MPHA Annual Conference and Meeting

MAY 17-18, 2018

River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Registration Open through May 9th!

The MPHA annual meeting gathers public health professionals from around the state to exchange information and create a healthier Minnesota through effective public health practice and engaged citizens.  This year’s theme will be “From Vision to Action: How Minnesota is Creating an Equitable Culture of Health”.  Building on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health framework, the planning committee is developing a program that emphasizes the need to:

  •      Make Health a Shared Value
  •      Foster Cross Sector Collaboration
  •      Create Healthy, More Equitable Communities
  •      Strengthen Integration of Health Services and Health Systems

A critical aspect of a Culture of Health is health equity, which is achieved when every person has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.  The MPHA 2018 conference will highlight national work on this topic, including a keynote by the President of the American Public Health Association, and examine how communities across Minnesota are addressing structural inequities in health services, income, environmental, and social realms.  Attendees will learn about research-based solutions that are shifting community values so seeking to be healthy is a part of everything we do... so much so that we don’t even think about it.

View the 2018 Save the Date Flyer - and share with your networks!

This conference made possible by our generous 2018 Sponsors.


Upon conclusion of the conference, attendees will be able to:

  1. Share best practices and applied research in Minnesota and at the national level in creating a culture of health in our communities with a focus on health equity. 
  2. Examine how communities across Minnesota are addressing structural inequities in the factors that affect health, including health care services, structural racism, income, and social conditions realms. 
  3. Discuss actionable steps to build on research-based evidence-informed solutions to enhance community engagement and cross-sector collaboration to better integrate health and community services and address social and economic conditions in communities – with a particular focus on mental health and well-being.
  4. Identify ways to apply a public health approach to mental health.
  5. Describe strategies to influence public policy that builds communities’ and systems' capacity for better health in Minnesota. 


All stakeholders interested in improving the health of Minnesota communities are encouraged to attend.


MPHA's conference planning committee is excited to highlight addresses by:  
  • Joseph Telfair, DrPH, MPH, MSW, President, American Public Health Association
  • Kathryn Wehr, MPH, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Donald Warne, MD, MPH, Chair, Department of Public Health, North Dakota State University

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

9:15 am - 12:00 pm Pre-conference workshop:  Exploring Power & Privilege: StarPower Simulation

(Optional, limited to 30 seats; $15 includes the networking lunch - must register separately HERE)

Annual conference participants are invited to come to the River's Edge Convention Center early for a special pre-session, planned by the MPHA Health Equity Committee with Facilitator Dave Nakashima.

The concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion are socially complex and politically loaded terms.  Public health leaders bring their own understanding and interpretation of these concepts based on their own cultural identities, life experiences and political sensibilities.  StarPower is a simulation to help participants develop new perspectives on understanding equity by exploring individual feelings and behaviors as well as group dynamics regarding power and privilege.

Funding for this project is provided by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, as part of Blue Cross’ long-term commitment to tackling the leading causes of preventable disease: commercial tobacco use, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating.


10:30 am - 12:00 pm. Pre-conference workshop: Gun Violence Prevention: New Strategies for a New Movement

(Optional, unlimited seats; $15 includes the networking lunch – select during conference registration)

The Parkland school shooting and the rise of student leadership has brought new visibility and energy to the gun reform movement. What new strategies are emerging to capture and increase this momentum? This pre-conference session will consist of a panel presentation including representatives from the medical, youth violence prevention, and advocacy communities. The panel will be moderated by Rev. Nancy Nord Bence, Executive Director of Protect Minnesota. After the panel, Rev Bence will lead participants in an activity designed to build confidence in delivering an effective one-minute gun violence prevention message.

11:30 am - 1:00 pm Check In/Registration

12:00 - 1:00 pm   Networking lunch (Optional)

Come early for the optional networking lunch before the conference! Meet and mingle with the APHA President, MPHA past Presidents, conference pre-session attendees and other public health leaders over a boxed lunch. The cost is $15 (select during conference registration).

1:00 - 1:15 pm Welcome & Opening Remarks

Becky Sechrist, M.Ed., President, MPHA  

Rosemond Owens, MPH, Director of Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, in Community Health & Health Equity for Blue Cross Blue Shield

1:15 - 2:45 pm Opening Keynote Addresses

1:15 - 2:00 Creating a Culture of Health: A Perspective from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kathryn Wehr, MPH, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

With panel of selected breakout speakers. See video clip examples of RWJF Culture of Health work in action:

2:00 - 2:45 pm APHA, Affiliates Making Health a Shared Value – Promoting and Implementing Health in All Sectors and PoliciesJoseph Telfair, DrPH, MPH, MSW, President, American Public Health Association

2:45 - 2:55 pm         Transition time


2:55 - 4:10 pm Concurrent sessions

1) Better Together Hennepin: Successful Collaboration to Prevent Teen Pregnancy 

 Lisa Turnham and Katie Miller, Better Together Hennepin, Hennepin County Public Health Department, Ellen Saliares, Annex Teen Clinic

2) Not Business as Usual: Innovative Community Engagement to Drive Community Health

Wendy Foley and Sarah Senseman, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. 

