Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two New Resources about Access to Healthy Food

The Public Health Law Center is happy to announce the release of  two new resources related to access to healthy food:

Our new policy brief, Access to Healthy Food: Challenges and Opportunities, provides public health advocates, policymakers, and community organizers with an overview of key policy and legal strategies being pursued to reduce or prevent obesity by increasing access to healthy food. These strategies can support efforts to develop and implement policies that will increase access to healthy food and reduce obesity. This document is attached, and can also be found on our website at:

We also compiled a new fact sheet, Healthy Vending and the Randolph Sheppard Act. Federal, state, and local governments can increase access to healthy foods and beverages for their residents by requiring all vending service providers to ensure healthier options are sold in vending machines on public property. Legally blind vendors can be particularly influential in what is sold in vending facilities located on government property because of the Randolph Sheppard Act.  This fact sheet discusses the Randolph Sheppard Act and what the law means for healthy vending efforts.  This document is attached, and can also be found on our website at:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Police get cross about crosswalks

Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune * Updated: August 17, 2012 - 10:50 AM

Robbinsdale's first-ever major crosswalk crackdown netted 80 citations over two days for drivers who blew past two neon signs, painted pavement and even an undercover pedestrian.

The ramped-up enforcement comes amid a rise in pedestrian deaths in Minnesota and as cities promote walkability, which puts more pedestrians in the danger zone.

"People are driving aggressively, they're not paying attention. ... It's not safe," Robbinsdale Police Chief Steve Smith said about the need for crackdowns like the sting, which prompted some residents to pull up lawn chairs to watch the action.

Part of the problem is that drivers and walkers are more distracted than ever before, cued in to smartphones and other diversions. The dangerous combination is sparking new safety efforts this year by many Twin Cities communities and also by the state, which is launching its first crosswalk safety campaign in nearly 15 years with a slew of ads, billboards and events in the next month.

"There are more distracted drivers and more distracted pedestrians," said Gordy Pehrson of the traffic safety office at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. "Not only do we need more enforcement, but we need to educate people more, especially motorists."

In short, drivers are supposed to stop or yield to pedestrians whether they're in a marked crosswalk or not, while walkers are supposed to enter a crosswalk with care.

"There's a shared responsibility," he said.

Seniors requested help

The blitz to enforce and educate comes at a time when walkability is a growing priority, with the number of people walking to their destinations up 18 percent from 2007 to 2011, according to Bike Walk Twin Cities. Cities such as Minneapolis, Bloomington, Edina, Hopkins and St. Louis Park are all looking to make streets more walkable with infrastructure changes.

That's prompted residents in Edina to request better enforcement of crosswalks, spurring police to start a new annual three-week crosswalk safety campaign this year. In July, Edina police handed out an estimated 20 citations around popular areas such as Southdale Center and the 50th and France commercial area.

"We've never had a focused effort like this," Edina Sgt. Tim Olson said.

In Robbinsdale, it was also residents, particularly senior citizens, who prompted the city to step up crosswalk enforcement. Last week, police enlisted the help of several metro area officers to nab 80 drivers, to the cheers and thumbs-up of onlookers.

"It's an issue that generally doesn't get a lot of attention, and I think it's an issue that needs it," Robbinsdale officer Ryan Pankratz said.

Robbinsdale enlisted the help of last year's newly formed Hennepin County Traffic Enforcement Group, traffic officers from Minneapolis, west and north metro suburbs and other agencies that assist one another. Initially they were asked to help with speeders, but after Robbinsdale officers were inundated with stops for drivers violating the crosswalk law near Sanborn Park, they reassigned the group to visibly boost crosswalk control.

Pedestrians vs. drivers

All too often, it takes a tragedy to spur action.

Between Chanhassen and Eden Prairie, a pedestrian flasher system will be added to an intersection on Hwy. 101 after a 12-year-old girl died when struck by a car while crossing the highway.

In the blame game, crashes are often attributed to actions by both drivers and pedestrians. In the 857 cases last year of Minnesota pedestrians killed or injured -- a rise of nearly 50 from the year before -- 35 percent of drivers had failed to yield to the pedestrians. The next biggest cause: distraction or inattention. Of the 40 pedestrians killed, 11 were trying to cross a road without a crosswalk or signal and 12 had consumed alcohol.

