Fartun Weli

Fartun is founder and executive director of Isuroon, a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting the health and empowerment of Minnesota’s Somali women.  Under her direction, ISUROON (a Somali word meaning "woman taking care of herself") has created a health-support network for Somali women, developed an informational website (www.isuroon.org), forged links with dozens of community groups and secured public and private grant support for its work.  A public-health graduate student with two decades of experience in the medical field (including 10 years as a health and technology specialist for Park Nicollet Clinics), Ms. Weli has gained international prominence for challenging the Somali taboo against speaking openly about reproductive and mental-health issues. She speaks often of the concerns of Somali women at public events—from university symposia to public-health workshops to political roundtables—and is recognized as an indispensable liaison between the Somali and mainstream communities.