August 19, 2015
MDH state fair booth invites visitors to see health from new angle
“Picture a Healthier Community” theme highlights community influence on individuals’ health
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) doesn’t offer visitors health food on a stick at the 2015 Minnesota State Fair. It does, however, attempt to skewer some preexisting notions about what determines health.
“Picture a Healthier Community” is the theme of the MDH booth at this year’s fair. Located in the Education Building just north of Dan Patch Avenue on Cosgrove Street, the 2015 MDH display focuses on how good health starts long before we go to the doctor’s office. In fact, health is built – or weakened – by the choices we collectively make as communities on issues as diverse as housing, employment, transportation and education.
The MDH booth will provide information about these so-called “social determinants” of health and their tight connections with the health of individual Minnesotans. The booth will also invite visitors to join the conversation via a photo booth feature that allows people to take a picture with a statement of their own or a pre-printed sign about what their community needs to be healthier. Statements can range from “more bike paths” and “equal pay for women” to “healthier concession stand options” or “expanded farmers markets.” Visitors can share their statement via social media using the hashtag #MNHealthy.
“We know we are fortunate in Minnesota to have a world-class health care system, but we also know that our health is about much more than what happens at the clinic or hospital,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “With this year’s display, we’re hoping to challenge some of those perceptions and help people see how their individual health is affected by public health interventions and other aspects of community life.”
In addition to this main theme, the MDH booth will once again offer its “Wheel of Health” game. Participants spin a wheel, answer a health-related question and receive a pencil for answering correctly. The booth will also offer free anti-smoking posters featuring Minnesota Wild star Zach Parise, along with brochures and other materials on a variety of health topics.
Additional MDH programs at the fair include the department’s Newborn Screening Program and the Drinking Water Protection Program. The Newborn Screening Program will have a #MadeinMinnesota photo contest at its booth in the Health Fair 11 building in the East Crossroads auditorium at the intersection of Dan Patch Avenue and Cooper Street. Drinking Water Protection once again will be part of the popular EcoExperience, at the corner of Randal Avenue and Cooper Street.