Pehrson said both drivers and pedestrians are more distracted, texting while walking or driving (which is illegal in Minnesota), checking phones or tuning out with music.
While other traffic-death causes such as drunken driving or not wearing seat belts continue to dip, pedestrian deaths in Minnesota have risen since 2008 after declining over the previous decade. Because other traffic deaths have fallen in number, pedestrian deaths now make up a higher proportion -- about 10 percent -- of overall traffic deaths.

In states like California, Pehrson said, "people literally slam on the brakes to stop for you." It will take a cultural shift, he said, to change Minnesotans' mind-set about crosswalks.

Starting Sept. 25 -- just ahead of October, the deadliest month for pedestrians -- the Minnesota Department of Transportation will unveil new billboards, radio and bus ads and stage events in Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Cloud, Rochester and Duluth to spread the word that every corner should be treated as a crosswalk, marked or not.

So far this year, 15 pedestrians have died.

"We're not really seeing any big change," Pehrson said. "If we do absolutely nothing, I don't think that the trends are going to change."

School food workers grapple with new USDA guidelines and how to get children to eat healthier

Article by: KRISTEN WYATT , Associated Press * Updated: August 21, 2012 - 2:06 AM

DENVER - There will be more whole grains on school lunch menus this year, along with a wider selection of fruits and vegetables and other healthy options. The challenge is getting children to eat them.

"We don't want healthy trash cans. We want kids who are eating this stuff," said Kern Halls, a former Disney World restaurant manager who now works in school nutrition at Orange County Public Schools in Florida.

At a School Nutrition Association conference in Denver this summer, food workers heard tips about how to get children to make healthy food choices in the cafeteria.

The problem is a serious one for the nation's lunch-line managers, who are implementing the biggest update to federal school-food guidelines in 15 years.

New Department of Agriculture guidelines taking effect this fall set calorie and sodium limits for school meals. Schools must offer dark green, orange or red vegetables and legumes at least once a week, and students are required to select at least one vegetable or fruit per meal. Flavored milk must be nonfat, and there's a ban on artificial, artery-clogging trans fats.

At the conference, Halls demonstrated some healthy recipes for curious cafeteria managers, joining White House chef Sam Kass to prepare a veggie wrap using a whole-wheat tortilla.

Halls' main mission, though, was not pushing new recipes but teaching cafeteria managers marketing strategies used to great success by private-sector restaurants and food producers.

The first step, cafeteria workers were told, is to stop thinking of lunchtime as a break from academics, but a crucial part of a child's school day.

"Your job is not to serve kids food. Your job is motivate kids to be adventurous and healthy eaters," said Barb Mechura, head of nutrition services at schools in Hopkins, Minn.

Her school district recruited parent volunteers to be elementary-school "food coaches," touring cafeterias and handing out samples of fruits and vegetables. The food coaches would also demonstrate eating them. Food coaching may seem silly, but kids who have had chicken only as nuggets or patties may not know how to eat bone-in chicken and need to see how a grown-up eats it before trying it themselves.

As the kids graduate to middle and high schools, and grown-ups in the cafeteria aren't as welcome, schools can tap student ambassadors to be food coaches, perhaps asking the baseball team or a popular student athlete dish out veggies. Or, high school seniors might give underclassmen samples of a new vegetable coming to the cafeteria.

School cafeterias also are using cutting-edge market research. They're filming what kids eat, test-marketing new products before they go on the line and doing menu surveys to find out exactly what students think about a dish's taste, appearance and temperature.

A Colorado State University professor studied the dining habits of kids in Loveland, Colo., with an eye toward measuring ways to get them to choose healthier foods. Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, who photographed "before" and "after" pictures of kids' lunch trays, found that kids eat more fruits and vegetables if they have lunch after recess, instead of before recess. She found that corn consumption went up when generic "corn" labels were replaced with colorful cards describing the vegetable as "mellow yellow corn."

"Don't put veggies in opaque containers or give them boring labels like `corn,'" Cunningham-Sabo told the lunch workers, showing diagrams of how to lay out a service line to encourage trips to the salad bar.

