21st century public health in Minnesota - Minnesota Dept. of Health


21st century public health in Minnesota

Subscribe to PHN Practice Discussion TopicsState, local, and tribal health departments in Minnesota have a unique responsibility to protect and promote the health of the public. Many governmental public health leaders have identified the need to strengthen the public health system and create a system for the 21st century—one that is equipped to work with communities and carryout foundational public health responsibilities effectively and efficiently.

A group of local and state public health leaders developed a framework for what Minnesotans should expect from the governmental public health system. This framework outlines a set of foundational public health responsibilities that are grounded by a core value: where you live should not determine your level of public health protection. For more information, see: A new framework for governmental public health in Minnesota (PDF) or contact us.

How do I plug in? (includes technical groups and Leadership Council)
Related content
Contact us
Current information and updates


How do I plug in?

  • Are you a member of the Leadership Council?
    Download meeting materials at: Leadership Council.
  • What's happening nationally?
    Other states exploring a new way of delivering public health services include Missouri, Washington, and Oregon.

Strengthening Public Health Workgroup: Final Report to SCHSAC (PDF), 2017

Minnesota statewide health assessment (PDF), 2017


Contact us

If you'd like to connect with the work happening in Minnesota, please contact the MDH Center for Public Health Practice by phone (651-201-3880) or email (health.ophp@state.mn.us).


Current information and updates

To receive updates in your inbox, subscribe to the 21st Century Public Health Email List.

November 2019

As we move forward, you may see references to both "strengthening public health in Minnesota" and "21st century public health in Minnesota." MDH and SCHSAC are using these terms interchangeably right now, but the change reflects a shift from focusing on strengthening public health to creating a public health system for the 21st century—one that is equipped to work with communities and carry out foundational public health responsibilities as effectively and efficiently as possible.

The Leadership Council met for the first time, and moving forward, will lead efforts to strengthen and transform Minnesota’s system of state, local and tribal public health departments so together they can fulfill their responsibility to protect the public’s health and move the needle on health outcomes. For more information and to see meeting materials, visit: Leadership Council.

Multiple technical groups continue to work to define foundational areas and foundational capabilities. For more information on these technical groups, contact the MDH Center for Public Health Practice.

October 2019

State and local health officials are moving into the next phase of their work:

  • Refining foundational public health responsibilities: Over 100 volunteers from local public health and MDH are working in technical groups to refine these foundational public health responsibilities, adding details and clarification where necessary. The Leadership Council will finalize and approve the foundational responsibilities.
  • Leadership Council: The Commissioner of Health is convening a new Leadership Council to identify and prioritize (1) public health delivery models to test/adopt, (2) statutory changes, and (3) funding strategies. Membership includes representatives from the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Minnesota Local Public Health Association, community organizations, SCHSAC, tribes, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, MDH, and more. For more information and to see meeting materials, visit: Leadership Council.
  • Estimating the gap: We realize current data and information doesn’t adequately show where we fall short in carrying out foundational public health responsibilities, and are exploring new and novel ways to learn what’s working well, as well as where there are gaps.
  • Innovation: We are looking for innovative ways to carry out these foundational public health responsibilities across Minnesota, in ways that maximize our strengths, address current system challenges, take advantage of efficiencies of scale, and limit redundancy. To date, we’ve identified gaps and challenges in our system’s ability to effectively use and access data; work with other sectors and engage with communities; respond to disease outbreaks; and influence the conditions that create health.
  • Tribal public health: We’re meeting with tribal public health directors to assess the relevance of foundational public health responsibilities from a tribal perspective, and to ensure the 21st century public health system leverages the strengths of state, local, and tribal governments.
  • National efforts: Minnesota is one of a number of states assessing its current public health system and taking action to help the system evolve to meet the needs of its population. We’re participating in a national learning community to learn from, adapt, and adopt the work of others where it makes sense for Minnesota.