Batala McFarlane, co-founder of the Insight Health Equity Action Lab (iHEAL), is publisher of Insight News, Minnesota’s largest ethnic publication. She has more than 25 years of newsroom, media production, marketing and community organizing experience. iHEAL advances health equity through storytelling and investigative journalism, actionable research, convenings and programming. It works in partnership with communities and various organizations across sectors to develop and implement sustainable and measurable strategies that support healthy communities and put people at the center of the process.
In 1999, McFarlane became one of the youngest publishers in the Black press in the country. Under her leadership, Insight News has won several awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, including best column writing, best website and general excellence. She’s also co-producer of the weekly radio program, “Conversations with Al McFarlane.”
McFarlane has led Insight News’ health reporting and programming since 2002, when the company hosted the first Communities of Color Health Leadership Awards Luncheon. In partnership with HealthPartners, the event honored community health professionals who “work in the trenches.” She was instrumental in positioning Insight as a leader in providing health news about and for people of color.
McFarlane is driven by her passion to foster relationships and create networks that support building communities so all people can thrive and survive. She was a founding board member of the Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota and has served on the KMOJ Board of Directors. She’s also on the board of the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and Healthcare for All Minnesota. She is a member of the Hennepin Healthcare Community Advisory Board and serves on the Attorney General’s Task Force on Women’s Economic Security.