Community Health Conference: 2008

Fostering Hope and Facilitating Change:
Public Health in the 21st Century

The SCHSAC Community Health Conference Planning Work Group selected a theme, objectives, format, and speakers for the 2008 Community Health Conference and assisted Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) staff in hosting the conference.

Summary of Activities

The conference planning work group organized the program and speakers for the Minnesota Department of Health’s 2008 Community Health Conference: Fostering Hope and Facilitating Change: Public Health in the 21st Century, which was held on October 1-3, 2008 at the Breezy Point Conference Center in Breezy Point, Minnesota.

432 people from around the state attended the conference.

The conference featured four general session speakers:

  • Robin Getman (Laugh! For the Health of It),
  • Mark Seeley (Climate Change – Implications for Public Health),
  • Donna Zimmerman (The Itasca Project – How Business Leaders are Working to “Close the Gap”), and 
  • Commissioner of Health Sanne Magnan (Closing Address).

The conference also offered 20 concurrent sessions on the following topics:  public health infrastructure, social determinants of health, risk behaviors, communications, mental health, and environmental health.

Conference participants:

  • Received up-to-date information on a wide array of public health programs and topics.
  • Gained an appreciation for the proven health benefits of laughter, while learning how to ensure helpful, not harmful, humor in their workplaces.
  • Heard about the effects of climate change and its potential impact on public health.
  • Discovered how leaders in Minnesota’s business community are working to address social determinants such as disparities in race, geography and education to ensure the future of Minnesota’s workforce.
  • Were enlightened with highlights for a hopeful future for Minnesota’s public health system.

Highlights and free time activities during the conference included the yearly community health awards ceremony and reception (the award recipients are listed in the nominating and awards subcommittee report), public health resources and displays, physical activity sessions, after dinner conversations with Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan, and movie night. 

Conference Planning Work Group Membership

Bev Bales, Chair, Douglas County Commissioner
Kenneth Bence, Minnesota Council of Health Plans
David Benson, Nobles County Commissioner
Mary Cahill, MDH,  Compliance Monitoring
Mitchell Davis, MDH, Office of Minority and Multicultural Health
Maggie Diebel, MDH, Community and Family Health
Gail Gentling, MDH, Community and Family Health
Ardis Henriksen, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone Public Health
Tom Hogan, MDH, Environmental Health
Jay Jaffee, MDH, Health Promotion Chronic Disease
Ann Kinney, MDH, Health Policy
Helene Kahlstorf, North Country CHB
Idelle Longman, City of Edina CHB
Julie Myhre, Carlton, Cook, Lake, St. Louis CHB
Susan Morris, Isanti County Commissioner
Karen Nordstrom, City of Bloomington Councilmember
Jacob Owens, MDH, Office of Emergency Preparedness
Asa Schmit, MDH, Information Systems and Technology
Mary Sheehan, Chisago County Community and Public Health
Kristen Tharaldson, MDH, Health Policy
Lynn Theurer, Winona County Community Health Services
Bev Wangerin, McLeod County Commissioner
Amy Westbrook, MDH, Infectious Disease Epi. Prevention and Control

Staff to the Work Group and Conference

Peggy Malinowski, MDH, Community and Family Health
Allison Thrash, MDH, Community and Family Health