Related news: Star Tribune March 2, 2018 article: 

"Willmar modeling a five-year, $2 million program to get 'healthy together'

3) Public Schools: Sex, Gender and Policy

Brooke Stelzer and Amy Marsicano, Minnesota Department of Education

4) Inclusive & Equitable Facilitation Practices

Dave Nakashima, Nakashima & Associates

4:10 - 4:40 pm Break/Exhibitor time/Yoga Therapy- Visit the 2018 MPHA Conference Exhibitors, take a social 

media break, or participate in yoga therapy with Emily Kaspari, Yoga Therapist, Functional Nutrition 

and LIfestyle Practitioner (sign up recommended).

4:40 - 5:40 pm Keynote: American Indian Health Equity: Social and Historical Considerations

Dr. Donald Warne, MD, MPH, (Oglala Lakota), Chair, Department of Public Health, North Dakota State University. 

5:40 - 6:10 pm Reception
6:10 - 7:30 pm Business Meeting & Dinner
7:30 - 8:00 pm Awards

FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018 

6:15 - 7:00 am Optional Run/Walk or Yoga Class (please bring your own yoga mat) 
7:30 - 8:00 am Breakfast 
8:00 - 8:05 am Call to Order, Objectives for Day 2
8:05 - 8:50 am Panel Presentation: Public Health Workforce Development

LuAnn Reif, BS, MPH, PhD, Professor, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University 

Susan Jarosak, M.Ed., Assistant Dean and Interim Program Director, Public Health Programs, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Shonda Craft, MS, PhD, Dean, School of Health and Human Services, St. Cloud State University

Moderator: Ellen Saliares, MPH, Annex Teen Clinic

8:50 - 9:50 am Panel Presentation: Central Minnesota’s Approach to a Culture of Health 

Therese Haffner, Community Development Director, City of St. Joseph 
Tracy Schulte, MBA, Well-Being & Technology Director at Granite Equity Partners and GSDC Well-Being Corps Member
David Borgert, MBA, Director, Community & Government Relations, CentraCare Health

John Uphoff, Executive Director, Benton Economic Partnership, Inc. 

Moderator: Renee Frauendienst, BSN, PHN, CPI, Public Health Division Director/CHS Administrator, Stearns County Human Services 

9:50 - 10:20 am Break/Exhibitor time/Yoga Therapy
10:20 - 11:35 am Concurrent sessions

1)   Mixing It Up: Building Partnerships and Engaging Communities to Meet the Challenge of Promoting Healthy, Walkable Communities for All in Central Minnesota

Matt Glaesman, City of St. Cloud

Jodi Gertken, CentraCare Health

Mary Morrow, Public Health Law Center

2)   Central Minnesota Approach to Mental Health

Dr. David Frenz, CentraCare - Correctional Care

Officer Talisha Barlow, St. Cloud Police Department - Community Out Post Initiative

Pam Beckering, Central MN ACEs Collaborative

Julie Ellis, Stearns County 

3)   Studying Cardiovascular Disease Among Somali Refugees and Immigrants: Lessons Learned Through Community Engagement and Respondent Driven Sampling of Social Networks

Dr. Bjorn Westgard, HealthPartners/Regions Hospital

Brian Martinson, HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research

Farhiya Farah, GlobeGrow

Abdillahi Kahin, WellShare International

Dr. Doug Pryce, Hennepin HealthCare

4)   Community Health Worker Trends in Rural and Primary Settings

Kristin Erickson, PartnerSHIP 4 Health

Megan Nieto, CHW Solutions

Laura Guzman-Coralles, Hennepin Health

Presenter from Hennepin Health Home Visiting Program

Moderated by Will Wilson, Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, Minnesota Department of Health

5)   APHA Workforce Development Perspective Development: Enhancement of Assessment Monitoring and Evaluation – Knowledge, Skills, and Tools for Practice

Dr. Joseph Telfair, American Public Health Association

11:45 am - 12:45 pm Lunch and Panel Presentation: The Importance of Cross-Sector Collaboration in Local Policy Initiatives: The Impact on St. Cloud’s Tobacco 21 Campaign

Kasey Cable, CentraCare Health

Dr. George Morris, CentraCare Health

Kara Zoller, Sherburne County Health & Human Services

St. Cloud Tobacco 21 Partner

Moderator: Jodi Gertken, CentraCare Health

12:45 - 1:45 pm       Keynote: Advancing Health Equity and Optimal Health for All

Dr. Ed Ehlinger, MD, MSPH, Public Health Metaphysician and MPHA Past President

With remarks from Rosemond Sarpong Owens, MPH, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota


1:45 - 2:00 pm Closing

Please review the Conference Program Draft, to see full details on sessions. 

