July 6, 2012
Health commissioner invites local officials to “Pitch the Commissioner”
Discussions about what communities need to be healthy will take place around games of horseshoes
Minnesota Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger will visit several communities around the state this summer, inviting local officials to join him in a game or two of horseshoes while they discuss important public health issues.
Ehlinger, an avid fan of the traditional American game of horseshoes, said the goal of the “Pitch the Commissioner” events is to talk with local officials and community groups about public health issues in their communities and to raise awareness of the value of public health and prevention.
“Pitching horseshoes is a fun and easy way for people to be physically active and engage in conversation at the same time,” Ehlinger said. “I want to hear what Minnesotans have to say about what their communities need to be healthy and I want to highlight the achievements of local public health.”
The first stop on the “Pitch the Commissioner” tour will be in Rochester Tuesday, July 10 at the East Park Horseshoe Pits, 1738 East Center St. Prior to pitching horseshoes from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m., the commissioner will briefly attend the Olmsted County Board meeting, take a walking tour as part of “Healthy Living Rochester” and enjoy a box lunch with invited guests at the park. Following the games, at the East Park shelter, the commissioner will provide a briefing for local media and share a wrap-up of the day’s conversations. In case of bad weather, the presentation will take place at Olmsted County Public Health Building, 21000 Campus Drive SE.
The “Pitch the Commissioner” events in other communities will follow a similar itinerary, but will be tailored to local needs. Events may include observing activities that highlight local public health in action and visits to MDH district offices when possible. Scheduled events so far include Buffalo (Wright County) on July 31, Albert Lea (Freeborn County) on Aug. 21, and Moorhead (Clay County) on Aug. 28.
Possible topics of discussion for the events could include the importance of prevention in health reform, particularly the infrastructure needed to help people become active (like having horseshoe pits available), modification of health regulations, the impact of policy decisions on health, how to strengthen local health departments and health care reform – or anything else local officials want to mention.