Making it Better: Minnesota's Health Improvement Log

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Making it Better: Minnesota's Health Improvement Log

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June 13, 2019

Advisory group members needed

Designing new structure to replace current bi-monthly calls

As you learned last week, OSHII has made the decision to discontinue the bi-monthly SHIP calls in their current format, beginning July 1 through Oct. June calls will continue as planned.

Over the next several months, an advisory group will be created with local public health and OSHII staff to design a structure for better communication that is beneficial for all. The goals of the restructure are to provide timely and helpful technical assistance, opportunities for relationship building, information sharing and appropriate grant oversight. By working together, we can create a structure to meet these goals. We anticipate the new structure to be rolled out Nov. 1.

If you are interested in sitting on the advisory group to design the new structure to replace the current bi-monthly calls, please let your community specialist know. OSHII staff will set virtual meetings for the group.

SHIP planning update

Information gathered at regional meetings to be shared soon

Over the past few months, meetings across five regions in the state took place to gather information about the next contract cycle of SHIP. All of Minnesota's 87 counties and 41 SHIP grantees were represented at these meetings with 176 local public health staff participants. 

Additionally, two OSHII staff meetings were held in May with 34 staff participating. Local public health and OSHII staff who were unable to attend a meeting provided input through an on-line survey, in which there were 40 surveys completed.

The evaluation and surveillance team members are working on summarizing the information gathered, which will be shared back with you in the near future.

This week Kris Igo, Ann Zukoski and Susan Michels met with Assistant Commissioners Deb Burns and Courtney Jordan Baechler as well as Commissioner Jan Malcom to present the planning process and to provide a summary of the information gathered at the regional meetings and all OSHII meetings. With the full support of the executive office, we continue to move ahead.

MnDOT awards Safe Routes to School grants

MN SRTS logo

Funding will make it safer for students to walk and bike to school

Six Minnesota public school districts will benefit from more than $1 million in Safe Routes to Schools local coordinator funding grants to help promote safe walking and bicycling education in schools.

Grant recipients include Saint Paul Public Schools, South Saint Paul Public Schools, Grand Rapids Public Schools, New Ulm Public Schools, Richfield Public Schools and Rochester Public Schools.

The funding will allow the school districts to launch a three-year effort with MnDOT to support Safe Routes to School programming. Districts can use the funds to hire staff, convene a team, prioritize strategies and implement solutions that fit their local need. Local coordinators will develop engagement events, train crossing guards and student patrols and help increase walking and bicycling education in schools.

Every Kid Healthy conference

every kid healthy

Registration is open for Nov. 19 event

Registration for the 2019 Every Kid Healthy Minnesota conference is available. The conference will be held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minn. 

Please share this information with school partners if you are in contact this summer. 

For more information and registration, visit the action for healthy kids website. 

New Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center

Thirdhand smoke

Preventing thirdhand smoke exposure

Thirdhand smoke is the chemical residue that's left behind on clothes, skins, furniture, walls, and other surfaces after someone smokes. The particles in thirdhand smoke are toxic to humans, especially children. 

Check out the new online Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center from the California Thirdhand Smoke Research Consortium to learn how to prevent thirdhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing.

SHIP Financial Guide FAQ

SHIP Financial Guide questions answered

Q: Are bicycles an allowable expense? If so, which types are allowable and which are unallowable?

A:   Allowable:

  • Bicycles for bike libraries, bike fleets for bike education
  • Adaptive bicycles or trikes for persons with disabilities or seniors only
  • E-bikes for persons with disabilities or seniors only


  • Fat tire bikes
  • Mountain bikes
  • Adaptive bicycles or trikes for persons without disabilities or non-seniors
  • E-bikes for persons without disabilities or non-seniors

See page 30 of the Financial Guide (PDF) for more information.


Calendar of events

Webinar: Tobacco Prevention and Control Efforts in Rural America - Current Local Health Department Successes and Challenges

Date: June 18
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

The purpose of this webinar is to educate and increase knowledge on local health department successes and challenges of current rural tobacco prevention and control efforts throughout the United States along with providing examples on cessation methods, tobacco and opioid connections and e-cigarette programs.

Register and learn more.

This weeks gem

breastfeeding room

After participating in a SHIP worksite wellness collaborative with North Country Health Alliance (NCHA), Choice Therapy in Bemidji earned the Minnesota Department of Health’s Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace designation.

With eight expectant moms on staff at Choice Therapy (almost 10 percent of their staff!), they began to focus on providing breastfeeding support for employees. With input from a committee representing 85 employees across seven facilities, staff at Choice Therapy updated their breastfeeding policy and designated comfortable breastfeeding rooms at every facility. They earned the MDH designation by going above and beyond required accommodations.

“It feels great to be an employee at such a breastfeeding friendly work environment,” said Leah Weller, who recently returned to work after maternity leave.

Choice Therapy is one of 29 worksites to participate in a worksite wellness collaborative with NCHA since 2017, reaching 1,540 employees.