Community Health Conference: 2012

Strengthening Public Health:
Linking Past Successes to Future Challenges

Minnesota Department of Health Community Health Conference: 2012 Strengthening Public Health: Linking Past Successes to Future Challenges The State Community Health Services Advisory Committee (SCHSAC) Community Health Conference Planning Workgroup was charged to select the format, theme, objectives, and speakers for the 2012 Community Health Conference and to assist Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) staff in hosting the conference.

LuAnne
OPI Assistant Director LuAnne McNichols prepares to greet conference attendees at the Public Health Nursing resource display table.


Summary of Activities

The 2012 Community Health Conference Planning Workgroup worked with MDH staff to organize the format, program, and speakers for the 2012 Community Health Conference Strengthening Public Health: Linking Past Successes to Future Challenges. The conference was held on October 3-5, 2012 at the Cragun’s Conference Center near Brainerd, MN.

Three hundred seventy-seven people statewide attended the conference. Attendees included: local elected officials; local public health administrators, directors and staff; SCHSAC members and alternates; Tribal leadership and staff; community-based organization leadership and staff; Community Health Board and advisory committee members; health plan staff; MDH management and staff; and other public health professionals. One hundred twenty-three were “first time” attendees, many of whom were the 2012 Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative grantees and physicians/medical students interested in public health.

The 2012 Community Health Conference linked past successes with revolutionary ideas, creative innovations, and new partnerships, in order to improve the health of all Minnesotans now and into the future.

Conference participants had the opportunity to:

  • Make connections between national trends and action to take into their own community to improve public health;
  • Network with public health colleagues and establish new relationships;
  • Interact with leadership from the Minnesota Department of Health;
  • Bring home creative innovations and useful tools to implement;
  • Increase capacity to more effectively participate in public health partnerships;
  • Learn more about barriers to health equity for all Minnesotans;
  • Celebrate public health accomplishments to be inspired to meet the challenges of the future.

The conference featured four general sessions:

  • Strengthening Public Health: Linking Past Successes to
    Future Challenges

    Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health
    with Past Commissioners of Health – Sister Mary Madonna Ashton (1983-1990), Mary Jo O’Brien (1993-1995), Anne Barry (1995-1998), Jan Malcolm (1999-2003), Dianne Mandernach (2003-2007), and Sanne Magnan (2007-2010).
  • Synergy Across Sectors
    Glen P. Mays, Professor of Health Services and Systems Research University of Kentucky College of Public Health and Mary Wellik, Public Health Consultant and Retired Director of Olmsted County Public Health.
  • Share Your Passion for Public Health and Your Community
    Andy Berndt, Director of Social Marketing and Health Promotion at Community Blueprint.
  • Rethink the Impossible
    Billy McLaughlin, Guitarist, Composer, Dystonia Medical Research Foundation Ambassador.
2012 Commissioners Panel
The panel of past commissioners, left to right:
Sister Mary Madonna Ashton, Mary Jo O'Brien, Anne Barry, Jan Malcolm, Dianne Mandernach, Sanne Magnan, Current Commissioner Ed Ehlinger


In addition, 25 concurrent sessions were offered on the following topic areas: using data to identify priorities and describe your community, improving public health messages, aligning community health improvement activities, applying successful strategies to new topics, integrating public health and primary care, exchanging electronic health records, building partnerships, and using the accreditation standards for assessment and planning, quality improvement, performance management, and workforce development.

Highlights during the conference included the yearly community health awards ceremony and reception, public health resources and displays, after dinner conversations with the Commissioner of Health and the MDH Executive Team, movie night, and an impromptu vocal performance by conference attendees.

Conference participants continue to see value in this annual conference.

“The conference committee yet again put together an excellent conference that was reflective of the important issues facing public health.”

“The CHS conference was awesome this year but for some reason it was just super special this year too!”

“The opportunity to network at this conference is so important.”

- 2012 Conference Participant Comments

Workgroup Membership

  • Bill Groskreutz, Chair, Faribault-Martin CHB
    (Faribault County Commissioner)
  • Kenneth Bence, Minnesota Council of Health Plans
  • David Benson, Nobles CHB (Nobles County Commissioner)
  • Cynthia Bennett, Aitkin-Itasca-Koochiching CHB
  • Tannie Eshenaur, MDH Environmental Health Division
  • Pat Faulkner, MDH Community and Family Health Division
  • Gail Gentling, MDH Office of Performance Improvement
  • José Gonzàlez, MDH Office of Minority and Multicultural Health
  • Sue Hedlund, Washington CHB
  • Kim Jeppesen, MDH Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention,
    and Control Division
  • Helene Kahlstorf North Country CHB
  • Ann Kinney, MDH Division of Health Policy
  • Larry Kittelson, Horizon CHB (Pope County Commissioner)
  • DeeAnn Pettyjohn, Dodge-Steele CHB
  • Deb Radi, MDH Office of Emergency Preparedness
  • Rosemary Schultz, Cottonwood-Jackson CHB
    (Jackson County Commissioner)
  • Stanton Shanedling, MDH Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Division
  • Christine Twait, MDH Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives
  • Bev Wangerin, Meeker-McLeod-Sibley CHB
    (McLeod County Commissioner)

Conference Staff

  • Becky Buhler, Office of Performance Improvement
  • Peggy Malinowski, Office of Performance Improvement
  • Nicole Parsons, Office of Performance Improvement