News Release
April 1, 2013

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Minnesota to celebrate Public Health Week April 1-7

Daily observances include April 2 State of Public Health Forum in West St. Paul

Governor Mark Dayton has declared April 1-7 to be Public Health Week, and to mark the occasion the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will gather public health partners for a forum on the state of public health in Minnesota.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, April 2, at the Dakota Lodge in West St. Paul. Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger will open with a presentation on the rapidly evolving landscape of health policy and the need for new policies and partnerships that more effectively address chronic disease, health disparities and affordable access. His presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on the importance of strong partnerships for public health. Moderated by John Finnegan, dean of the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, panelists will include representatives from local public health, health care and volunteer and nonprofit sectors.

Minnesota's designation of April 1-7 as Public Health Week corresponds with National Public Health Week, a nationwide opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of public health and to build awareness about the contributions of public health to individual wellness, community well-being and our quality of life. In addition to the Tuesday forum, MDH will focus on daily themes as follows:

Monday, April 1 - Healthy Infrastructure: Public health emergencies come in many forms, from breakdowns in pharmaceutical or food safety to natural disasters, environmental contaminants, bioterrorism and novel diseases. Responding effectively to these crises requires a healthy and prepared public health infrastructure a trained workforce of epidemiologists and other scientists, laboratory capacity and capability, robust disease monitoring systems, investigation of exposures; and responsive regulatory functions as needed. The importance of our public health infrastructure will be highlighted with a special video, Just Another Day..., with a story on the fungal meningitis outbreak of 2012, both available on the MDH website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/topics/nphw/index.html.

Tuesday, April 2 - Healthy Partnerships: State of Public Health Forum at Dakota Lodge in West St. Paul, 10 a.m.-noon. Participants will include:

    • Gretchen Musicant, chair of the Local Public Health Association of Minnesota (LPHA) and health commissioner for the city of Minneapolis
    • Allie Freidrichs, director of Meeker-McLeod-Sibley Community Health Services
    • Shannon Lotthammer, director of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Environmental Analysis and Outcomes Division
    • Mark Lappe, emergency manager, Hennepin County Medical Center
    • Lillian McDonald, executive director, ECHO Minnesota

    Wednesday, April 3 - Healthy Communities: Commissioner Ehlinger will visit the Minnesota State Academies to see their Worksite Wellness and Farm to School initiatives, then travel to the Faribault Lutheran School to engage with staff and students in Active School Day and healthy eating activities. MDH's Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) worked with these community partners to encourage wellness activities. The Commissioner will then participate in a reception at Rice County Public Health for community partners, county commissioners, and local public health staff, to learn more about local public health and SHIP in Rice County.

    Thursday, April 4 - Healthy Homes: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America. Every home should be tested for this radioactive gas and homes with high levels should be fixed. MDH will urge people to test for radon before they sell - or buy – a home. Twitter followers will get several Tweets related to indoor air and a Facebook entry will direct people to the MDH YouTube Channel, where people can watch a video on radon testing, as well as other MDH videos. Having a healthy home leads to healthier people.

    Friday, April 5 – Healthy Futures: Current and future activities of the Minnesota Department of Health will be most effective and efficient with a well-trained and energized workforce. Commissioner Ehlinger and other staff will focus Friday on thanking the talented and hard-working staff of MDH for their many contributions to public health.

    More on National Public Health Week can be found online at http://www.health.state.mn.us/topics/nphw/index.html.

    -MDH-


For more information, contact:

Michael Schommer
MDH Communications
651-201-4998