Minnesota Department of Health

Recent Articles

Fight for ‘health equities’ went to state capitol

By Brandi Phillips

Contributing Writer

 

Until recently, health equities has not been a subject in Minnesota that has received a lot of publicized attention. It represents the goal of groups working to address the health inequities that are well documented between communities of color and Whites in Minnesota. The Ad Hoc Roundtable is a group made up of subgroups that are interested in fighting against health inequities. Some of the participants in the Roundtable include members of the Council on Black Minnesotans, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, the Chicano Latino Affairs Council, the Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council, the St. Paul Chapter of the NAACP, MICAH, HIRE, Isuroon, the Organizing Apprenticeship Project, and the Minnesota Tenants Union. Continue Reading →

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There is no safe level of lead in human bodies

Child lead poisoning remains a threat
 
While significant progress has been made in recent decades in decreasing children’s exposure to lead, several thousand Minnesota children last year still had elevated levels of lead in their blood. What’s more, recent research has led health experts to conclude there is no safe level of lead in the body. During National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (Oct. 20-26), State health officials are reminding Minnesotans that lead hazards still exist in many homes. The Minnesota Department of Health Lead Program has begun taking a healthy homes approach to more efficiently address lead and other housing-related health hazards across the state. Continue Reading →

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Antibiotic resistance called ‘urgent public health issue’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State health officials have joined their counterparts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in calling attention to the threat of antibiotic resistance as a critical public health and patient care and safety issue. CDC released its report today that describes antimicrobial resistance accounting for two million infections and 23,000 deaths each year in the United States. In addition, illness caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile, which is associated with antibiotic use, accounts for 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths nationally. CDC estimates that up to 50 percent of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not needed or are not prescribed appropriately. Minnesota has long been in the forefront of identifying and addressing antibiotic resistance threats, said Minnesota State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield. Continue Reading →

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Minnesota joins national observance of Falls Prevention Awareness Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor Mark Dayton has declared Sept. 22 as Falls Prevention Awareness Day in Minnesota, making Minnesota among 47 states joining the national Falls Free Initiative to raise awareness of falls on the first day of fall, and ways to prevent falls in the older adult population. This year’s theme,  “Preventing Falls — One Step at a Time,” calls on professionals, older adults, caregivers and family members to help prevent falls, which are the leading cause of injuries requiring hospitalization or treatment and injury-related deaths in Minnesota. The vast majority of these injuries occur among older adults. Older Minnesotans experienced more than 32,000 falls in 2010, causing 690 fatalities and estimated medical costs of more than $275 million, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Continue Reading →

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Flu Fighter Clinics begin Sept. 19

Flu vaccinations offered at all Minnesota Lunds & Byerly’s stores
 

Flu season is returning to the Northern Hemisphere. It won’t be long before the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) start issuing weekly influenza bulletins. Don’t get caught off guard this flu season. A flu vaccination is the best defense against the respiratory virus, and now is the time to get vaccinated. Health Fair 11 and the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA) are once again joining forces to offer Flu Fighter Clinics across the Twin Cities region. Continue Reading →

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Local churches take up fight against diabetes

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Diabetes is the “gateway disease” that often can lead to other health concerns, especially for Blacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one of every three Blacks in this country either has diabetes or is pre-diabetic, and nearly 39 percent of Black Minnesotans’ deaths are caused by diabetes. As a result, Stairstep Foundation/His Works United, in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health, has partnered with 11 local Black churches to host classes to help people avoid becoming diabetic. “My church has been doing this way before other churches,” claims local school nurse Beverly Propes, a member of Friendship Baptist Church. Her church and Wayman AME Church have been partners in this effort for about five years. Continue Reading →

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State health officials hope to build more trust, better communication with communities of color

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

A Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) survey last fall found that communication barriers such as language, trust, culture and literacy exist that prevent health messages from reaching various communities. “It wasn’t particularly surprising,” said MDH International Health Coordinator Sara Chute of the survey results. “I knew that these were major issues, but I wanted to make sure that I was representing those beliefs correctly.”

As a result, Chute co-facilitated the first of two “community communications conversations” April 25 at Rondo Library in St. Paul. The second is scheduled for sometime in May in Minneapolis. Continue Reading →

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Diabetes rates have nearly doubled in 20 years

People of color especially at risk
 
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) estimates that about 80,000 adults in Minnesota may have diabetes without knowing it. Given the seriousness of the disease, the Minnesota Department of Health is encouragingMinnesotans to ask themselves whether they are at risk for diabetes and to take steps to improve their health. The percentage of adults in Minnesota who are living with diabetes nearly doubled between 1994 and 2010, and these numbers under-represent the true number of people living with the condition. About 290,000 adults in Minnesota, or 7.3 percent, say they have been told by their healthcare team they have diabetes. National data show that only 75 percent of adults with diabetes know that they have the disease. Continue Reading →

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Eliminating health disparities is Liberian native’s passion

 

By Michelle Lawrence

Contributing Writer

 

People of African heritage in Minnesota experience higher rates of chronic disease, morbidity and mortality compared to nearly every other cultural group in the state, according to fact sheets compiled by the Minnesota Department of Health. Yet, despite these dismal facts, which would discourage some and certainly overwhelm others, there are women champions in our community. One such champion is Dr. Wilhelmina Holder, executive director of W.I.S.E (Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment), who work diligently every day to improve the health status of Minnesota residents of African heritage, and to reduce disparities among them and other cultural groups in the state, particularly residents of European American descent. Growing up in her native country of Liberia in West Africa, Dr. Holder learned from concrete experience that access to health care can improve health statistics and save lives. “I am driven by the teachings of Jesus Christ,” she says when asked of her personal and professional motives. Continue Reading →

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Childhood trauma can negatively impact adult health

More than half of Minnesotans have had an adverse experience in their childhood that could have a lifelong impact on their health and well-being, according to data recently released by the Minnesota Department of Health. The department surveyed 13,520 Minnesota adults in 2011 and found that 55 percent of them reported having at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE) such as divorce or separation of their parents; an incarcerated household member; a mentally ill parent; domestic violence against a parent; a household member with an alcohol or substance abuse problem; or verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. “The significance of this study is that it shows that these experiences, which can significantly affect the health and well-being of adults decades later, are much more common in Minnesota than one might expect,” said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota commissioner of health. “Our task now is to learn from this information and use these insights to better identify and support children and families at risk.”

The four most common adverse experiences reported by adults include verbal abuse at 28 percent, a drinking problem in the household at 24 percent, mental illness in the household at 17 percent, and physical abuse at 16 percent. With the collection of these data, Minnesota is one of 18 states that have surveyed residents in an effort to better understand the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the health and well-being of adults. Continue Reading →

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