Infrastructure Fund innovation projects
TRANSFORMING THE PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM IN MINNESOTA
The Minnesota Legislature provided a $6 million annual appropriation for local and tribal health departments in 2021, to carry out the work of strengthening the public health system and creating a system for the 21st century.
Funded projects will provide insight into the most efficient and effective ways to assure Minnesota's statewide public health system has the expertise, skills, and capabilities it needs to meet new and emerging public health challenges.
For questions about the Infrastructure Fund, please contact:
MDH Center for Public Health Practice
Bloomington, on behalf of Bloomington, Edina, and Richfield
Operationalize equity through a community-city collaboration to address health and healing
The public health departments of the cities of Bloomington, Edina, and Richfield will operationalize equity by becoming healing organizations. Co-led by city and community partners, Bloomington Public Health, with its partners in Edina and Richfield, will complete a trauma-informed organizational assessment; create and implement an organizational framework for public health practice that recognizes and responds to racial trauma; and create a roadmap for city collaboration on health and housing. This project will test a model of community and city collaboration, and will help both the jurisdictions involved and the statewide public health system learn more about demonstrating an organizational commitment to health equity.
Pilot a regional planning and communications team that will strengthen the jurisdiction's ability to measure, evaluate, and communicate
Carlton-Cook-Lake-St. Louis Community Health Board will pilot a regional planning and communications team to strengthen the jurisdiction's ability to measure health-related trends and inequities, evaluate the impact of public health interventions, and communicate information to the public. The region will develop a "hub and spoke" model that will yield lessons related to implementing foundational capabilities across multiple jurisdictions and health departments.
Pilot an Office of Community Engagement and Equity to fund and partner with local nonprofit organizations to promote equity, community engagement, and opportunity for all residents
Carver County Public Health will pilot an Office of Community Engagement and Equity that will fund and partner with local nonprofit organizations to promote equity, community engagement, and opportunity for all residents. The county will create the infrastructure for local grassroots leadership to lead the way on health equity and efforts to address social determinants of health. The local jurisdiction will learn more about the lived experiences of diverse communities, and will use that knowledge to create new processes to enable shared decision-making with populations experiencing inequities; the statewide public health system will learn more about building capacity to advance health equity and how funding trusted local organizations can contribute to an organization's ability to fulfill foundational public health responsibilities.
Develop and test a modernized communications and marketing infrastructure, in partnership with community leaders, in a rural and multi-county jurisdiction
Countryside Public Health will develop and implement a communications plan to effectively deliver timely science-based information across five rural counties. This work will modernize the jurisdictions' communications and marketing infrastructure, and will support the development of culturally-specific communications in partnership with community leaders. This project will serve as a learning environment for Countryside Public Health, MDH, and the statewide public health system for building communications capabilities in rural, multi-county jurisdictions. Countryside Public Health includes Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties.
Des Moines Valley
Pilot a consultation model for building data capacity and strengthening community partnerships
Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services will partner with a mentor organization and other consultants to build capacity in community partnerships and data and epidemiology for the two-county jurisdiction, so that it meets national standards in these areas. In the near term, the jurisdiction will use these skills to strengthen partnerships and activities that support community mental health and well-being. This approach to building foundational capabilities will test the strengths and challenges of a consultation model and, if successful, lay the foundation for a future Center of Excellence. Des Moines Valley HHS includes Cottonwood and Jackson counties.
Work across jurisdictions on joint, mutually beneficial projects to enhance data capabilities
Goodhue County Health and Human Services will enhance its ability to collect, analyze, and use data to improve public health programs and services. Goodhue County plans to work closely with other jurisdictions in its region on joint, mutually beneficial projects that will enhance data capabilities beyond its borders. Minnesota's statewide public health system will gain insights into the benefits of embedding a data professional in a small-to-mid-size local health department and the potential return on investment of public health interventions.
Test and establish methods to become a trauma-informed, healing organization through community partnerships and by assessing policies, procedures, and systems
Hennepin County Public Health will become a trauma-informed, healing organization. The county's approach will span county departments and communities, and link to the county's Community Health Improvement Partnership. Hennepin County Public Health will test and conduct a review of policies, integrate best and promising trauma-informed practices into county systems, fund community organizations to partner in the work and support community needs and solutions, and improve how the county works with community organizations to foster trust and support community capacity to lead. This project will allow Hennepin County to test and establish methods to become a trauma-informed, healing organization, and will provide a scalable model that deep rural, rural, suburban, and metropolitan areas can learn from and adapt according to their context and community needs.
Design a public health communications strategy for the 21st century by contracting with experts and community connectors
Horizon Public Health will work to determine the best approaches to strengthen communications and build trust in the community by becoming a reliable source for timely, trustworthy information. Horizon will contract with a communications firm to assess current communication systems and strategies, develop a strategic roadmap to meet communications goals, and design a public health communications strategy for the future. Horizon Public Health will also develop the skills of existing staff and contract with community connectors to engage more deeply with target populations across the five-county rural jurisdiction. Locally, this work will help Horizon modernize its communications capabilities and explore the possibility of building a potential Center of Excellence in the region. For the statewide public health system, this project will generate insights into the communication needs of multi-county rural jurisdictions and how private sector entities can help meet these needs. Horizon Public Health includes Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, and Traverse counties.
Build communications capacity and explore how community health workers can help carry out and support strategic communications
Le Sueur-Waseca Community Health Board will contract with a communications specialist to build communications capacity across two health departments, and will explore how community health workers can help carry out and support strategic communications. Le Sueur-Waseca will train staff, develop a communications plan, create tools and templates, and generate culturally-specific communication strategies. This project will contribute to a body of knowledge about building communications capacity in rural areas.
