Minnesota Department of Health shares local smoke-free success story

MN Statewide Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) story:  Mora employer becomes local champion of smoke-free worksites

Lakes and Pines Community Action Council (CAC), a nonprofit organization in Mora that employs 115 people, adopted a new smoke-free workplace and environmental policy in 2015 that bans smoking on its grounds.

smoke-free sign photoThat change is benefiting employees’ health and their pocketbooks.

The new policy led to a reduction in employees who smoke, which was a contributing factor in the organization being able to hold its group health insurance plan rates at last year’s level for participants. The policy change started with support from the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and Partners in Healthy Living (PiHL), the SHIP grantee for Kanabec, Pine, Isanti and Mille Lacs counties.


Source:  http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/oshii/ship/stories/lakes-pines.html

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Combat the Winter Blues: Stay Fit with Boxes

Since it is cold outside, and the majority of adults spend most of their day at work and the work environment has a significant potential to influence health, the Isanti County Wellness committee created a solution for employees to be active on their breaks. isanti county wellness logo.jpeg

The Isanti County Wellness Committee put together fit boxes for the Isanti County employees to use free of charge through a mini-grant funded by Partners in Healthy Living. The fit boxes are filled with low impact equipment that employees can use in their work space, a private space or their wellness room. Fit Box items include: Yoga mats, jump rope, resistance bands, stretch bands, foam roller, yoga blocks, hand weights and hand exercisers. Also included are informative posters and handouts to help with exercise ideas.


Isanti County employees can now use their breaks to be healthier!

Isanti County employees can now use their breaks to be healthier!

Even though it’s cold outside, employees can still be active on their breaks! These boxes are currently located at the Isanti County Government Center’s Public Health Department and the Oakview Office Complex in conference room 9. 

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Dementia focus added to help build healthier communities

The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) community-led health improvement efforts are getting a $27.2 million funding boost from the Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), a state and locally-funded partnership now operating in all 87 counties. Partners in Healthy Living leads the local SHIP efforts for Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs and Pine counties. For a history of their work through SHIP,  click here.

SHIP helps Minnesotans live longer, healthier lives while building healthy, vital communities. As part of that mission, this year’s funding awards allow cities and counties to add a focus on the health of seniors and efforts that help delay the onset or progression of dementia for those over age 60. SHIP will continue to support efforts that increase opportunities for active living, healthy eating and avoiding commercial tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

“SHIP has been instrumental in helping Minnesota make progress on obesity and tobacco use, factors that contribute to expensive chronic diseases, disability and death,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger.  “We’re excited to send this funding to communities to support their health initiatives in every county in the state.”

Partners in Healthy Living has members of the Community Leadership Team whose work and organizations directly impact populations over 60. The University of Minnesota Extension and MN Council on Aging and Lakes and Pines Community Action Council are represented and their input directly impacts the community.

Additionally, the team in Isanti County Public Health is developing a partnership with Act on Alzheimer’s in Cambridge to provide education in the community about dementia and the benefits of early detection and treatment. This partnership has the goal of dissolving common misconceptions that may persist in the community regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Mille Lacs County also works with the group, ReMembering Matters in Onamia.

With evidence-based, community-level, comprehensive strategies, Partners in Healthy Living creates opportunities for healthy choices where people live, learn, work and seek health care. Over time this leads to better health, lowers health care costs and improves quality of life in Minnesota.

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WELLKids Program to Begin in Mora

FirstLight Health System is partnering with Trailview Middle School in Mora for a new program offered through Wellness First, a free service FirstLight provides that focuses on preventative health.wellness first

WELLKids, 4-week after school wellness program, one day a week, to promote the importance of healthy eating and physical activity using age appropriate activities and education.

The objectives of the program are:
1. Kids will be able to independently choose a healthy snack at home.
2. Kids will be able to identify foods that are whole grains.
3. Kids will be exposed to a variety of physical activity options.
4. Kids will learn the benefits of daily physical activity.

Click WELLkids flyer for school to print the flyer to post in your organization! Contact Deb Wright at dwright@fl-hs.org or 320-225-3586 with any questions.

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September 23rd is Fall Prevention Awareness Day!

Each year in the United States, one out of three people age 65 or older fall. As a result, many experience injuries that threaten their independence and quality of life.

Join invited officials, community-based organizations, members of the Minnesota Falls Prevention Coalition and the general public to learn how fall risk can be reduced.

When: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
(Tai Ji Quan begins at 10:30 a.m.)
Where: National Guard Armory, 600 Cedar St. St Paul, MN

The event will include speakers, information tables and
light refreshments. Also participate in a 20-minute sample of Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance® class led by Dr. Fuzhong Li.

Click on the form for the printable flyer. FallsPrevention public invite Aug 24

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Save-the-dateFall is right around the corner! Partners in Healthy Living and Local Public Health are hosting Health Forums and you are invited! Your Voice Matters!

Please join us at an upcoming Community Health Forum to engage in conversation for improving the health of our community. We will also spend time identifying needs and existing community assets.

In the Spring of 2015, a random selection of residents made a valuable contribution by completing the MN East Central Community Health Survey. We will be sharing some of the findings from this survey which will guide our discussion at this event.

