Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon talks with kids at Pillsbury Elementary School in Minneapolis
Today, Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon served breakfast at Pillsbury Elementary in Minneapolis to raise awareness of child hunger and its impact on education. She explained that more than 200,000 Minnesota children experience hunger every year. And research shows, that poor nutrition among school age children directly relates to poorer class performance, more days of missed school, and declining academic achievement.
To increase access to free and reduced price breakfast, the State of Minnesota is partnering with Hunger Free Minnesota, the Midwest Dairy Council, and the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota to create the first-ever Minnesota School Breakfast Challenge. The challenge will reward the top 30 Minnesota schools with $0.10 for every new breakfast served beyond what was served last year.
You can find more Pink Tank Project videos on the Minnesota National Guard's YouTube page here
To build breast cancer awareness for all women, the Minnesota National Guard has launching the Pink Tank Project this month for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
"Improving wellness in our service members aligns with our priorities and the Pink Tank Project assists in keeping us a competent and ready force," said Army Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash, Minnesota National Guard's Adjutant General.
"This project is to build breast cancer awareness for all women whether they wear the uniform or not," said Army Maj. Kristen L. Auge, Minnesota National Guard's Deputy Director of Public Affairs. "The Pink Tank Project is a promise - a promise to yourself to conduct monthly self-breast exams and have mammograms as recommended by your health care provider."
"Three women with ties to the Minnesota National Guard and whose lives have been forever changed by breast cancer are featured in this project," said Aug?. "Throughout the month, their stories and a special breast cancer awareness video will launch on the Minnesota National Guard's Pink Tank Project webpage."
Minnesota ranked number one for senior health and the Twin Cities ranked top for fit metro areas.
Photo Credit: Flickr user, Michael Hicks
Minnesotans have yet another thing to be proud of--their good health. Reports released last week named Minnesota the healthiest state in the nation for seniors, and Minneapolis-St. Paul the fittest metro area in the United States.The report, released by the United Health Foundation, ranks Minnesota the healthiest state in the nation for seniors. This ranking recognizes Minnesota’s longstanding commitment to health care services and long-term care for the state’s older citizens. Minnesota topped the list based on a variety of factors which lead to good health including prescription drug coverage, availability of home health care workers, and rate of annual dental visits. Minnesota also scored well with a high percentage of seniors reporting very good or excellent health, a low rate of premature death, and a low rate of hospitalizations for hip fractures.
The American College of Sports Medicine’s annual American Fitness Index ranked Minneapolis-St. Paul the fittest metro area in the country for the third time in a row. The ranking takes into account health factors including smoking, exercise, obesity rates, chronic health issues, and access to healthcare. It also considers environmental factors such as parks, trails, recreational facilities and farmers’ markets. The cities’ large per-capita investment in parks and high rate of physical activity were also factors in the first place ranking.
While these reports provide good news for the state, they also show that Minnesota still has room for improvement in the area of health. The United Health Foundation found that Minnesota has a low rate of seniors with a dedicated health care provider and low community support expenditures for low income seniors. The American College of Sports Medicine found that many Minneapolis-St. Paul residents should increase their fruit intake, to ensure that they are getting the five recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. More Twin Cities residents also need to quit smoking, according to the American College of Sports Medicine's findings.
These rankings are a promising illustration of Minnesota’s commitment to good health and fitness. With poor health at an all-time high nationwide, Minnesota is making strides in the right direction.
View the United Health Foundation report here.
View the American College of Sports Medicine's American Fitness Index here.
On Tuesday, Governor Dayton and DFL legislative leaders held a press conference to talk about middle class investments made in the Minnesota state budget
The budget passed by Governor Dayton and the DFL legislature puts fairness back in the system. It strengthens Minnesota’s middle class and our economy by lowering property taxes and making investments in education and job creation to move Minnesota forward.
The budget closes the deficit for the long term and makes spending cuts and reforms. It pays for new investments in education and job creation by asking the richest 2% of Minnesotans to pay their fair share and closing corporate tax loopholes.
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Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of a seven-member board responsible for managing and operating MNsure – a new health insurance marketplace where Minnesotans can choose quality, affordable health insurance. The board, which was established by law earlier this legislative session, was chosen through the state’s open appointments process from a pool of 112 candidates. Board members will serve staggered four-year terms. With the exception of the Commissioner of Human Services, all members are limited to two terms of service.
“The individuals chosen to serve on this board represent a broad diversity of experience and expertise,” said Governor Dayton. “Their collective breadth of knowledge, and each board member’s shared commitment to the successful development and delivery of this new health care marketplace, will serve the best interests of all Minnesotans.”
