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Making it Better: Minnesota's Health Improvement Log

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Jan. 2, 2020

MN Healthy Workplaces to launch

Sign up for the new workplace wellness newsletter

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) this month will launch MN Healthy Workplaces, a quarterly e-newsletter that features the best health and workplace wellness resources. Each issue will have information and cover a variety of topics that will help keep your workplace healthy.

The newsletter will be sent to people who previously signed up for workplace information from MDH, if they attended the Midwest Conference on Health Promotion or if they have collaborated with the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).

To sign up, use the Email update tool on the MDH website (and select worksite wellness in the Healthy Communities and Workplaces section).

The Walking College Fellowship

America Walks

Applications open on Feb. 1

The Walking College is a six-month interactive, online educational program for walkable community advocates. Walking College Fellowships are awarded to community change agents working alone, in organizations, or professions such as public health, planning, transportation, or education, who demonstrate:

  • A passion for making their communities more walkable and livable, and a vision for what that would look like.
  • A desire to develop a network of peer mentors, to learn and advocate more effectively for walkable community policies and funding.
  • A willingness to invest personal time and energy in training.

Visit the America Walks website to find out more about the learning objectives and requirements for the fellowship.

The State of Transportation and Healthy Equity report

The State of Transportation and Heath Equity

Improving Lives by Improving Communities

Smart Growth America has released the State of Transportation and Health Equity field scan that looks at the intersection of transportation and health equity in the U.S.

The report was formed with help from 92 experts working at the local, state and federal level throughout the U.S., including Emily Smoak from OSHII. They identified the most significant challenges to health equity facing our transportation system and strategies that could be used to address them.

Visit Smart Growth America’s website to read the report and register for their webinar on Jan. 23 at 1:30 p.m. to learn more about it.

This week's Gem

Hopkins Artery Success Story Photo

Hopkins street reconstruction brings the community together

The Hopkins Artery is a pedestrian, bike and vehicle connector that runs along 8th Avenue South in Hopkins between a planned light rail station on Excelsior Boulevard and the city’s historic downtown.

Hopkins, a first-ring suburb in Hennepin County with a diversifying population, found that its growing diversity highlighted the need to plan in ways that brought the community together and help grow community bonds.

Hopkins worked with Active Living Hennepin County (ALHC) through an intensive two-year period where the “Artery Experiment” was born. ALHC is a SHIP-supported collaboration among Hennepin County suburbs to incorporate active living and health into city policies, programs and projects.

The Artery harnessed the power of a demonstration project, which featured 20 temporary installations that tested possible changes to 8th Avenue South to improve biking, walking and social connectedness. The demonstration project also engaged the community in fun and inclusive ways and built project support. Feedback gathered through this event influenced the final design.

As the name suggests, the Hopkins Artery offers more than a simple physical connector. It features vibrant pedestrian and community spaces, art installations from local and national artists, and green spaces like landscaping and rain gardens. A protected bicycle lane closes a significant gap in Hennepin County’s bicycle network by connecting two regional trails.

Its planning process, supported by SHIP through Hennepin County, helped create the momentum to move the project from an innovative dream in 2015 to an opening day reality in 2018.

The project is gaining national and state recognition. It is one of three projects in the country distinguished as a 2019 Great Street by the American Planning Association (APA). APA’s Minnesota Chapter awarded the Artery a 2019 “Partnerships in Planning” award.