Another trick — just like supermarkets place impulse buys like candy and chewing gum by the checkout, lunch lines should place easy-to-grab fruits and veggies by their own cash registers. Her study saw cafeterias double their sales of fresh fruit when they placed it colorful bowls in a convenient place.

"You really have to be in their face with what's available," Cunningham-Sabo said.

The marketing doesn't stop at the cafeteria doors. Lassen View Elementary School in Redding, Calif., got children to eat more fruits and vegetables when cafeteria manager Kathie Sardeson started a recess snack cart bringing the foods straight to the playground for kids to munch on.

Her school also bought an iPad 2 to raffle away to students who entered by choosing a healthy breakfast yogurt parfait and turning in tickets attached to the bottom. She tempted kids to try unusual flavors by giving out "Fear Factor Smoothies" including unexpected ingredients such as spinach. Sardeson said schools can be persuaded to invest more in nutrition promotions because the payoff is better students.

"We get a lot of feedback from teachers that behavior problems are way down because the kids are eating right," Sardeson said.

Educators are coming around to recognizing value in having better school food, Mechura told the cafeteria workers.

"Food is one of the most important influences on your everyday brain cells," Mechura said. Healthy eating habits, she argued, is as important as everything else schools are trying to teach.

"We have to change," Mechura said. "We have to build an environment that creates excitement about what we are doing rather than fear of new foods."
Follow Kristen Wyatt at

Friday, August 24, 2012

Quick-thinking Joyce helps save woman's life

Veteran umpire performed CPR on non-responsive D-backs employee

By Steve Gilbert/|08/21/12 9:55 PM ET

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Should Lack Of Exercise Be Considered A Medical Condition?

by Eliza Barclay, National Public Radio
August 16, 2012

"You've got a bad case of deconditioning," the doctor says.

Actually, it would be the rare doctor who would say that to anyone. And though it might sound like something to do with hair, in fact, deconditioning is a familiar and more profound problem: the decidedly unnatural state of being physically inactive.

At some point in the last few decades, the human race went from being a species that is active most of the time to one that is increasingly sedentary. The Lancet recently called it an "inactivity pandemic," responsible for 1 in 10 deaths worldwide. That's a major shift, and a major public health problem, many researchers have pointed out. Inactivity is linked to heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

Now Michael Joyner, a physiologist at the Mayo Clinic, argues in a commentary out this month in the Journal of Physiology that one way to deal with the problem is to make physical inactivity a mainstream medical diagnosis. It's one of the most common preventable causes of illness and death, and Joyner writes, there is "one universally effective treatment for it — exercise training."

Shots called up Joyner to get him to elaborate a little more on just why doctors need to get more involved with this problem.

"The entire medical research industrial complex is oriented towards inactivity," he tells us. Insurance companies will reimburse patients for pills for diseases related to inactivity, but rarely for gym memberships. "Physicians really need to start defining the physically active state as normal," he says.

Joyner says that he thinks about 30 percent of the responsibility to fight inactivity should fall on the medical community. "Physicians need to interact with patients about being active, and they need to write prescriptions for exercise," he says.

He points to two of the greatest public health triumphs of the 20th century — improvements in traffic safety and the decline in smoking rates — as models for how we should tackle the inactivity epidemic. About one-third of the behavior change came from individuals who started using seat belts and car seats, and those who quit smoking, and doctors directly influenced that, he says. The rest was up to the public health community — to enact indoor smoking bans and harsh drunken driving laws — that helped support the right behavior.

For inactivity, doctors can push patients to get exercise, and cities and towns can make it easier for them to do it, he says, with more bike lanes and parks that can be an alternative to the gym.

Joyner says he increasingly sees two types of patients in his clinic: the ones who follow health guidelines and keep active; and those whose don't and see no connection between their behavior and their health outcomes.

