only city that is BIPOC (Black) led at the Mayor and City Manager level of leadership, is short of some infrastructure that can act as a barrier to health, is working to resolve recent high profile trauma as Daunte Wright was fatally shot by police during a traffic stop in the city in April 2021, and is part of a long-term ‘Community-Centered City’ collaboration effort to advance the experience of a safe, healthy, anti-racism and equitable life by people living, doing business, and visiting the city.

Over the past two years, Brooklyn Center experienced a disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in the number of cases and deaths by BIPOC communities. Access to cultural specific mental health services are important to the City of Brooklyn Center’s effort to dismantle systemic racism and disparities,” said Dr. Reginald Edwards, Brooklyn Center’s City Manager.

"It is partnerships like this one with Blue Cross and Hurdle Health, that will push the City of Brooklyn Center towards transformative and cultural changes, that centers around people who have been historically, contemporarily, and systematically marginalized,” said Latoya Turk, Manager, Office of Community Prevention, Health and Safety with the City of Brooklyn Center. “Eliminating stigma around mental health using culturally concordant care will mean healthier people and a stronger more vibrant community for all.”

About Hurdle Health

Hurdle is the leading culturally intentional mental healthcare provider. With cultural humility, we create a safe space where all people can show up as they are and feel understood. Our therapists are trained to provide culturally responsive evidence-based care to individuals, couples and families of all backgrounds, with a specific focus on people of color. Hurdle has established relationships with employer groups, leading payers and strategic partners, providing access to care to more than thirty million Americans. For more information, please visit

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

For nearly 90 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota ( has supported the health, wellbeing and peace of mind of our members by striving to ensure equitable access to high quality care at an affordable price. We are on a mission to inspire change, transform care and improve health for the people and communities we serve by reinventing both ourselves and the broader system. Our more than 2.5 million members can be found in every Minnesota county, all 50 states and on four continents. As a proud nonprofit organization, we believe working to advance wellness for all Minnesotans is the greatest investment we can make. Our goal is nothing less than for everyone to be able to achieve their full health potential, regardless of race or other socially defined circumstances. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, which serves more than 107 million members across the U.S.


Leah Kondes

Release Summary

Hurdle Health today announced a partnership with Blue Cross to provide free culturally responsive mental healthcare to residents of Brooklyn Center.


Leah Kondes