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Healthy communities

Making the healthy choice the easy choice in Bloomington, Edina and Richfield

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Cigarette butts
Photo credit: Oscar Tarrago, M.D., M.P.H., C.H.E.S.

Apartment managers clear the air

Smoke-free policies on the rise in multi-unit housing

It’s a dangerous, uninvited house guest that just won’t leave. Secondhand smoke within multi-unit housing travels through doorways, cracks in walls, electrical lines, ventilation systems and plumbing. It can cause children to have more ear infections, respiratory infections and asthma problems. Adults have a greater risk for heart disease, lung cancer and stroke.

Bloomington’s Health Division had been offering assistance to adopt smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing. However, apartment managers said they feared losing revenue and how that would negatively impact the property. When apartment managers learned that 80 percent of residents in smoking-allowed properties support a no-smoking building policy, many changed their minds. Now, with the health division’s help, apartment managers are planning to adopt smoke-free policies and protect their residents’ health.

PDF icon Read more about the survey findings that changed minds.


Tarnhill Apartments going smoke-free after public health survey data review

September 2017

Residents of Tarnhill Apartments, 5200 West 102nd Street, showed overwhelming support for a smoke-free policy in a survey conducted earlier this year by Public Health and ANSR (Association for Non-Smokers Minnesota). After reviewing results with Public Health staff in September, property managers decided to adopt a smoke-free policy as of January 1, 2018. Public Health staff and ANSR will be providing technical assistance to prepare, adopt and implement the policy.

Public Health collaborated with ANSR to conduct resident surveys in select Bloomington multi-unit housing properties earlier this year. The Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) is supporting this work to reduce risks for chronic disease in our community. Public Health will be sharing aggregate data with city leaders in the near future.

For more information, contact Community Health Specialist, Deb Miller.

Wellness policy recommendations provided to school district

June 2017

Public Health provided the recommendations to help the school district comply with U.S. Department of Agriculture local wellness policy final rules that take effect July 1, 2017. School leaders had requested the assistance. Public Health’s recommendations included wellness policy content, leadership and public involvement, and policy assessment and evaluation. Feedback from the school board was very favorable, and the policy passed without revisions on May 22, 2017. Public Health staff will be co-presenting policy updates to district principals and teaching staff in late August. The Statewide Health Improvement Partnership has supported the Public Health Division and School District partnership over the last seven years to improve health and learning.

For more information, contact Community Health Specialist, Deb Miller.

Public Health Division is surveying multi-unit housing residents about smoking

April 2017

Public Health staff is collaborating with the Association for Non-Smokers Minnesota to conduct resident surveys in select multi-unit housing properties. The purpose of the survey is to learn about smoking in apartments and what residents think about secondhand smoke and smoke-free policies. Staff selected properties for the survey based on criteria such as size (number of apartments), smoking policy status, resident diversity and location within the city. The Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) is supporting this work to reduce risks for chronic disease in our community. Public Health will be sharing the data with city leaders.

For more information, contact Community Health Specialist, Deb Miller.

Public Health Division promotes partnership for wellness in hospitality industry

February 2017

Bloomington, Minneapolis and Hennepin County Public Health staff members will be meeting with stakeholders in the hospitality industry within Hennepin County. They will share findings from informational interviews conducted with high-level industry representatives since May 2016 to explore a partnership for employee wellness and healthy work environments. Hotel stakeholders interviewed were receptive to the idea of exploring a worksite wellness program for their hotel if viable possibilities are available to them. The Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) is supporting this work to reduce risks for chronic disease in our community.

The largest employer group in Bloomington, hotels have a culturally diverse, low-income work force with higher risks for chronic disease. The informational interviews revealed that hotels’ capacities to support formal wellness programs vary significantly. Employer and employee factors present challenges to implementing and participating in worksite wellness programs. For example, in limited service hotels, general managers are typically constrained by multiple roles. Also, it is not unusual for hotel employees to work multiple jobs at multiple hotels, making it difficult to participate in a wellness program. Franchise hotels do not have access to industry gold standard employee wellness programs.

For more information, contact Community Health Specialist, Deb Miller.

SHIP, now Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, maximizes community results

SHIP’s value in communities is its capacity to leverage funds with partners for a cost effective means to prevent chronic disease and lower healthcare costs.

In 2016, guided by SHIP grantee Bloomington Public Health, partners in Bloomington, Edina and Richfield more than doubled $230,566 they received from other grants and in-kind contributions with support from SHIP. SHIP contributed an additional $293,000 to maximize sustainable, healthy changes in schools, communities, worksites and healthcare.

See SHIP infographic and fact sheet for details.

Statewide Health Improvement Partnership logo
As of December 5, 2016, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) adjusted the acronym SHIP to stand for Statewide Health Improvement Partnership.

MDH changed the wording from Statewide Health Improvement Program to convey SHIP’s purpose for collaborating with community partners to expand opportunities for active living, healthy eating and tobacco-free living. The name adjustment brings with it a new SHIP logo and tag line, “Better Health Together.” The Bloomington, Edina and Richfield SHIP leadership team, Tri-City Partners for Healthy Communities, will continue to use its logo and will include the new SHIP logo in communications.

Public Health Division drives local obesity prevention work aiding Minnesota progress

September 2016 - A recent Centers for Disease Control report speaks to effective obesity prevention work the Public Health Division has been involved with since Minnesota health care reform legislation in 2008.

