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Making it Better: Minnesota's Health Improvement Log

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Oct. 24, 2019

2019 Minnesota Student Survey results released

Report provides student perspective on a variety of areas

Every three years, Minnesota’s 5th-, 8th-, 9th- and 11th-grade students complete a voluntary, anonymous survey. It includes questions on school climate, bullying, out-of-school activities, healthy eating, emotional health, substance use, connections with school and family, and many other topics.

State agencies use the survey to identify important trends and target effort and resources to more efficiently improve the well-being of the state’s youth. More than 170,000 students participated in the 2019 survey; results of that survey were released on Oct. 17.

Read a news release about this year’s survey.

Funding available to help provide technical assistance to food retailers

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Good Food Access Program grant applications due Jan. 16

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is now accepting grant applications for organizations offering technical assistance to improve access to fresh, affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate foods for underserved communities.

The funding is available through the Good Food Access Program. These grants will help organizations provide needs-based technical assistance to eligible food retailers, such as grocery stores, corner stores and farmers markets.

Grant applications are due by 4 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2020.

Learn more at the Good Food Access Program Technical Assistance Grant web page.

Breastfeeding Friendly Maternity Center application changed

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Forms moved online

The application for Breastfeeding Friendly Maternity Center (both the expedited application for Baby-Friendly facilities and the Five-Star designation) has been changed to make it easier to complete online.

This is the next in the series of Breastfeeding Friendly applications to use that format (the first was for workplaces). Maternity centers will be able to access the forms directly on the MDH website, instead of using multiple PDFs.

The Breastfeeding Friendly Public Health application will also eventually move online.  

The new format also makes it easier to collect data and meets accessibility standards.

Links to the applications are on the Breastfeeding Friendly Maternity Centers page.

New mother-baby learning collaborative forms

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Maternity center staff encouraged to join

The Minnesota Mother-Baby 10 Steps Learning Collaborative, a quality improvement community, will meet regularly over one year to improve specific maternity care practices outlined in the Minnesota Mother-Baby Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

Hospitals can support each other to close the gap between actual practices and evidence-based practices as the standard of care. The first cohort is limited to five hospitals.

The learning collaborative is designed for maternity center hospital leadership, including:

  • nursing staff
  • medical providers
  • lactation professionals

Local SHIP staff are asked to help spread the word about this opportunity. More information is available at Introducing the New Mother-Baby 10 Steps Learning Collaborative (PDF).

Farm to School training available for school nutrition staff


Sessions scheduled for December

The Farm to School program offers multiple strategies to improve the health of students and communities.

Join other school nutrition professionals in your region to discuss successful Farm to School strategies at any of these upcoming training sessions in December:

  • Dec. 3; 9 a.m. to noon – Minnesota Department of Education, Roseville
  • Dec. 10; 9 a.m. to noon – DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Bemidji
  • Dec. 18; 1 to 4 p.m. – Watonwan County/St. James Public Library, St. James

These trainings will also cover where to find local foods in your area, how to connect with farmers, ways to promote and market your Farm to School initiatives and how to move Farm to School beyond the cafeteria. Spend time learning from and networking with your colleagues.

Learn more at the Farm to School training registration page.

Commercial tobacco-related resources posted

Check out the Public Health Law Center website

Below are the latest commercial tobacco-related resources from the Public Health Law Center.


Webinar: What’s New in Cessation Services

Date: Oct. 29
Time: 2 p.m.

This webinar will provide the latest information on tobacco dependence treatment resources for the workplace. The American Lung Association and Minnesota Department of Health will give an overview of tobacco dependence treatment resources, referral processes, how to connect with health plans and discuss the transition of tobacco dependence treatment services in Minnesota.

Register at the webinar information page.

Webinar: State and Tribal Responses to the Vaping-Related Health Crisis

Date: Oct. 30
Time: 1 p.m.

As vaping-related lung injuries and deaths continue to rise, states and tribes are taking various policy and regulatory approaches to combat the broader epidemic of youth e-cigarette use throughout the United States. This webinar offers a state-by-state update on strategies used to respond to the outbreak of vaping-related health problems and widespread youth e-cigarette use, as well as considerations for best practices moving forward.

Register at the Public Health Law Center.

Webinar: Tools to Assist Schools Navigate the Vaping Epidemic

Date: Nov. 13
Time: Noon

Communities are at the front line of navigating the rise in youth use of e-cigarettes, which some have termed a “Juul epidemic.” This webinar will describe the trends in youth use of Juul and other e-cigarette products, the public health harms of e-cigarette use, and the unique role schools play in addressing the epidemic. The Public Health Law Center will present the highlights of a model policy for K-12 schools and discuss the importance of ensuring youth use is addressed with approaches that alleviate the addictive properties of nicotine in place of strictly punitive measures. The American Lung Association will provide an overview of its INDEPTH program – a new, convenient alternative to suspension or citation that helps schools and communities address the teen vaping problem in a more supportive way.

Register at the Public Health Law Center.