September 4, 2013
Health chief plans to pitch horseshoes, talk public health in Winona County
“Pitch the Commissioner 2013” event set for Winona, Goodview Sept. 12, 1-4 p.m.
Following up on last summer’s popular “Pitch the Commissioner” events, Minnesota Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger is again 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 commissioner will be in Winona County Thursday, Sept. 12.
The first part of Ehlinger’s visit on Thursday, Sept. 12 will be a presentation at the Winona County Office Building, 202 W. Third St., Winona, from 1-2 p.m. Ehlinger hopes to engage local officials in a discussion on “What Does Minnesota Need to be Healthy?” From 2-3 p.m. he will meet and visit with Winona County Public Health staff at the county offices. Then he will travel to Goodview’s Memorial Park, 9th Street and 44th Avenue, for a few rounds of pitching horseshoes and gathering and exchanging ideas on ways to improve community and individual health in Minnesota.
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,” he 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.”
Participants invited to the Winona County event include Winona County Board members, Community Services Department director, the Winona mayor and City Council, Winona Health administrators, Winona State University president and/or representatives, St Mary’s University president and representatives, Minnesota State College Southeast Technical president and representatives; area legislators; and the Winona area horseshoe club. The event is open to others who want to pitch an idea to the commissioner.
The “Pitch the Commissioner” events in other communities have followed a similar itinerary, but were tailored to local needs, often including observing activities or touring sites that highlight local public health in action. Topics of discussion have included the importance of disease prevention as a strategy for controlling health care costs—particularly the infrastructure needed to help people become active (like having biking/walking paths and horseshoe pits available), the impact of policy decisions on health, how to strengthen local health departments and health care reform. Events this year have been held in Watonwan, Isanti, Mille Lacs, Todd, Benton, and Morrison counties, Grand Marais and Duluth.