  • Tuesday, October 13 1:30-4 in Mora
  • Tuesday, October 13 in Cambridge
  • Tuesday, October 20 1:30-4 in Pine City
  • Tuesday, October 27 1:30-4 in Askov
  • Tuesday, October 27 1-4 in Onamia
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Grant Provides Great Resource for Local Farmers Markets

Farmers market managers in our five-county region of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine collaborate to expand the relationships, use and purchasing power of regional Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and local farmers. Their goal is to support expansion and sustainability of community gardens, local farmers and local farmers markets. The PICKM County Collaborative was developed and organized in partnership with the Chisago City Farmers Market and Partners in Healthy Living. Partners in Healthy Living is a five-county organization supported by the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), working to improve local access to healthy foods, physical activity opportunities and tobacco-free living.

"The Minnesota Farmer's Market Manual is an excellent resource.  This is my second year as a market manager and I could not put the manual down.  Very helpful!" Kris Dahl, Manager of the Wyoming Farmers Market in Chisago County.

“The Minnesota Farmer’s Market Manual is an excellent resource. This is my second year as a market manager and I could not put the manual down. Very helpful!”
Kris Dahl, Manager of the Wyoming Farmers Market in Chisago County.

The Chisago City Farmers Market received a Partners in Healthy Living grant for the purchase of 10 Minnesota Farmers Market Association (MFMA) Minnesota Farmer’s Market Manuals. They were distributed to farmers market managers as a tool to enhance the availability of community healthy foods. The 2015 Minnesota Farmer’s Market Manual is full of the latest information regarding operating and participating in today’s vibrant Minnesota farmers’ markets. It includes hundreds of links to resources and information from local markets, state agencies, and national leaders, organizations and markets.

“Thanks to the support from Partners in Healthy Living, our region can promote healthy living and healthy foods through education, outreach and access to local, nutritious foods!” -Cecelia Cecilia Mangini-Coulter, Chisago City Farmers Market Coordinator

For more information, visit: www.partnersinhealthyliving.us

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Living Well with Chronic Conditions Workshop Opportunity

chronic conditions bookTake Charge of Your Life
Living Well with Chronic Conditions Workshop

During the six weekly sessions you will learn:

 -Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation
 -Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility and endurance
 -Appropriate use of medications
– Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
 -Decision making
 -How to Evaluate New Treatments

Register now for the Living Well with Chronic Conditions

6-week workshop
Located at First Light Health System 301 Hwy 65 South, Mora MN
Dates: July 28- September 1st
Tuesdays-9:00 am to 11:30 am
Registration required
For more information or to register please call:
Jenny Friday at 320-225-3305 or Lise Arseneau Lee at 320-225-9277
Suggested donation of $30 to defray cost of materials. Not required in order to attend class.

The workshop is sponsored in part by the Central MN Council on Aging, and Live Well at Home Grant from the MN Department of Human Services



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A Guided Farmer’s Market Tour to Help Families Buy Healthy, Affordable Foods

farmers market healthy foods

Shopping for fresh, local foods is a great way to help the local economy and stay healthy!

Want to save money at the farmers market?
Want to buy healthy foods to feed your family?
Need some tasty and healthy recipes?

If you said yes, join our partner, Onamia Farmers Market, for a free Cooking Matters® at the Store for Adults guided farmers market tour!

Practice skills like:
• buying fruits and vegetables on a budget
• comparing unit prices to find bargains
• reading and comparing food labels
• identifying whole grains
• AND sticking to your budget!

After the tour you will receive a:
• FREE $10 gift certificate to spend at the market
• FREE workbook full of tasty recipes and simple tips on buying healthy, low-cost foods
• FREE reusable grocery bag


Date: July 15, 2015

Time: 3:00 P.M-4:00 P.M or 5:00 P.M-6:00 P.M

Location: Onamia Area Farmers Market (108 Wall Street Onamia)

RSVP: Virginia Zenzen (DepotVISTA@gmail.com) or (320-676-1962) by June 23

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Wellness Lounge Proves Well for Tenants

The Mora Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) implemented a full no-smoking policy for all of its properties, including 108 residents, effective January 1, 2012. Since that time, they have worked to enforce the new policy and make environmental changes to encourage and support tenants who choose to quit smoking. The $1,500 in Partners in Healthy Living (PiHL) mini grants ($500 for each building) awarded in August of 2014 have allowed the HRA to purchase or produce:

• No-smoking policy reminders for tenants;
• No-smoking agreements for new tenants;
• New internal and external “no-smoking anywhere on property” signs to replace old paper ones;
• A survey of tenants regarding smoking and interest in cessation; and
• Smoking cessation resources for tenants.

As a result, the Mora HRA has been able to:

  • Establish a “wellness lounge” area in the Pine Crest Manor apartments, providing smoking tenants with an alternative to going outside to smoke. The area is open to all Pine Crest residents and includes literature and resources related to a variety of wellness topics including smoking cessation and support, access to healthy activities such as puzzles, games, and more. For photos, click Photos of Mora HRA.
  • The resident computer lab at Pine Crest provides desktop links for quick access to online health topics.
  • Develop a partnership with Wellness First/First Light Health System to provide on-site smoking cessation support to tenants who smoke including a presentation on February 25, 2015, that was also open to the public.

Now that time and grant funds have supported the initial environmental changes, and program and partnership development, these efforts are sustainable through a new wellness line item of $100 annually within the HRA’s operating budget.

This initiative has improved the quality of life for our residents, reduced maintenance costs and repairs and has initiated discussion and interest in the effects of second hand smoke. The survey of residents identified six who have interest in more information on stopping smoking. The discussion has also raised awareness and been a reminder to residents of the HRA’s smoke-free policy.

The HRA has not had any known violations of the smoking policy for more than 4 months, in contrast to a year ago when smoking violations occurred an average of 2-3 times per month.

Great work Mora HRA!

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