Conference Program - Draft

Registration will ask you to identify your preferred breakout session.

REGISTRATION:  Click HERE to register

Best deal! Conference + 1 year Membership rate:

Individual Membership + Conference - $ 200.00

Student Membership + Conference - $ 65.00

Retiree Membership + Conference - $ 170.00

Community Health Worker Membership + Conference - $ 65.00

MPHA Member conference rates:

Individual/Retiree Member - $ 150.00

Student or Community Health Worker Member - $ 45.00

Non-Member conference rates:

Individual/Retiree Non-Member - $ 225.00

Student or Community Health Worker - Non-Member - $ 75.00


  • The optional StarPower pre-conference session, facilitated by Dave Nakashima, requires a separate registration, in addition to annual conference registration, and is limited to 30 attendees. The cost is $15 and includes the networking lunch.
  • Come early for the optional networking lunch before the conference! Meet and mingle with the APHA President, MPHA past Presidents, and other public health leaders over a boxed lunch. The cost is $15 (select during conference registration).


To Request a Scholarship:

MPHA strives to make conference attendance possible for all interested participants. Based on the amount of scholarship sponsors we receive, MPHA will offer a limited number of need-based scholarships to defray registration costs. 

Eligibility:  MPHA is committed to ensuring that conference participants from priority populations including people of color and American Indians, LGBTQ communities, persons with disabilities, and public health students attend and participate in our annual conference.  Based on the amount of scholarship fundraising, MPHA will have a limited number of scholarships for registration for attendees who identify themselves with one of these priority populations, or for those that have a special interest in advancing healthy equity in any one of these populations.  In addition, a limited number of scholarships are available through a lottery to support attendees traveling 100 + miles to attend the conference, or, who work for an agency with a general operating budget of less than $50,000.


To apply for a scholarship, please describe your interest by emailing; deadline extended to April 30. Applications received by March 31 will be notified if you receive a reduced registration approximately one month prior to the conference; those received in April will receive notification of reduced registration approximately two weeks prior to conference.

To Fund a Scholarship:

The planning committee has developed a program that recognizes the need to engage many stakeholders to help address public health problems.  With your support, we hope to provide need-based access to individuals who might not otherwise attend and participate in this conversation. Individuals are invited to make a contribution in any amount, and will receive recognition on the conference registration website, in the program, and in a letter to all attendees receiving a full or partial registration scholarship. 

Contributions appreciated by April 30, and may be made online at MPHA's donation page (check "scholarship support" and write "annual conference" in the Special Instructions), or, mailed to MPHA at: PO Box 14415, Minneapolis, MN 55414. MPHA is a 501(c)(3) organization.


MPHA greatly subsidizes the attendee cost of the conference, and relies upon sponsors to help keep the conference accessible and affordable for all who wish to attend. 

Please see 2018 Annual Conference Sponsorship Information. Contact Matt Flory, Conference Co-Chair, with questions. 

If you/your organization is interested in sponsoring MPHA's yearly programming (annual conference, policy forums, and national public health week activities), please see general sponsorship information HERE

Thank you, 2018 Conference Sponsors! 


Application is being made for Category I MCHES/CHES, CPH, and nursing continuing education contact hours.


The River's Edge Convention Center, 10 4th Ave S, St Cloud, MN 56301. Phone(320) 255-7272.

Please note a private nursing mother's room is available on the second floor (same floor as the conference sessions). The key is available in the conference center main office.


A limited number of room blocks are being held at two connecting hotels to the convention center:

Courtyard By Marriott 

404 W St Germain St, St Cloud, MN 56301

$149 per night plus tax for single/double room. 

To reserve, please Book your group rate for MN Public Health. Or call 320-654-1661, and ask for MN Public Health group code. 

Room block guaranteed until May 1, 2018.

Best Western Kelly Inn Plus

100 4th Avenue South, St. Cloud, Minnesota 56301

$109 per night plus tax for any room

To reserve, please call: 320-253-0606. Ask for "MPHA18" group code. 

Room block guaranteed until May 3, 2018.


Interested in finding a roommate? Please click here to complete our Roommate Locator Form, and we will do our best to help you make accommodations.


Interested in carpooling to St. Cloud? Have a vehicle and would like to share your seats (and networking time!) with others? Please click here to complete our Carpool Request Form, and we will try to help with transportation needs.


MPHA's Refund, Return and Cancellation Policy is: Fifty percent (50%) of conference registration fees can be refunded with written notice up to two weeks prior to the conference date (May 3, 2018). Deadlines for refund requests will be printed in all conference brochures. After the deadline, no refunds will be given. Memberships, donations and policy forum registrations that have been charged are non-refundable and non-cancellable.


For more information or questions, please email Merry Grande, MPHA Program Manager or Conference Co-Chairs Matt Flory and Ellen Saliares. 

 © 2018 Minnesota Public Health Association 
| A registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.                 Privacy  |  Policies
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software