Community Health Conference: 2009

Surviving and Thriving in Difficult Times

The SCHSAC Community Health Conference Planning Work Group selected a format, theme, objectives, and speakers for the 2009 Community Health Conference and assisted Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) staff in hosting the conference.

Summary of Activities

The conference planning work group worked with MDH staff to organize the format, program and speakers for the Minnesota Department of Health's 2009 Community Health Conference: Surviving and Thriving in Difficult Times, which was held on October 1-2 at Cragun's Conference Center in Brainerd, Minnesota.

In response to budgetary and travel concerns the work group “trimmed down” the conference by condensing the conference into two days, waiving the registration fee, moving to electronic registration and handouts, and eliminating scheduled free-time activities. In addition, community health alumni were invited to attend the conference.

In spite of the challenging economic environment and overly full workloads, 363 people from around the state attended the conference. 

Commissioner of Health Sanne Magnan opened the conference with a SCHSAC-sponsored town hall meeting about response to H1N1.

The conference featured four general sessions:

  • Public Health 2009: Celebrating Our Achievements and
    Embracing the Challenge
    Linda Olson Keller
  • Leading from Your Soul (Instead of a Position of Authority)
    Robin Getman
  • Institutional Racism: What Is It? Why Is It Important?
    Diana Dunn and John Morrin
  • Closing Comments
    Sanne Magnan, Commissioner of Health

In addition, 16 concurrent sessions were offered on the following topics: public health infrastructure, social determinants of health, risk behaviors, communications, mental health, and environmental health.

Conference participants had the opportunity to:

  • Meet new and network with old public health colleagues;
  • Discuss and provide input on important public health topics with the Commissioner of Health;
  • Learn about past public health achievements, celebrate recent accomplishments and be inspired to meet the challenges of the future;
  • Grow their leadership skills by examining leadership, power, and meaningful interaction;
  • Develop an understanding of institutional racism and its contribution to health disparities;
  • Gain fresh perspectives by attending timely concurrent sessions; and
  • Receive tips, tools, and resources to assist in “surviving and thriving in difficult times.”

Conference participants continue to see value in the annual Community Health Conference; participants continue to respond that they most like the networking time provided during the conference.

Conference Planning Work Group Membership

Susan Morris, Chair, Isanti-Mille Lacs CHB
Kenneth Bence, Minnesota Council of Health Plans
Cynthia Bennett, Aitkin, Itasca, Koochiching Counties CHS
David Benson, Nobles-Rock CHB
Sharon Smith, MDH, Office of Minority and Multicultural Health
Maggie Diebel, MDH, Community and Family Health
Ardis Henriksen, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone PHS
Jay Jaffee, MDH, Health Promotion Chronic Disease
Kim Jeppesen, MDH, Infectious Disease Epi. Prevention and Control
Michelle Jordan, MDH, Office of Emergency Preparedness
Ann Kinney, MDH, Health Policy
Helene Kahlstorf, North Country CHB
Idelle Sue Longman, City of Edina CHB
Julie Myhre, Carlton Cook Lake St. Louis Counties CHS
Mike Nordos, MDH, Environmental Health
Rachel Reabe Nystrom, Crow Wing CHB
Mary Sheehan, Chisago County Health and Human Services
Gary Sorenson, Cottonwood-Jackson CHB
Bev Wangerin, Meeker, McLeod, Sibley CHB

Staff to the Work Group and Conference

Chelsie Huntley, MDH, Community and Family Health
Peggy Malinowski, MDH, Community and Family Health
Nicole Parsons, MDH, Community and Family Health