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Making it Better: Minnesota's Health Improvement Log

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Mar. 5, 2020

Spring SHIP regional meetings


Save the date!

The Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives (OSHII) has scheduled the next round of SHIP regional meetings.

We hope to see you there to discuss the finalized SHIP 2021-2026 application.

Locations will be announced soon.

Spring Regional Meetings

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Monday, May 18

NW - Duluth

Tuesday, May 19

SE - Rochester

Wednesday, May 20

Metro - Edina

Thursday, May 21

SW - Worthington

Tuesday, May 26

NW - Fertile

Wednesday, May 27


Walk With Ease funding

Application deadline now March 9

The Minnesota Department of Health’s Arthritis program is seeking partners who will promote walking, launch the Walk With Ease evidence-based group program, and promote the self-directed online format of Walk With Ease.

Partners will be expected to build awareness about the benefits of walking for people who experience joint pain or are diagnosed with arthritis and report the program data back to the MDH Arthritis program in a predetermined format. Funding is available to local partners through a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Higher priority will be given to applicants that:

  • Focus on serving older adults, ethnic cohorts, refugees, immigrants, or adults with limited English proficiency.
  • Are located in a community whose local public health SHIP staff has organized or is scheduled to organize a Walkable Community Workshop.

Application deadline has been extended to March 9. Visit the Walking for Arthritis Mini Grant webpage for details.

OSHII Staffing Update

pr pic

Pete Raeker accepts new position

Pete Raeker, communications coordinator with the Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives, has accepted the position of communications planner in the MDH Office of Medical Cannabis. His last day with OSHII will be Tuesday, March 10.

Raeker came to OSHII in 2015. OSHII leadership is working on a transition plan. If you have a communications product for review, please work with your Community Specialist in the meantime. If the product is focused on tobacco, please CC Parker Smith.

We will miss Pete and wish him the best in his new position!

Coming soon: Walkable Community Workshop


Applications to open in early April

OSHII plans to open applications in early April an opportunity for communities to host Walkable Community Workshops. This is a chance for communities to convene residents and local decision-makers to discuss and strategize ways to improve walkability within their unique local needs.

Application documents will be posted on the Walkable Community Workshops webpage.


Webinar: Mapping the Connection between Transit and Public Health in Greater Minnesota

Date: March 18
Time: Noon – 1 p.m.

Recognizing the potential for a collaborative partnership between transit planning and public health professionals, this webinar examines shared goals, key champions, and innovative ideas for leveraging rural transit to improve food access and community health more broadly. The webinar will present an overview of the current landscape of transit policy in Greater Minnesota and identify areas for public health professionals to work with transit planners. The presenters will identify barriers, promising practices, and opportunities for partnership in transit-health planning.

Register at the Public Health Law Center Zoom webpage

This week’s Gem

El Gallo After.jpg

Supporting a neighborhood asset in Rochester

El Super Gallo #1 is a grocer in northwest Rochester known for its variety of South American products and authentic Mexican restaurant. 

The store is popular with neighborhood residents and is a gathering spot for construction teams at lunchtime. Although there were already fresh produce options available, high sugar and high fat snack and beverage options were mostly visible when first entering the store. 

Olmsted County Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) and University of Minnesota SNAP Education staff approached El Super Gallo #1 in early 2019 to discuss participating in healthy corner-store initiatives. The storeowner expressed a shared desire to highlight healthier food options and make aesthetic improvements inside and outside the store. 

Creative conversations led to a decision to paint a mural on the exterior storefront. The mural highlights the fresh fruits and vegetables the store has to offer and welcomes shoppers with colorful artwork.

The new mural adds color to the neighborhood and is a source of pride for the storeowner and staff at El Super Gallo #1. Shoppers can see that fresh, healthy food awaits them before they step foot into the store and, because of interior changes, these healthy foods are easier to find once inside. 

The partners plan to continue collaborating, and the mural is already helping more neighbors take notice.

“I drive by this store every day and now seeing it so beautiful and colorful puts a smile on my face,” said one neighbor. “I want to go shopping there now.”