The Centers for Disease Control reported 2016 data showing Minnesota is the only state in our five-state region to succeed in keeping obesity rates firmly below 30 percent. A 2016 Robert Wood Johnson Foundations report shows Minnesota is one of four states in the country in which obesity decreased from 2014 to 2015. Closer to home in Hennepin County, the adult obesity rate of 23 percent is lower than the Minnesota rate of 26 percent.

Obesity is a leading cause of chronic disease and recognized as a driving force of rising health care costs. The Public Health Division continues to work with community partners using methods scientifically supported to prevent obesity, including the following. Obesity prevention is also integrated into Public Health’s programs and services.

Using scientifically supported obesity prevention methods increases effectiveness

These are some of the effective obesity prevention methods the Public Health Division works with partners for:
  • Nutrition and physical activity interventions in preschool and child care
  • Breastfeeding promotion programs
  • School nutrition standards
  • School-based physical education
  • Worksite obesity prevention interventions
  • Places for physical activity
  • Active recess

Healthy community resources

If you want to add physical activity to your day, walking is a great way to get moving. Your local parks offer some of the BEST places to take a walk so you not only can get active, you can enjoy the benefits of being outdoors too. Watch the video to learn more.

What we do

For a long and healthy life, a better future for our children and lowered health care costs

  • We work with partners in the community, schools, healthcare and worksites to create a culture of health that supports healthy living.
  • We support Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
  • To prevent obesity and tobacco use and exposure, the two leading causes of death in Minnesota, we are working to make healthy choices easy for everyone:
    • Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
    • Physical activity in everyday living
    • Freedom from tobacco smoke

Our approach to healthy communities 

We use community solutions to tackle the top three preventable causes of chronic disease:
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Tobacco use
We focus on prevention efforts to reduce risk for these chronic diseases:
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer

We focus on prevention efforts to reduce harm to youth from:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Other drugs

Our community solutions for better health include these projects:

  • Nutritious food in schools, vending and concessions
  • Community design that makes it easy and safe for people to be active
  • Quit smoking education and support in healthcare
  • Tobacco-free multi-unit housing 
  • Support for breastfeeding mothers
  • Falls prevention assessments for seniors
  • Training and support for childcare providers
  • Prevention for underage alcohol and drug use

Goals, what we work at and what we have accomplished

In communities

healthy cooking class

We make our communities wonderful places to live with protection from tobacco smoke and easy choices for exercise and healthy food

We support:

  • More sidewalks, bike paths and safe crosswalks
  • Healthier eating and more physical activity in child care
  • Smoke-free multiunit housing
  • Tobacco-free parks and playgrounds
  • Healthier foods at food shelves

For example

Tri-City Partners helped our neighbors who need access to affordable and culturally appropriate health resources. Together we opened a Healthy Living Hub, providing centrally located opportunities to improve healthy eating, exercise and healthcare system linkages.

As a result

  • Complete Streets and Living Streets policies in Bloomington, Edina and Richfield give nearly 166,000 residents more options for exercise.
  • The Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People food shelf has a commercial kitchen to help clients make the best use of over 20,000 pounds of produce donations (2013) that we helped to collect.
  • Around 3,000 Spanish-speaking Bloomington and Richfield residents have easier access to programs and services that support health and wellness.
  • And more.

In schools

Schoolyard garden

We support classroom learning by giving our children an early start at healthy behaviors and a brighter future

We support:

  • Healthier eating, including more fresh, locally grown produce
  • Healthy classroom snacks
  • Healthy food choices in vending machines
  • More opportunities for walking and biking to school
  • More physical activity in the school day
  • Tobacco-free college campuses

For example

Tri-City Partners helped schools establish schoolyard gardens and continues to support schoolyard-garden-centered curriculum. As a result, children learn about healthy eating and their experience supports whole-child development.

As a result

  • School gardens, more fresh, locally grown food and healthier á la carte foods, vending foods and before-and-after-school snacks improved the diets of roughly 15,500 students.
  • Elementary schools' wellness policies assure that over 2,000 students engage in more physical activity and have healthier foods for celebrations, snacks and fundraisers.

At worksites

Worksite walking meeting

We help employers reduce healthcare costs and improve workplace productivity by promoting healthy behaviors

We support:

  • Healthier food choices in cafeterias, in vending machines
    and in catering
  • Tobacco-free policies and help quitting smoking
  • More opportunities for walking and biking
  • Support for breastfeeding mothers

For example

Tri-City Partners supported a worksite wellness coalition that engages employers to support healthy choices in the workplace. Having approved walking meetings is one example of what some employers did to increase physical activity.

As a result

  • Nineteen employers are building a culture of health in their workplace to better employees' health and reduce absence and employer healthcare costs.

In healthcare

Healthcare clinic

We help to improve health outcomes through partnering with patients and their families, using high quality, cost effective care

We support:

  • Assessment for overweight/obesity and referral to community resources
  • Assessment for commercial tobacco use and referral to community resources
  • Breastfeeding promotion and resources

For example

Tri-City Partners helped three area clinics to implement chronic disease primary prevention guidelines so patients could avoid costly treatments for disease. The guidelines help healthcare professionals provide patients with the best health outcomes for the best cost.

As a result

  • Eighteen dental clinics will use a community resource to improve oral health by helping their patients quit smoking.
  • Richfield Medical Group refers patients to evidence-based community programs to help manage chronic conditions.

Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP)

Statewide Health Improvement Partnership logo

SHIP provides support for our partnership efforts: 

  • Minnesota health care reform legislation provided SHIP funds, and the Minnesota Department of Health governs its use.
  • SHIP works to prevent disease before it starts by helping create healthier communities that support individuals seeking to make healthy choices in their daily lives.
  • Read more from the Minnesota Department of Health website.