"We have to be more innovative and creative to figure out how to help the people who aren't empowered to exercise for their health," he says.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First-of-its-Kind Food Access Summit in Minnesota This Week

John Michaelson, Public News Service-MN

(08/20/12) DULUTH, Minn. - With food shelf use in the state at a record high, Minnesota is stepping up its efforts to increase access to healthy food for the poor. A first-of-its-kind Food Access Summit will be held this week (August 21-23) in Duluth, bringing together local food activists, direct service providers, the public health community, and others involved with food and nutrition.

Christine Pulver, basic needs program director with Keystone Community Services, says there is a segment of Minnesotans who are hungry for the long term.

"But at the other end we're also seeing new people come into these programs who have never needed help before in their lives. And those are the families that are most difficult to serve, because there's a lot of pride that's getting in the way of using the services they need."
One issue of focus at the summit will be getting more senior citizens to access food programs. It's estimated that less than half of those eligible for SNAP benefits - what used to be known as food stamps - are enrolled, and Pulver says seniors can be a group that's hard to reach.

"The response that I've had from a number of seniors is they don't want to utilize the program because they want that to go to families with young children. And you want to say, 'Here you've come to a time when you yourself need it. Why not access it?'"

Pulver says another current challenge is making sure young people who are struggling with finances and finding shelter are getting nutritious meals.

"We're seeing an increase in the number of homeless youth. And those kids need a more welcoming environment when they're served in nutrition programs. They need food that's easy to prepare, and access to other services, because they're quite an at-risk population."
Pulver says that often, as things get better for those who just need help short term, they turn around and become donors themselves to various food programs. Currently, 500,000 Minnesotans access SNAP benefits monthly.
More information is at .

Click here to view this story on the Public News Service RSS site and access an audio version of this and other stories:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New federal rules require student take fruits and veggies starting this fall

by Tim Post, Minnesota Public Radio
August 9, 2012
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota students heading back to school in a few weeks are going to notice something different about their lunches.

To meet new federal guidelines, schools across the country are required to serve up healthier lunch-time fare. That means smaller portions of meat and protein, fewer calories and a new requirement that forces students to take more fruits and vegetables.

The stricter school lunch guidelines set forth by the government have led lunch directors like Jean Ronnei of the St. Paul School District to test new lunch tray figurations.

Ronnei, the district's director of nutrition, has spent the summer poring over recipes with her staff of dieticians.

"Fewer grains, controlled portions of meat, meat alternative, less sodium, no trans fats," she said of the new menu.

Given such changes, it's a sure bet that the first thing students are going to notice this fall is what's not on their plates.

The new U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines limit student lunches to 650 calories for younger students, and 850 for those in high school.

That means smaller burgers and buns, and students can forget about topping that burger off with cheese.
Another change: lunch line workers will no longer be able to toss more bread or extra rice on students' plates to fill them up.

The new lunch is healthier, but cafeteria workers are already bracing for the inevitable calls from parents who will say their children are hungry because they're not getting enough meat and protein.

So what's the option for famished students? Simple: go crazy on fruits and vegetables.

Ronnei said students can eat as many fruits and vegetables as they want.

"Students that come through are going to need to fill up on fruits and vegetables because some of those other items they're used to eating just won't be there," she said.

The new federal rules go beyond encouraging students to choose healthy fruits and vegetables. They require them. That makes for half a cup of fruits and vegetables a day for elementary school students, three quarters of a cup for students in grades six through eight and a full cup for high school students.

Schools that plop fruits and veggies on trays will receive a new six-cent per meal reimbursement from the government. Whether students eat it, however, doesn't matter.

Among the students who may go for more fruits and veggies are seven-year old Aubrey Ross and nine-year old Kendall Ross, who attend Chelsea Heights Elementary in St. Paul. They love vegetables.

But the lunchroom insiders know what's going to happen this fall: kids who don't want to eat their veggies won't, regardless of the requirement.

"You should at least eat one or two pieces," Kendall said.

Among school officials, wasted food is one of the top concerns over the new federal lunch requirements.

That's in part because schools across the country have raised their lunch prices in recent years in anticipation of the new rules. Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those bought locally, cost more than the canned fruit cocktail that used to pass muster.

The Minnesota Department of Education has been working with schools all summer on the best way to convince students to eat the fruits and veggies they must take on their trays. They settled on a strategy of offering a wide variety.

