• February 06, 2013 8:10 AM | Anonymous

    Read the report here.

  • January 29, 2013 7:40 PM | Anonymous

    Notes from MPHA Forum: “Teens and Sexuality--- What’s New Beyond the Birds and the Bees?”

    January 25, 2013

    Forum Panelists:

    ·      Andrés Alvarez and Kadeeja Rivers, Planned Parenthood Teen Council

    ·      Nina Jonson, My Health for Teens and Young Adults

    ·      Judith Kahn, Executive Director of Teenwise Minnesota


    ·      Ken Bence

    Opening Statements/Introductions:

    Judith Kahn:

    ·      All young people have a set of fundamental needs

    ·      Protective factors/ assets provide opportunities for healthy decision making

    Nina Johnson:

    ·      My Health for Teens and Young Adults (formerly West Suburban Teen Clinic) provides important medical/clinic services for teens, also provides education to the community on sexuality

    ·      Teens need to learn more than just the mechanics of sex and how to have safe sex, but need to know what a healthy relationship looks like

    ·      Many teens do not have role models in their lives who demonstrate what healthy relationships look like

    ·      “Beyond the Birds and the Bees” is really, how do the birds and the bees live together in harmony?

    Kadeeja Rivers:

    ·      Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council meets on Monday nights; is a peer group where they learn about reproductive health topics

    ·      It’s really important for teens to know both the medical and emotional aspects of sex

    Andrés Alvarez:

    ·      It’s fun learning about reproductive health with the Teen Council

    Question (to Kadeeja and Andrés): “How do you communicate with your peers about sex?”

    Andrés Alvarez:

    ·      We work with health teachers, also correct misinformation we hear from other teens

    Kadeeja Rivers:

    ·      We do classroom presentations, but teens often approach us after class with questions

    ·      Birth control is usually the most common topic

    Question (to Nina and Judith):  How do you bring up topics of sex in your work?

    Nina Jonson:

    ·      Our clinic provides a lot of reproductive health clinic services, and we always do a very comprehensive medical history including reproductive health history

    ·      Bringing up reproductive health is central to our work

    ·      We try to use humor as a balance to reach youth and communities; there is a balance between using humor but also discussing a very serious topic

    Judith Kahn:

    ·      We help parents first understand their own values

    ·      Try to help parents understand that they should be having an ongoing conversation with their child about sex, and not just “the talk”

    Question (to Kadeeja and Andrés):  How do you go about bringing up issues around sex in the high school setting?

    Kadeeja Rivers: 

    ·      No one really seems to talk to their parents about sex, because their parents don’t want to talk to their kids about it.

    ·      Parents don’t think their own kids are having sex, even though they know the statistics.

    Question (to Andrés):  How do you open the conversation with teen guys?

    Andrés Alvarez:

    ·      My guy friends have pretty open conversations with their parents

    ·      Parents should bring up the topic of sex at a younger age, because if they do teens are more likely to have this conversation with their parents later

    Question (to all):  In your work and experience, how are we working to address health disparities? 

    Nina Jonson:

    ·      A lot of work is being done to improve healthcare for the GLBT populations

    o   This is really a positive change; it’s on the radar that there are a lot of disparities facing GLBT youth and adults

    o   A young person knows right away if a place is friendly and somewhere they want to be

    Judith Kahn:

    ·      Statewide, we see higher rates of STIs and pregnancies where there are fewer resources; it’s important to remember geographic disparities

    ·      Also, Teenwise recognizes the disparities of youth in foster care systems, who are twice as likely to be pregnant, and the needs of youth in correctional facilities

    ·      Really, it is important to target under-resourced communities

    Kadeeja Rivers:

    ·      We need to teach comprehensive sex ed in the schools; what I learned about sex was through Planned Parenthood, not through my school

    ·      Repeat visits in classrooms are really important; if the work with Teen Council was more continuous with the same students, we would have a greater impact on the youth because they would feel more comfortable opening up and asking questions with time

    Question (to all):  Can you speak to working with youth who are experiencing high risk stressors (i.e. homelessness, concerns for GLBT youth, etc.)?

    Nina Jonson:

    ·      It is important to know that there are homeless young people in every community, even in the suburbs

    ·      Every year, there are fewer resources available to help youth who are homeless or highly mobile

    Judith Kahn:

    ·      Rural communities are often a “resource desert”

    ·      Rural youth facing these types of stressors often will find their way to the Twin Cities thinking it will be easier for them;  many end up homeless

    ·      Pressure to end up depending on survival sex is very common for homeless youth

    Question (to Kadeeja and Andrés):  How much of an issue is homelessness at your school [Mpls South]?