According to state law, membership on the board must include representation from outside the seven-county Metro area. One of the six members must have experience representing the needs of vulnerable populations and persons with disabilities. All appointed members of the board have demonstrated that they do not have any conflicts of interest. Board members appointed today by Governor Dayton include:
Thompson Aderinkomi , Founder and CEO, RetraceHealth. Mr. Aderinkomi has more than 14 years of experience helping health care organizations use their data effectively. Currently, he is the founder and CEO of RetraceHealth, which is an innovative technology provider that delivers primary care services to members. He began his career managing the finance department of CareMate Home Healthcare. From there, he performed program evaluations, created predictive models, and studied health insurance reimbursement for Ingenix (which is now Optum Health) and Medica Health Plans. In 2009, Aderinkomi co-founded Evidity, which is a health-care data analytics firm that serves the physician market. He is also serves as the board chair for WATCH MN, a domestic abuse monitoring agency, and as a board member of Youthprise, an education focused group working to increase the quality, accessibility, sustainability, and innovation of opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.
Pete Benner, Independent Consultant. Mr. Benner is a consultant on health care, labor relations, and public policy. Prior to consulting, he worked for many years with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). Benner is the former Executive Director of AFSCME Council 6, where he was the lead negotiator with the State of Minnesota in designing the insurance benefits for state employees and their families. He also sat on many boards and commissions relating to health care including: Minnesota Health Care Access Commission, Minnesota Health Care Commission, Minnesota Citizen’s Forum on Health Care Costs, Governor’s Health Care Transformation Task Force, Governor’s Health Care Reform Task Force, Minnesota Community Measurement, and the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement.
Brian Beutner, CEO, mPay Gateway. Mr. Beutner is a consultant working with start-ups and their founders as they try to expand their innovative concepts into viable businesses. Until April 2013, Mr. Beutner was the CEO of mPay Gateway, a venture-banked healthcare software company that has developed financial products and services to support healthcare payments. In the past, Mr. Beutner spent seven years with UnitedHealth Group working in various capacities, including General Counsel of UnitedHealthcare. At UnitedHealth Group, he helped found its financial services business and chartered Exante Bank, now Optum Health Bank, which is the first successful bank built by a healthcare company. Mr. Beutner previously served as General Counsel of Jostens and practiced law with Oppenheimer Wolff and Donnelly. Beutner served as an adjunct professor at Hamline University Law School, where he created and taught courses on business and healthcare. He currently serves on the Hamline University School of Law Health Law Institute Advisory Board. Mr. Beutner previously served on the board of directors of the Courage Center Foundation; the foundation is a supporting organization to the Courage Center.
Kathryn Duevel, OBGYN, Affiliated Community Medical Care (retired). Dr. Duevel is an OBGYN physician. She worked at Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar, Minnesota for more than 20 years until June 2012. In addition to her MD degree from the University of MN, she has a Master of Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College. Dr. Duevel was previously a member of the executive board of the MN ACOG(American College of OBGYN) and Rice Memorial Hospital's Medical Staff Executive Committee while also serving as Vice Chief of Staff and Credentials Chair. She currently leads Rice Memorial Hospital’s OB Patient Safety Committee and was a founding board member for the Kandiyohi Area Family YMCA. She has served as a volunteer physician with the Remote Area Medical Women’s Health Program in Guyana, South America and African Medical Mission in South Africa.
Tom Forsythe, Vice President of Global Communications, General Mills. Mr. Forsythe has worked for General Mills for the past 22 years, where he is currently Vice President of Global Communications. He has served as a board member of Twin Cities Public Television, Twin West Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota State University Board, and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, where he also served for a year as Chairman of the Board. In 1991, Forsythe worked on behalf of the business community advancing health care reform, including the legislation that created Minnesota Care. Forsythe was later appointed by Governor Arne Carlson to the Minnesota Health Care Commission, and by Governor Tim Pawlenty to the Minnesota Health Care Transformation Task Force, where he advocated for market-based, consumer-oriented health care.
On Earth Day this year it is especially noticeable how polar our planet can be. Unseasonable temperatures last year gave way to one of the wettest, coldest, and longest, springs this year. While this could be interpreted as Mother Nature’s cruelty, it’s more a sign of our planet’s fragility.
While the MPCA stresses “Every day is Earth Day”, April 22 is the one time a year that everyone should take notice of our environment. For those hoping to celebrate proactively, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has 5 ways you can go a little greener this year.