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Making it Better: Minnesota's Health Improvement Log

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Oct. 3, 2019

Student survey shows vaping rates up sharply

e cig variety images

Governor Walz calls for aggressive outreach and policy response

Amid the backdrop of an ongoing national outbreak of severe lung injuries associated with vaping, new survey results released on Oct. 2 show an alarming jump in the rate of teens vaping in Minnesota. In response, Governor Tim Walz is calling for an aggressive, multi-faceted campaign focused on youth education, outreach and tightening limits for accessing vaping products.

According to the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey, one in four Minnesota 11th graders reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. That represents a 54% increase from the 2016 survey, in which 17% of 11th graders reported vaping. The jump among eighth graders is even more significant, with nearly twice as many students (11% in 2019 compared to 5.7% in 2016) reporting using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days.

Read the full news release.

More resources

Fall Walk! Bike! Fun! trainings announced

Walk Bike Fun cover

Help spread the word

There will only be two Walk! Bike! Fun! trainings this fall. Please encourage school staff, parent volunteers or community members to attend and learn how to teach walking and bicycling skills to youth.

Oct. 15, West St. Paul
Register at the Event Brite page.

Oct. 30, Grand Rapids
Register at the Event Brite page

Learn more about the Walk! Bike! Fun! Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Curriculum and how it can help advance Safe Routes to School and active living efforts.

Give your feedback to OSHII's commercial tobacco training and technical assistance services

Complete the survey by Oct. 11

The Tobacco Prevention and Control Unit is conducting an annual evaluation of its commercial tobacco training and technical assistance services. The results will help inform the next year of offerings and quality improvement. Complete the Tobacco TA evaluation now.

Deadline to complete the survey is Oct. 11.

Helpful tips for completing forms

FAQ for local SHIP staff

Q: May I contact my Community Specialist or OSHII content staff to assist with the creation or updating of my work plan and budget?

A: Yes, we strongly encourage local SHIP staff to reach out to OSHII staff and/or technical assistance providers. We are here to help.

Health Equity Advisory and Leadership Council

Applications are now open

Applications are now open for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Equity Advisory and Leadership (HEAL) Council. HEAL was created as part of a broader effort by MDH to address Minnesota’s inequities in health status. HEAL represents the voices of many communities most impacted by health inequities across the state, including racial and ethnic minority groups, American Indians, rural Minnesotans, Minnesotans with disabilities, LGBTQ community members, and refugees and immigrants. 

The application is a two-part process. You MUST complete both parts to be considered.

  • Part 1: Interested applicants must complete an electronic application through the Minnesota Secretary of State’s (MNSOS) Boards and Commissions Open Positions portal. MNSOS applications will be open until Oct. 25.
  • Part 2: Upon receipt of the Secretary of State’s application, MDH will email a supplemental application form to the email address listed on the MNSOS application. This supplemental MDH application must also be completed to be considered. The deadline to submit the MDH supplemental application is Nov. 1.


Webinar: Collaborating Together for Community Health

Date: Oct. 10
Time: 1 p.m.

The National Center for Mobility Management is hosting a two-part series on transportation partnerships to support community health and well-being. Part one will focus on how public health and transportation professionals can work together to support community health and well-being. This webinar will provide an opportunity for mobility management and transportation practitioners to hear from public health professionals on potential areas for collaboration between the two sectors, and discuss ideas for developing, implementing, and evaluating initiatives to improve community health.

Register at the National Center for Mobility Management.

Webinar: New Schools-Tobacco Strategy Resources

Date: Oct. 14
Time: 11 a.m.

Get an overview of key OSHII school toolkit resources including new talking points on lung injuries, data, cessation, standard PowerPoint e-cigarette presentation and more.

Join the webinar at the WebEx Training page.

Webinar: On the Ground in Washington County, Minn.

Date: Nov. 6
Time: 1 p.m.

The National Center for Mobility Management is hosting a two-part series on transportation partnerships to support community health and well-being. Part two will provide a deep dive into Washington County, Minn. Presenters representing public health, mobility management and health care will discuss how their community came together around health and transportation, and the outcomes of their cross-sector partnership. The presenters will also cover the roles of their Community Health Needs Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan in propelling this work forward, and offer tips for identifying relevant stakeholders, participating in transportation and health priority setting, and building and sustaining similar partnerships.

Register at the National Center for Mobility Management.

This week's Gem

Jackson bike share graphic

City of Jackson rolls out new bike-share program

Jackson is the latest city in Minnesota to launch a new bike-share program.

This one features four free-to-use bicycles docked at the Jackson library and the Jackson Motorplex. The library was picked because of its central location in town; the Motorplex is a popular spot for weekend camping. Riders can check out a bike on a smart-phone app.

“This effort has been a long-time coming,” said Luke Ewald, health educator at Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services. “We’re glad to be finally rolling it out.” 

Planning started in 2017 when Community Wellness Partners (CWP) in Cottonwood-Jackson-Nobles counties, through the Statewide Health improvement Partnership (SHIP), collaborated with Friends of the Jackson County Trails to work on Bike Friendly Community initiatives. Based on results and recommendations from a Bike Friendly Community application, the group identified a long-term goal to start a bike share in Jackson. The Trails Committee teamed up with CWP/SHIP, the City of Jackson and the Mt. Lake Active Living Committee to seek partnerships and funding for the bike share program. That collaboration resulted in five grants being awarded to help purchase four bikes for Jackson and four bikes for Mt. Lake.

Along with planning support, SHIP provided funding to help promote and advertise the bike share in local newspapers.

Jackson’s bike-share effort is the latest program to launch in that area. Others include Mountain Lake, Sleepy Eye and the Iowa Great Lakes region.