News release: Health commissioner hitting the road to pitch horseshoes, talk public health

News Release
July 8, 2013

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Health commissioner hitting the road to pitch horseshoes, talk public health

First of “Pitch the Commissioner 2013” events set for Watonwan County on Thursday, July 11

Following up on last summer’s popular “Pitch the Commissioner” events, Minnesota Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger will once again be visiting communities around the state this summer inviting local officials, community leaders, and Minnesotans interested in the health of their community to join him in a game or two of horseshoes while they discuss important public health issues.

The first Pitch the Commissioner event is set for Watonwan County on Thursday, July 11, in St. James, at Memorial Park, South Shelter, 808 1st Street South. Commissioner Ehlinger will brief the media and pitch horseshoes from 1 to 2 p.m. Ehlinger will also give a presentation from 2 to 3:15 p.m. at the same location about what Minnesota needs to be healthy.
Commissioner 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,” Commissioner 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 “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. Scheduled events so far include Duluth (St. Louis County) on July 30, Isanti/Mille Lacs Counties on August 6, Little Falls (Morrison County) on August 7, Winona (Winona County) on September 12.  

Possible topics of discussion for the events could include the importance of disease prevention as a strategy for controlling health care costs—particularly the infrastructure needed to help people become active (like having horseshoe pits available), 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.

Media inquiries:
Scott Smith, Information Officer
MDH Communications