News release: Minnesota Health Commissioner tapped to lead national health coalition

News Release
September 11, 2014

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Minnesota Health Commissioner tapped to lead national health coalition

Ehlinger elected by peers to lead Association of State and Territorial Health Officials in 2015

Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger has been elected to be president-elect of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the national organization representing the lead state health officials from all 50 states and other jurisdictions around the country. Dr. Ehlinger will serve as president-elect for one year and become the ASTHO president starting at the organization's autumn 2015 annual meeting.

ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing state public health agencies in the United States, the U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia, and more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, formulate and influence sound public health policy and ensure excellence in state-based public health practice. ASTHO's primary function is to track, evaluate, and advise members on the impact and formation of public or private health policy which may affect their states and to provide them with guidance and technical assistance on improving the nation's health.

"I congratulate Dr. Ehlinger on his election to this leadership position," said Governor Mark Dayton. "I am confident he will be a strong advocate in this role for improving public health across the country."

Commissioner Ehlinger was elected president in a vote taken at the organization's annual meeting and policy summit, being held this week in New Mexico. In addition to continuing the organization's work of building stronger ties across state and local health departments, he said he intends to use the post to build awareness of the importance of a strong public health system to protect, maintain and improve the health of all Americans.

"It is a tremendous honor to be asked to lead ASTHO as we enter a key period in the evolution of our public health system," Commissioner Ehlinger said. "As a country we have a lot of work to do when it comes to creating the conditions in which everyone has an opportunity to be healthy. To accomplish that goal we have to step up our efforts to fight chronic disease and reduce health disparities. Minnesota has made progress in these areas under the leadership of Governor Dayton, and I look forward to applying what we've learned from those efforts with my ASTHO colleagues. We are all working toward the same goal of protecting, maintaining and improving the health of individuals and communities around the country."

For more information about ASTHO, visit the organization's website at


Media inquiries:

Michael Schommer
MDH Communications