"This year we'll be figuring out which menus work, which foods the kids like," said Debra Lukkonen, supervisor of school nutrition programs for the state Department of Education. "Let's push through this together and by May you'll have a really good menu."

Lukkonen is telling school officials that the first year of the new requirements might be tough. She suspects that that middle and high school students will protest the most over the new smaller bread and meat portions, and the forced vegetable and fruit servings.

But Lukkonen is confident that younger students, especially those just starting school, won't know lunchtime any other way and will grow into fruit and vegetable connoisseurs in coming years.

MPR News: 

Monday, August 13, 2012

School snack laws might be working

Updated: August 12, 2012 - 11:52 PM

Adolescents in states with strict laws regulating the sale of snacks and sugary drinks in public schools gained less weight over a three-year period than those living in states with no such laws, a new study has found.

The study, published Monday in Pediatrics, found a strong association between healthier weight and tough state laws regulating food in vending machines, snack bars and other venues that were not part of the regular school meal programs. Such snacks and drinks are known as competitive foods, because they compete with school lunches.

The conclusions are likely to further stoke the debate over what will help reduce U.S. obesity rates, which have been rising drastically since the 1980s. About a fifth of U.S. children are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Public health experts have urged local and state governments to remove competitive foods from schools. In recent years, states have started to pass laws that restrict their sale, either banning them or setting limits on the sugar, fat or calories they contain.

The study tracked weight changes for 6,300 students in 40 states between 2004 and 2007, following them from fifth to eighth grade. It then compared weight changes over time in states with no laws regulating such food against those in states with strong laws and those with weak laws.

Researchers used a legal database to analyze state laws. Strong laws were defined as those that set out detailed nutrition standards. Laws were weak if they merely offered recommendations about foods for sale, for example, saying they should be healthy but not providing specific guidelines.

The study stopped short of saying the stronger laws were directly responsible for the better outcomes. It concluded only that such outcomes tended to happen in states with stronger laws.

But the authors argued that the study offered evidence that local policies could be effective.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Olympics & MN - How to promote healthy lifestyles?

The Olympics provide ample examples for young people to engage in fun, healthy activities. Hopefully it will serve as an inspiration to all of us. For a generation now, we’ve dismissed the childhood obesity epidemic, blaming it on lazy kids and video games. Meanwhile, budgets and NCLB have some of our schools phasing out non-high profile sports, cutting physical education and limiting recess. Because of all the forces mentioned above, policymakers and health advocates must get involved.

What policies will promote healthy lifestyles that young people can carry into adulthood? Which Olympic events inspire you to live more healthfully?
Share your thoughts at this week's Tuesday Talk 

MN 2020 Hindsight Website

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

PEP Grants to 2 MN School Districts to Improve PE and Nutrition Ed

FY2012 Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant Recipients:  Including 2 MN school districts – a success story.

…Through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, or PEP, the U.S. Department of Education awards competitive grants to expand and improve phys. ed. and nutrition education programs for students of all ages.  In this round of funding, 25 states split $27 million. The winning programs must help students make progress toward passing their state standards for physical education and secondarily, must teach students about good nutrition and healthy eating habits. (edited from news clip published in Education Week.) “The PEP grant money can be spent on staff and teacher training, to buy equipment—though not entire playgrounds or other facilities, develop curricula, assess students' fitness, and to collect data and evaluate programs.” 

Here’s the link to the full article:

As you may recall, prior to enactment of the MN Healthy Kids legislation in 2010, MN school districts were ineligible for the federal PEP grant funds because our state lacked statewide PE standards. The 2010 legislation required MN school districts to adopt PE (NASPE) standards by the 2012-13 school year, thus opening the door for the districts to apply for PEP funding. The program specifically targets school districts that are having difficulty meeting state standards. Two MN school districts are among this year’s recipients:

Fridley Public School District 14
Warren-Alvarado-Oslo ISD 2176 – School District

Monday, August 6, 2012

News Release: Public-private partnership approves framework for a healthy Minnesota

August 2, 2012
Statewide assessment finds uneven health opportunities across Minnesota

The Healthy Minnesota Partnership on Monday approved Healthy Minnesota 2020, a framework for creating a Minnesota where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy.

