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Minnesota Public Health Association

Since 1907, MPHA has been dedicated to creating a healthier Minnesota through effective public health practice and engaged citizens. 

2022 to 2023 Policy Forum Series:

Safety is no accident: Public health approaches to injury prevention

We are pleased to announce that we will be back to in-person forums at the New Brighton Community Center!  Additionally, all forums will be broadcast on Facebook Live. To view the live stream, click here.

Check-in and a light breakfast begin at 7:30am. Forums begin promptly at 8:00 am and conclude at 9:30am.

Our four forums will bring together thought-leaders and public health advocates working to address safety issues that surround us.  Click here to view the 2022-2023 series flyer 

Register for January 20!

Agenda for January 20!

Sponsorship opportunities!


January 20, 2023…at Work

Workplace and worker safety are growing concerns. Panelists at this forum will examine safety measures and training programs designed to keep where we work and who we work with safe.


Moderator: Annie Halland, MPH

Annie Halland, MPH, is UCare’s County, Tribal, and Public Health Manager and the past Policy & Advocacy Committee Co-Chair for MPHA. Throughout her 18-year career in public health, Halland has supported and advocated for individuals living in the margins – the homeless, people dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, and UCare’s Minnesota Health Care Program members. Halland co-chaired the MPHA Policy and Advocacy Committee for many years starting in 2012. She co-led committee activities including gathering input from MPHA members on key public health policy issues, developing an annual policy agenda, preparing materials to inform MPHA members about key public health policy issues, coordinating with other organizations to promote policy, and reviewing MPHA and APHA policy resolutions.



Panelist: Robert Servian

Robert Servian works for MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) as a Safety Consultant Principal.

OSHA Workplace Safety works with employers and employees to solve safety and health problems before they occur. It offers free on-site consultation service s, upon request, to help employers improve their safety and health record and lower accident costs. MNOSHA WSC consultants help employers recognize hazards, make recommendations for solving problems and suggest other sources of help that are available.

Robert consults mostly around construction safety and provides safety training for the construction employees often in both English and Spanish.




Panelist: Peter C. Raynor, PhD, FAIHA

Dr. Peter C. Raynor, a Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at

the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, holds a B.S. in Chemical

Engineering from Cornell University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental

Sciences & Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His

research and teaching interests revolve around the assessment and control of

environmental exposures, especially exposures to airborne particles occurring in

workplace environments. He has both long-running and new research projects related

to the measurement and management of airborne viruses. Dr. Raynor directs the

University of Minnesota Industrial Hygiene academic program and serves as Principal

Investigator for the Midwest Consortium for Hazardous Waste Worker Training. He is a

Fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.


Panelist: Jeff Bender DVM, MS DACVPM

Dr. Jeff Bender is a Professor in the School of Public Health and an adjunct professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine. He is currently the Director for the NIOSH funded Upper Midwest Agriculture Safety and Health Center (UMASH), a Center focused on improving the health of agriculture workers and their families. His primary teaching and research interests include infection prevention, disease surveillance, emerging zoonotic diseases, occupational safety, food safety and antimicrobial resistance.

Jeff’s career has spanned a 30-year period first as a practicing veterinarian in Wisconsin and Minnesota. After obtaining a Master’s degree in epidemiology, he worked for the Minnesota Department of Health in the Acute Disease Epidemiology Unit focusing on zoonotic and foodborne outbreak investigations. He worked with the MDH surveillance team to implement routine PFGE surveillance of foodborne pathogens documenting the utility of combined epidemiologic and laboratory molecular methods. When Dr. Bender moved to the University of Minnesota, he continued his close collaboration with Industry, State and Federal Agencies. This included human-animal interface studies through the Centers for Excellence Influenza Research and Surveillance and CDC funded Influenza Cooperative agreements studying viral transmission between poultry, pigs, and humans. In addition, he served as the Director for the USAID funded One Health Workforce Project, a workforce development program focused on preventing, detecting, and responding to emerging pandemic threats. During this time, he has had the privilege to work with a number of exceptional students, residents, and faculty.


March 24, 2023…in our Communities & Schools

Are our community spaces becoming more violent? Is anywhere safe? This forum will examine the initiatives that have emerged to change the narrative about community safety and the community environments where we live, learn, work and play.

Moderator and panelists to be announced.

May 12, 2023…on the Move

Minnesotans are always on the move – in cars, on motorcycles, on bikes, using public transportation, and on the water, too. From road safety to water safety, how are public health initiatives working to keep us safe while we are on the go?

Moderator and panelists to be announced.


Past 2022-2023 MPHA "Public Health Matters" Policy Forums

October 28, 2022…at Home

October 28th Recording

October 28th Agenda

Our homes are havens but keeping them that way is no accident. Our panelists will explore the world of policymaking, safety codes, and more to making living in our homes safe.


Moderator: Kenneth Bence, MHA, MBA, Past MPHA President 

Kenneth Bence is the Director of Research, Analysis and Policy for the Association of Residential Resources in Minnesota (ARRM), a non-profit association of nearly 200 providers, businesses and advocates dedicated to leading the advancement of home and community-based services supporting people living with disabilities. In this role, he is responsible for creating and maintaining data systems that support ARRM’s legislative agenda and advocacy efforts on behalf of its members. With over 30 years of experience in healthcare and related sectors, he has worked with managed care organizations, state and local public health departments, coalitions, community health improvement partnerships, and non-profit foundations. He has served on several Boards of Directors for non-profit organizations, and is a past president of the Minnesota Public Health Association. Finally, with over 20 years as a paid-on-call firefighter and current Battalion Chief with the Golden Valley Fire Department, he brings a unique public safety perspective to his work.

Panelist: Lisa Smestad

Lisa Smestad has worked for the Minneapolis Health Department for over 25 years and is currently the manager of the Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes unit. She has run multiple Federal grants for lead hazards, healthy homes and asthma and participated in several research projects on asthma.



Panelist: Dawn Simonson

Dawn Simonson has more than 20 years of experience in the field of aging, healthcare and advocacy, Dawn is recognized for her leadership as an innovator and collaborator. She is the current chair of the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging and is past president of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, currently serving on their Mission Forward Committee. Dawn has a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. She was named one of the 100 most influential healthcare leaders in 2020 by Minnesota Physician magazine.


Panelist: Amanda Swenson

Amanda Swenson has been a part of the Minnesota fire service for the past 13 years as both a volunteer firefighter and in her current role as Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal. She is dedicated to prevention and safety education to keep Minnesotans safer from fire. She has a master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota. When not at work, she enjoys life on the farm with her husband and two Dalmatians.


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