Who We Are – Diabetes Unit

Who We Are
Diabetes Unit


We work across communities statewide to strengthen their ability to prevent type 2 diabetes and manage all types of diabetes.


To lower Minnesota’s diabetes rates, and provide all Minnesotans the same opportunity to access quality education and care to prevent and live with diabetes so they can reach their highest level of health.

The reality of diabetes in Minnesota

  • In 2014, 8.1% of Minnesota adults had been diagnosed with diabetes (type 1 or 2)1.
  • Around 1 in 4 people with diabetes do not know that they have the disease.2 Therefore, the true number of adults with diabetes in Minnesota may be around 9 – 10 percent, which includes people who do not know they have the disease.
  • Ethnic groups other than non-Hispanic white experience more type 2 diabetes.2,3 
  • Two out of three Minnesota adults are overweight or obese in 20143, a leading contributor to type 2 diabetes.
  • Cost related with medical treatment of diabetes are expected to rise rapidly in Minnesota – from $3.3 billion in 2010 to $6.4 billion in 20254.

Serving Minnesota

The Diabetes Unit serves Minnesota in four ways:

  • Tracking the trends related to diabetes and prediabetes.
  • Promoting and supporting healthy behaviors for people with diabetes and those at risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Supporting improvements in the health care system that address diabetes prevention and care.
  • Partnering with communities to increase and sustain local diabetes prevention and diabetes management programs.

Focusing on these four areas helps us concentrate efforts to strengthen programs, fill gaps, and collaborate with others.


The Diabetes Unit work’s across Minnesota with local public health, healthcare systems, businesses, nonprofit organizations and faith communities to provide the programs and initiatives aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes and managing diabetes.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the major funder for the Diabetes Unit’s work in Minnesota.

Diabetes Unit Staff

Gretchen Taylor, MPH, RD • Diabetes Unit Supervisor • 651-201-5390 • gretchen.taylor@state.mn.us

National association recognizes Gretchen Taylor's years of MDH service

She received the Program Leadership Award, one of four awards given annually by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, for her work in nutrition and her individual excellence in division leadership. Among her many accomplishments, the award notes Gretchen's role as the Director of four National Institutes of Health-funded studies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by elementary school students and preschoolers in childcare programs (5-A-Day Power Plus, 5-A-Day Cafeteria Power Plus, 5-A-Day Preschool Power Plus) and to increase physical activity of young American Indian students.

Julie Dalton, MS, MCHES • Diabetes Prevention Planner • 651-201-5425 • julie.dalton@state.mn.us

Annie Flodin • Content Specialist • 651-201-3532 • annie.flodin@state.mn.us

Kris Haugen, MPH • Worksite Wellness Coordinator • 651-201-4134 • kris.haugen@state.mn.us

Renee Kidney, PhD, MPH • Epidemiologist Senior • 651-201-5429 • renee.kidney@state.mn.us

Esther Maki, RN, MS, PHN • Nurse Specialist • 651-201-5982 • esther.maki@state.mn.us

Laurel Reger, MBA • Care Improvement Planner • 651-201-5434 • laurel.reger@state.mn.us

Martha Roberts, MPH • Policy Coordinator • 651-201-4092 • martha.roberts@state.mn.us

Tricia Sandberg • Office Specialist • 651-201-5435 • patricia.sandberg@state.mn.us

Anne Schulte • Diabetes Prevention Planner • 651-201-4153 • anne.schulte@state.mn.us

Houa Vue-Her, PhD, RD • Diabetes Prevention Planner • 651-201-5433 • houa.vue-her@state.mn.us

1CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Study
2CDC, National Diabetes Fact Sheet 2014
3National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
4 Novo Nordisk. (2016, April 5). Diabetes Costs and Prevalence Forecasts.