The Healthy Minnesota Partnership is a broad statewide coalition of community leaders from business, government, academia, nonprofits, advocacy groups, providers, insurers and others. Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger convened the group in January of this year.

“It is our hope that this provides a framework for different groups to work together to make sure that every Minnesotan has the opportunity to be healthy,” said Donna Zimmerman, a member of the partnership, a member of the Itasca Project, and senior vice president of government and community relations at HealthPartners. “We are not only talking about health care or the medical system here but are talking about how we can achieve what we all want, which is to live in communities that help us lead healthy and fulfilling lives.”

In the development of the Healthy Minnesota 2020 framework, the partnership considered an extensive range of factors that contribute to health, including social, economic and environmental conditions, as well as individual and community factors. The framework is based on the results of a first-of-its-kind in Minnesota statewide health assessment conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health.

“Where we live, play, learn, and work has a huge impact on our health,” said Ehlinger. “Because of this, our goal is to improve the social, economic, and physical environments of our communities so that all Minnesotans have the opportunity to be healthy and reach their fullest potential.”

The framework notes that good health is the result of complex factors that go beyond any one sector or organization. The framework features wide-ranging strategies that provide ways for multiple sectors to collaborate to pursue the goal of statewide health improvement.

The major themes of the framework call for Minnesota to:
•Capitalize on the opportunity to influence health in early childhood.
•Ensure that the opportunity to be healthy is available everywhere for everyone.
•Strengthen communities to create their own healthy futures.

The implementation of Healthy Minnesota 2020 will be led by the Healthy Minnesota Partnership and the Minnesota Department of Health and representatives from diverse sectors and communities.

The partnership hopes that the framework will help change the conversation about health and energize the public, private and nonprofit sectors to work toward a more comprehensive approach focused on creating health.

To support the partnership’s effort, the Minnesota Department of Health produced the Health of Minnesota, a two-part assessment that provides a comprehensive look at the state of health in Minnesota.

The first part of the assessment discusses a wide array of factors affecting health in Minnesota, such as education, housing, economic vitality, transportation, and the environment. The second part reports data on a wide array of health outcomes including some related to cancer, heart disease, infectious disease, obesity, injuries and violence.

The assessment reflects a growing body of research indicating that health starts outside of the doctor’s office. In fact, only about 20 percent of health outcomes are influenced by clinical care. In reality, health is much more strongly influenced by physical and social environments – where people live, work and play. The assessment looks at health in this broader sense as a state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The statewide health assessment finds that Minnesota in many respects is one of the healthiest states in the country and a great place to live. However, the report also found that not all Minnesotans have the same chances to be healthy: those with less money, and populations of color and American Indians, consistently have less opportunity for health and experience worse health outcomes. The rapidly changing demographics of Minnesota and the increasing income inequities indicate that this issue will most likely get worse.

Here is a sampling of some of the other statewide public health trends the assessment found.
•Minnesota has some of the largest race- and ethnicity-based health disparities in the United States.
•Minnesota also has major inequities in the factors that create the opportunity to be healthy, including childhood poverty rates, per-capital income, employment, on-time high school graduation rates, and incarceration rates.
•Minnesota has one of the highest binge drinking rates in the country, although rates are declining among teens.
•Exposure to secondhand smoke at work in Minnesota has been cut in half since 2003.
•Safety belt use has considerably increased and traffic fatalities have accordingly decreased.
•Cancer is now the No. 1 cause of death in Minnesota, due to a dramatic decrease in deaths from heart disease.
•The state has seen a tenfold increase in tick borne diseases.

Online Resources
Healthy Minnesota Partnership
Healthy Minnesota 2020
Statewide Health Assessment


Scott Smith
MDH Communications Office

Jeanne Ayers
MDH Assistant Commissioner

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Many Faces Conference 2012

October 25-26, 2012
Online Registration Now Open!

New Logo, New Partner
We have redesigned the conference logo to fit with the evolving nature of the program and its focus.  We have also added a new partner, Greater Twin Cities United Way.