Metro Area Data Project
Hennepin, on behalf of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties; and the cities of Bloomington, Edina, Minneapolis, and Richfield
Develop infrastructure to better share data between health systems and local public health departments, and pilot the use of electronic health record data for informing community health assessment
The Metro Area Data Project is a novel partnership between the seven-county Center for Community Health and the Minnesota Electronic Health Record (EHR) Consortium to facilitate sharing data between health systems and local public health departments. Access to this data will help local public health leaders identify, track, and manage public health crises, pandemics, chronic medical conditions, and more. The Metro Area Data Project will create a dashboard of key community health indicators based on clinical data from health systems serving most of the residents in seven-county metropolitan area. Partners can examine this data at the sub-county level and stratified by race, ethnicity, and other important demographic characteristics, to precisely determine where disparities exist. This has the potential to impact all aspects of public health work. If successful, this project could be scaled statewide.
Build communications capacity in a rural area through cross-jurisdictional sharing
North Country Community Health Board will implement a cross-jurisdictional partnership to build communications capacity across three small, rural public health departments. Shared staff will build and maintain systems for public-facing communications; build on current community relationships; develop policies, procedures, and content; and build staff communications skills. Sharing this position will allow North Country to test a cross-jurisdictional model outside of existing program-specific positions, and will help the statewide public health system learn more about what aspects of communications are specific to a local community and what can be more broadly shared across jurisdictions. North Country includes Clearwater, Hubbard, and Lake of the Woods counties.
Explore the feasibility of a regional model for population health data collection and analysis
Olmsted County Public Health Services will assess the feasibility of creating agreements with neighboring jurisdictions in the southeast region for planning and population health data needs, and will pilot projects with other jurisdictions to test the process. Olmsted will also build data capabilities with health equity in mind, including data disaggregation, qualitative data collection, and/or the use of GIS mapping. The goal of this project is to understand how Olmsted County, or any larger health department, could support other jurisdictions with data, epidemiology, and assessment and planning efforts. This work will inform broader efforts to strengthen public health capacity across the state by examining whether a regional or statewide model is the best fit when supporting other jurisdictions, how this model could complement the regional field epidemiologist model, what staffing and fiscal policies and procedures are needed, and the benefits or challenges of this approach in contrast to other potential models.
Increase capacity in data and epidemiology across jurisdictions while building data-sharing and disease reporting relationships across state borders
Partnership4Health will build its capacity in data and epidemiology through a shared staff position across four health departments within the jurisdiction. This role will collaborate to support community health board and county needs, and will allow for active data review and necessary surveillance. In addition, a key component to this role will be building ongoing relationships with North Dakota partners on ways to improve data sharing and disease reporting. This approach will help Minnesota explore the right fit for coordination between partners at the state, regional, and local level, and will generate insights about cross-border relationships and coordination. Partnership4Health includes Becker, Clay, Otter Tail, and Wilkin counties.
Polk-Norman-Mahnomen, on behalf of Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, and Red Lake counties
Create a regional environmental health partnership to strengthen services and explore factors that make for successful cross-jurisdictional work
Polk, Norman, Mahnomen, Marshall, Pennington, and Red Lake counties will create a regional environmental health partnership across four health departments, serving six counties. This collaboration will leverage county resources, increase each jurisdiction's data and community partnership capabilities, and strengthen environmental public health services in the region. Using the Center for Sharing Public Health Services roadmap, an external facilitator will work with local public health leaders to explore, plan, and implement a partnership to create a center of excellence and/or shared service delivery model for environmental health in this region. This project will help identify factors for successful cross-jurisdictional partnerships, and the statewide public health system will benefit from leveraging local public health capacity to achieve shared goals. Further, it will provide tangible evidence of public health's evolving role from clinical care into serving population health through capabilities like data analysis and community/partner convening.
Increase data capacity in a small, rural area, including considering how to identify high-risk populations in similar jurisdictions with small populations
Quin County Community Health board will contract with a public health data analyst who will work across five counties (four local health departments) to collaborate with state and local partners to collect, analyze, and disseminate data across this deeply rural jurisdiction. Because the population in Quin is small, its needs are often lost in larger data sets or databases. This work will allow Quin to develop tools for identifying high-risk populations in smaller, rural areas, and provide access to guidance and expertise in using data to inform effective rural public health program activities. The project will generate important insights about building data capacity in small, rural jurisdictions. Quin includes Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, and Roseau counties.
Increase access to accurate, culturally specific, and linguistically appropriate public health information and health care services that align with the community's needs
St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health will enhance its Trusted Cultural Community Messenger Program that was built during COVID to engage with populations most impacted by health inequities and through trusted relationships with community partners. St. Paul-Ramsey will fund and collaborate with trusted community organizations and local leaders to increase access to accurate, culturally specific, and linguistically appropriate public health information and health care services that align with the community's needs. St. Paul-Ramsey will create the infrastructure that centers community voice through shared power with internal department work. This project will build St. Paul-Ramsey's capacity to advance race and health equity, and will provide Minnesota's statewide public health system an opportunity to learn how intentionally centering community voice can contribute to an organization's ability to fulfill foundational public health responsibilities.
How were these projects selected?
The review team selected these projects in May 2022. The team consisted of people with local public health experience, outside reviewers with public health expertise, and representatives from MDH. The team reviewed applications against the following criteria: Building a foundational capability of communication, community partnerships, data and epidemiology, and/or health equity; demonstration of organizational need and of how the proposed approach meets that need; identification of potential lessons learned for how to build foundational capabilities statewide; consideration of health equity.