Making it Better Newsletter

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Making it Better: Minnesota's Health Improvement Log

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May 30, 2019

Session update from Kris Igo

capitol building

'Big wins for our collective efforts'

The Minnesota Legislature, early Saturday morning, agreed to a state budget; Governor Walz is scheduled to sign the Health and Human Services budget bill this week. 

This session, we had many wins for our work together: the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) was fully funded at $17.5 million per year; the Tobacco Quitline was funded and will be transferred to MDH; and e-cigarettes were added to the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act. In addition, SHIP will continue to be funded through the Health Care Access Fund. All of these are big wins for our collective efforts to enable all Minnesotans to eat healthier, be more physically active and reduce their use and exposure to commercial tobacco.

The Legislature made several tweaks to the SHIP statute. First, the statute now allows the Commissioner of Health to designate additional topics for SHIP, while still maintaining the current focus on healthy eating, active living and commercial tobacco control. Second, the language around the evidence base required for SHIP strategies was rewritten to align with Minnesota Management and Budget’s “Results First” definitions. A portion of the funding may be used for culturally appropriate theory-based strategies that currently lack a rigorous evidence base. 

In anticipation of possible changes to the SHIP statute, our team in OSHII has been intentionally laying the groundwork to co-develop new SHIP contracts in partnership with staff and directors in local public health. The recent regional meetings are an example of important collective conversations we have initiated to build momentum and shared vision. We’ll continue the work needed to implement these statutory changes so that they can be integrated into the RFP that will be released in May 2020 for the next grant cycle – along with other changes discussed at regional meetings and by the upcoming workgroups. This process will involve input from the Commissioner of Health and her leadership team as well as SHIP staff, SCHSAC, LPHA and OSHII staff. We do not anticipate any changes in the funding model for our current grant cycle.

For now, please continue to engage your communities and continue with your year five work plans. Send any questions or concerns to me or your community specialist.

Thank you all for your efforts to educate and inform your community leaders about your important and impactful work in your communities.

Best regards,

Kris Igo

Walkable Community Workshop application deadline is fast approaching!

walkable community

Reminder: Deadline is June 3

Have you submitted an application to host a Walkable Community Workshop? Hurry – the deadline to apply is Monday, June 3.

These half-day workshops will bring together community members and those who influence community walking conditions. Workshop participants will strategize ways to improve walkability within their unique local context.

Eligible applicants include local walking advocates, public health staff, tribal nations, city and county government staff, transportation planners and anyone interested in opening or continuing a conversation about walking.

Learn more at the Walkable Community Workshops information page.

National farm conference coming to Red Wing


Topics include building stronger local food systems

The National Farm Viability Conference will be in Red Wing, Minn., from Oct. 22-24.

The conference is intended for those interested in strengthening farm sustainability, building more resilient local food systems and supporting the long-term profitability of farming and agri-entrepreneurs. 

Renewing the Countryside and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are hosts. Early bird registration ends Aug. 15.

Visit the National Farm Viability Conference information page for details.  

SHIP Financial Guide FAQ

SHIP Financial Guide questions answered

Q: Which types of signs are allowable expenses for pedestrian/bicycle travel on roads?

A: SHIP allows funds to be used for vehicle traffic calming signage to create a safe environment for people who walk and bike. Some examples include portable driver feedback signs that indicate driver speed, lighted crosswalk signs (permanent), and other general pedestrian and bicycle safety signage such as “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signage. Please note that “Share the Road” signs are not an allowable SHIP expense. See page 31 in the Financial Guide (PDF) for more information.

This week's gem

bike share station

New bike-share program kicks off in Albert Lea

A bike-sharing program designed to make it easier for Albert Lea residents and visitors to bike in the community and on trails is officially open for business.

The two bike-share station locations are at Frank Hall Park and at the Broadway parking lot near the splash pad. The locations are located conveniently near the Blazing Star Trail and the Blue Zone Walkway.

The bike-share program is self-serve, and bikes can be rented for $2 per hour. Rental purchases and reservations are made online.

“This is another very positive amenity for Albert Lea,” said Bob Furland with Albert Lea’s Parks and Recreations Department. “It will make biking in the community and on our trails easier and more convenient.”

The bike stations are owned by the city of Albert Lea and managed by Parks and Recreation. Freeborn County SHIP provided funding for the stations.