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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

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