    Kadeeja Rivers: 

    ·      Yes, homelessness is a problem at South, but as a student, it’s hard to see sometimes

    ·      Cost is a really big issue for most youth because they don’t have much money; it’s really important for teens to know about low cost/ free birth control options available to them

    ·      Sometimes teens will “risk it” and not use protection because they don’t have money and don’t know they can get free/ low cost birth control

    ·      I always try to teach about free/low cost birth control every time I teach, because it’s really important for teens to know they can access these resources and get birth control

    Question (to all):  How does social media play into this question of healthy relationships? 

    Andrés Alvarez:

    ·      Regarding relationships, there is definitely not the same type of connection you have on social media vs. face-to-face

    Kadeeja Rivers:

    ·      Electronic communication makes it much easier to have unhealthy relationships

    ·      It is much easier to be mean on the computer or via text

    ·      Teens often use the term “fake relationships”

    o   Girls often want a boyfriend to make their relationship “facebook official”

    Nina Jonson:

    ·      When I work with teens, I try to help them put social media in the context of real life

    o   I will work with youth to consider privacy issues and social media (i.e. if they wouldn’t shout their facebook status to all of the Mall of America, they probably shouldn’t post it on facebook)

    ·      Our Youth Advisory Board describes how comments on You Tube are a great example of just who cruel people can be when they are on a keyboard vs. face-to-face communication

    Judith Kahn:

    ·      Social media affects not just sexual relationships for youth, but also peer-to-peer relationships

    ·      Interpersonal communication skills are needed for our youth, because they need these skills to negotiate and express what they need in the real world; they need the opportunity to practice these face-to-face skills

    Question (to all):  In your work, how do you take into account the wide range of opinions/beliefs on the somewhat controversial topic of teens and sex?

    Nina Jonson:

    ·      Early in my work I had a great supervisor who helped me learn how to deal with “angry parent” calls

    o   Always have to find a place where you can agree with the parent; usually, this is something like, “We both want healthy and safe kids”

    Judith Kahn:

    ·      I have found training in mediation has been very helpful

    o   When talking to those who disagree with your work (parents, policy makers, etc.), you really have to listen and try to hear their underlying interest

    Question (to Kadeeja and Andrés):  Do you get pushback with your work with Teen Council?

    Andrés Alvarez:

    ·      Example: a kid in a classroom I was talking to kept asking questions over and over about Planned Parenthood; finally, he asked something specific about abortion and Planned Parenthood

    o   This kids question had nothing to do with the topic, which was pregnancy control, but rather expressing negative beliefs he had been taught about Planned Parenthood

    Kadeeja Rivers:

    ·      It doesn’t really bother me when people have a problem with what we do, because I believe in what we do and know it’s really important

    Question (to all):  How can MPHA advocate for the topic of healthy teens and sexuality?

    Andrés Alvarez:

    ·      Really, you have to get people comfortable talking about sex with youth

    Kadeeja Rivers:

    ·      It’s really important to talk to teens about the resources available to them and what a healthy relationship looks like

    ·      Also important to correct myths right away

    Nina Jonson:

    ·      We need to advocate for resources for our youth

    ·      Even in the unfavorable situation where comprehensive sex ed may not available to our youth in the schools, we can still advocate for other programs and services in youth development that serve as protective factors for youth; this will also help them make them healthier decisions about sex down the road

    Judith Kahn:

    ·      Strive to be an “askable” adult

    o   Engage youth in conversation

    Nina Jonson:

    ·      Also, it’s OK for adults to admit they don’t know the answer to a question

    Judith Kahn:

    ·      It’s important to know that there are tons of resources available to teens and parents (i.e. Teenwise, Planned Parenthood, the U of M, etc.)

    Statement by Ken Bence, Moderator: 

    ·      Also, funding is a very important issue, and it’s important for MPHA to follow the developments of the Governor’s Budget and advocate for important health funding

    Summary of Key Points by Ken Bence, Moderator:

    ·      Have to know basic needs of teens

    ·      Need to be supportive and help teens understand what is a “healthy relationship”

    ·      Youth need to feel safe

    ·      Cost is a very important issue for youth, important to remember this when dealing with teens and birth control

    ·      The topic of pornography did not come up in this short time, but several audience members had questions about this

    ·      Also, social media and electronic communications are a very important issue for today’s youth; as public health professionals, how can we help youth with this?

    Please save the date for the next Forum:  

    March 29th, 2013 -- Teens and addictive behaviors: What are our teens getting into?

    Time:  7:30-9:00am.  

    Location TBA

    Panelists and participants will discuss issues related to addictive behaviors among teens from tanning to texting to tobacco and some “T’s” in-between. Discussion topics will include tanning (in the sun, tanning booths and spraying), alcohol use, prescription and OTC drug abuse, the rise of designer drugs and the new ways that smoking and tobacco products are present among teen cultures.