About the Conference
Many Faces of Community Health is a two day conference that explores ways to improve care for chronic illness and help underserved populations and those living in poverty achieve health equity. Our 2012 theme is Stepping Up to Transform Health Care

As policy reform heats up, Community Health Centers are "stepping up" to challenges and opportunities in the new environment of market innovation. CHCs and their partners are forging the best ideas and tools into new delivery models to promote health equity, to prevent chronic disease, and to assure access for the underserved - now and into the future. 

Conference Information and Content  All Online
In an effort to keep your conference costs as low as possible and to be more sustainable, we have moved all conference information and content online.  No conference brochure will be mailed out; instead you can view the current content and registration information online.  All updates to conference information will be posted online ensuring you will always have the most current information.

Conference Audience
The Many Faces Conference brings together a diverse group of over 300 individuals, including health care professionals and students, clinic management, payers, government and community organizations, public health, social services, policy makers, health activists and others.

CLICK HERE to visit the conference website to learn more and register today.

Sens. Franken, Lugar, Rockefeller Introduce Legislation to Extend Diabetes Prevention Program to Millions of Seniors on Medicare

Extending National Diabetes Prevention Program Could Save Billions of Dollars, Reduce Diabetes Incidence in Seniors by over 70 Percent
WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/31/12]—Today, U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation that would extend the National Diabetes Prevention Program – which has been proven to significantly reduce the incidence of diabetes among seniors – to all seniors covered by Medicare. Studies have shown that extending the program to Medicare patients could save the federal government billions of dollars per year.
"Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans struggle with diabetes, and even more are at risk of developing it, but for many people, this disease is very preventable," said Sen. Franken. "That's why I introduced this legislation, which would extend the proven Diabetes Prevention Program to millions of seniors all over the country. For adults at a high risk for diabetes who are over the age of 60, this program reduces the likelihood that they will get type 2 diabetes by over 70 percent. By extending this program, we can help seniors stay happier and healthier and, at the same time, save our taxpayers billions of dollars every year."
"We need to focus on common-sense health care policy approaches that save money while also improving Americans’ health outcomes," said Sen. Lugar. "The Diabetes Prevention Program achieves this aim by preventing the development of type 2 diabetes for many individuals at high risk for the disease. By offering disease prevention initiatives like the Diabetes Prevention Program to Medicare beneficiaries, we stand to reduce the prevalence of costly and life-threatening chronic disorders and save taxpayers money in the process."
"Diabetes is a national epidemic and a serious problem in West Virginia, affecting more than 1 in 10 adults in the state," said Sen. Rockefeller. "This bill will reduce diabetes by expanding a proven diabetes prevention program to seniors on Medicare.  It will improve the health of millions of seniors, and in many cases help them avoid diabetes altogether. It also reduces health costs nationwide since diabetes is one of the most burdensome diseases to our health care system. And it will create jobs to help build these diabetes prevention programs in communities throughout the country. This bill is a win-win, and I can’t overstate the importance of it and this program for our families and communities."
Also cosponsoring the legislation are Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). For more information on the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act, please click here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

'The Obesity Olympics': Marketing junk food to kids

Food Access Summit in Duluth

August 21st - August 23rd
Duluth Entertainment Convention Center

The Food Access Summit is focused on increasing access to healthy food for low-income Minnesotans, learning about the health and economic benefits of a healthy food system, and increasing the dialouge between the public health, anti-hunger, and food production and distribution communities in Minnesota.  

How can we work together to increase access to healthy food for low-income Minnesotans? What are the health and economic benefits of a healthy food system?

This statewide summit will provide information and action-oriented ideas on how food policy, food systems and food literacy impact low-income Minnesotans. Participants will learn about barriers to healthy food for low-income Minnesotans and share perspectives from a variety of sectors.

Who should attend?

• Food shelves, food banks, meal programs, state & federal nutrition programs (SNAP, SNAP-Ed, TEFAP, WIC, and school meal programs)

• Policymakers, state & county public health, State Health Improvement Program and Community Transformation Grantees

• Food policy councils, farmers markets, grocery retailers, farmers, distributers, and anyone working to increase access to healthy food for low-income Minnesotans

More information at or call 1-800-782-6372

More information here.