  • January 17, 2013 10:08 AM | Anonymous

    Framing the Future: The Second Hundred Years of Public Health Education Roundtable

    The University of Minnesota School of Public Health invites MPHA members to attend this roundtable and join the discussion on how public health education in the future will affect the community and profession. Donna Petersen, dean, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, will provide keynote remarks and join the panel discussion immediately following her speech. The other panelists are:

    • Jeanne Ayers, assistant commissioner, Minnesota Department of Health
    • Andrew Nelson, executive director, HealthPartners Research Foundation
    • Stella Whitney-West, CEO, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center
    • Dan Zismer, associate professor and director of the Master in Healthcare Administration Program, School of Public Health

    Friday, Feb. 1, 9-11:30 a.m.
    Coffman Memorial Union Theater

    Learn more and register here.


  • December 21, 2012 2:53 PM | Anonymous

    Minnesota Scored Five out of Ten on Key Indicators in Report on Health Emergency Preparedness


    Majority of States Score 6 or Lower Out of 10 Indicators in Ready or Not?


    Washington, D.C., December 19, 2012 - In the 10th annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, Minnesota scored 5 out of 10 on key indicators of public health preparedness -- 35 states and Washington, D.C. scored a six or lower.



  • December 17, 2012 10:08 AM | Anonymous
    Read the article here which includes a link to the Roadmap to a Healthier Minnesota report.
  • December 06, 2012 4:39 PM | Anonymous

    Since the states settled their lawsuits against the tobacco companies in November 1998, our organizations have issued annual reports assessing whether the states are keeping their promise to use a significant portion of their settlement funds–expected to total $246 billion over the first 25 years–to attack the enormous public health problems posed by tobacco use in the United States.


    In addition to the billions of dollars they receive each year from the tobacco settlement, the states collect billions more in tobacco taxes. In the current budget year, Fiscal Year 2013, the states will collect a record $25.7 billion in revenue from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes. This year, our report finds that states continue to spend only a miniscule portion of their tobacco revenues to fight tobacco use. The states have also failed to reverse deep cuts to tobacco prevention and cessation programs that have undermined the nation’s efforts to reduce tobacco use.


    Overall conclusions of this year’s report include:

    • In Fiscal Year 2013, the states will collect $25.7 billion in revenue from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 1.8 percent of it–$459.5 million–on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. This means the states are spending less than two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.
    • States have failed to reverse deep cuts in tobacco prevention funding that totaled 36 percent, or $260.5 million, from FY 2008 to FY 2012. The $459.5 million the states have allocated this year represents essentially flat funding compared to the $456.7 budgeted in FY 2012. It is still far below the $717.2 million spent in fiscal 2008 and the second lowest amount states have spent on tobacco prevention programs since 1999, when they first received tobacco settlement funds.
    • States are falling woefully short of recommended funding levels for tobacco prevention programs set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The $459.5 million the states have budgeted amounts to just 12.4 percent of the $3.7 billion the CDC recommends for all the states combined. It would take less than 15 percent of total state tobacco revenues to fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended amounts in every state.

    Read the report

  • November 20, 2012 4:33 PM | Anonymous
    In the report, released last week by the California Endowment, de Beaumont Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, an IOM committee outlines a new, recommended framework for assessing the value of public health programs.
  • November 11, 2012 7:13 PM | Anonymous
    We want to thank our panelists: Gloria Ferguson, Health Start School-Based Clinics, Mary Sue Hansen, Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative, and Megan Schnobrich, Boynton Health Service, University of Minnesota.

    Check out a few photos of the event on our Facebook page and read the notes if you were unable to show up. 

    Also, don't forget to mark your calendars (registration soon) for our next forum in the Teenage Experience series on January 25, 2013:

    Teens and Sexuality -- What’s new beyond the birds and the bees?

    Panelists and forum participants will focus their discussion on the topic of teenage sexuality. Topics will include encouraging healthy social relationships, the role of social media as a contact point for exploitation, the controversies surrounding the HPV vaccine, and the rise of sexually transmitted diseases among teens.

    More info on upcoming forums on our Forums page.
  • October 22, 2012 3:31 PM | Anonymous

    The MPHA October 2012 newsletter has been published and posted here.


    MPHA October 2012 Newsletter.pdf

  • October 07, 2012 5:20 PM | Anonymous
    Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger presented awards Wednesday to honor individuals and one group for their significant community service and public health accomplishments. Awardees were selected by their peers and received their awards at the 2012 Community Health Conference before about 370 attendees and a number of past Minnesota commissioners of health.

    The annual Community Health Awards recognize and acknowledge individuals or groups who make significant contributions to public health in Minnesota. Recognition of these accomplishments by elected officials and local and state public health staff is a long standing and honorable tradition of the annual Community Health Conference. Recipients of the awards are nominated by their peers. Nominations are received for review and selection by the Nominating and Awards Workgroup of the State Community Health Services Advisory Committee (SCHSAC). Awards are presented by the Commissioner of Health at the conference during an awards ceremony. For more information on the Community Health Awards, please visit:

    "I am consistently impressed by the passion and dedication of Minnesota's public health professionals, elected officials and volunteers who work to promote health in Minnesota. No matter what challenges they face, they always put the health of Minnesotans first," Ehlinger said.

    The following were honored at the 2012 Community Health Awards Ceremony October 3.

    2012 Award for Outstanding Dedication to Local Public Health
    Pope County Commissioner Larry Kittelson was honored for his dedication to and advocacy on behalf of local public health. Commissioner Kittelson understands the foundational importance of health for a thriving community, and has been active in a diverse range of public health related committees and governing boards, including those addressing interagency early intervention, family service collaboration, environmental health, adult mental health, county-based purchasing, and the nurse-family partnership.

    2012 Jack Korlath Partnership Award
    Kim Edelman and Ann Kinney, both of the Minnesota Department of Health's Minnesota Center for Health Statistic, are a well-known team, and offer their skills freely at the state and local level to ensure that others have and understand the data they need, and how to best use that data. In addition to providing technical assistance to local public health and other state employees, Kinney and Edelman also facilitate regional data discussion groups on a regular basis, and strive to ensure that data is approachable, rather than intimidating, for users.

    2012 Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities
    Wilhelmina Holder, executive director of the Women's Initiative for Self-Empowerment (WISE), is a founding member of the African and American Friendship Association for Cooperation and Development, which aims to improve cultural and linguistically-appropriate health care services by integrating foreign-trained health professionals in the U.S. workforce. Out of this organization was born the University of Minnesota's Preparation for Residence Program, which trains foreign-born physicians in U.S. medical care and eventually prepares them for licensure. Lou Fuller's daughter, Suzanne Burke of Atlanta, GA, was also present in recognition of this award.

    2012 Commissioner's Award for Distinguished Service in Community Health Services
    Sue Zuidema, formerly of Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department (HSPHD) became director of HSPHD in 1983, and has provided a great deal of leadership and aid to programs to benefit the health of Hennepin County residents, including development of suburban maternal and child health clinics, regulation of the Hennepin County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system, surveillance and investigation of disease and outbreaks, and expansion of environmental health services. Zuidema also pioneered a number of public health programs, including immunization registries to keep parents up to date with childhood immunizations, an "assured care program" to help residents find sliding-fee clinics, the Ryan White Care Act to ensure that residents with HIV/AIDS have access to needed services, and a project to provide needed public health services to those in emergency shelters or drop-in centers.

    2012 Jim Parker Leadership Award
    Bonnie Engen, director of the Clearwater County Nursing Service and current administrator of the North Country Community Health Board. Engen serves on a number of task forces and committees, and mentors staff and colleagues throughout the region. Engen played an instrumental role in developing the Statewide Health Improvement Plan for her seven-county project, and has notably increased collaboration across local health departments and community health boards. She is known for her dedication to vision, cooperation, and innovation in her leadership and her everyday practice of public health.

    Certificate of Recognition
    Gloria Tobias of Countryside Public Health, was honored for her work in disease prevention and emergency preparedness. Tobias frequently leads the region's immunization committees and activities, and is a valued part of regional emergency preparedness activities. She is also effective and creative in partnering with the community to further the work of public health.

    Ann DeLa Vergne, formerly of Washington County Public Health and Environment, was honored for her commitment to healthy food for the community. DeLa Vergne's work has supported a number of healthy foods initiatives. The Fresh Green Bucks program, which currently runs in three Washington County grocery stores, allows shoppers to purchase coupons that translate to fresh fruit and vegetables for local food shelves. The volunteer-run Our Community Kitchen serves healthy breakfasts two days per week, regardless of ability to pay, and uses locally grown and produced foods. DeLa Vergne also helped support the establishment of six community gardens in and around Washington and Ramsey Counties, two of which are located in mobile home parks.

    Henry Street Consortium, a collaboration of schools of nursing, local health departments, and the Minnesota Department of Health over the past decade has developed tools and resources that enrich student experience while also helping local health departments meet community health improvement goals. Last year, the Consortium published the Henry Street Model for Nurses, a clinical manual for population-based public health nursing, which is being used in nursing schools in Minnesota and beyond.

    Awards were presented to: Ann DeLa Vergne (formerly of Washington County Public Health and Environment), Kim Edelman (Minnesota Department of Health), Bonnie Engen (Clearwater County Nursing Service and North Country Community Health Board), the Henry Street Consortium, Wilhelmina Holder (Women's Initiative for Self-Empowerment), Ann Kinney (Minnesota Department of Health), Larry Kittelson (Pope County Commissioner), Gloria Tobias (Countryside Public Health), and Sue Zuidema (formerly of Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health).

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