Insight News

Feb 08th


Nationwide 2011 County Health Rankings explore the health of Minnesota counties

Minnesota's counties are included in a report ranking the health of every county in each of the 50 states. The County Health Rankings, prepared by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, ranks the overall health of counties by using a standard formula to measure how healthy people are and how long they live.

Counties are ranked in two categories: health outcomes and health factors (also known as health determinants). Health outcomes include the rate of people dying before age 75, the percentage of people who report being in fair or poor health and the rate of low-birth weight infants. Health factors include health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment. The rankings, which launched nationwide last year, are designed to compare the health of counties within each state; they do not compare counties in one state with counties in another state.

Water fluoridation: Safe or not?

Water fluoridation: Safe or not?Dear EarthTalk: So, what’s the story: Is it good that we have fluoride in our tap water or not? I’ve heard so many conflicting opinions over the years. -- Benjamin P., Mission, KS

The debate over whether we should add fluoride to public drinking water has raged since the 1940s when American cities first initiated the practice as a way to fight the scourge of tooth decay. The benefits of more research and hindsight in recent years have led many policymakers to reconsider the merits of so-called artificial fluoridation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that today over 60 percent of Americans get fluoridated drinking water from their taps whether they want it or not.

Free eye exams for infants at Open Cities Health Center

Free eye exams will be offered at Open Cities Health Center (OCHC) for infants from six to 12 months on Saturday, April 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The InfantSEE Family Health Event will be held at the clinic’s Midway location in St. Paul at 409 N.  Dunlap Street.

The event is open to the public and will include:
•    FREE InfantSEE eye exams for babies (6-12 months of age, please pre-register)!
•    FREE lunch and entertainment for all attendees.
•    FREE $20 gift card for each family that schedules and completes an InfantSEE eye exam.
•    FREE dental screenings; diabetic education; prenatal education; and, smoking cessation information for the entire family.
•    FREE raffle for a flat screen TV for participating families.

Hennepin County smoking rate lower

Minnesota's Hennepin County smoking rate of 12 percent is lower than the state and national averages of 16 percent and 20 percent respectively. That’s the good news.

The bad news is Hennepin residents are growing more obese.

Both statistics are from Hennepin County’s Survey of the Health of All the Population and the Environment (SHAPE 2010). Conducted every four years since 1998, SHAPE provides the most comprehensive overview of the county’s adult and child population on health issues such as tobacco use, obesity, physical activity and nutrition.

$2 million awarded in Environmental Response Fund grants

Hennepin County recently awarded $2 million in Environmental Response Fund (ERF) grants to nine projects. The program, funded by a county mortgage registry and deed tax, provides grants for environment assessment and cleanup of sites that present environmental or public health risks, and where redevelopment and reuse have been hampered because of a lack of funding. 

Minnehaha-Hiawatha Community Works project receives CARE grant from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Hennepin County’s Minnehaha-Hiawatha Community Works project recently received a Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) award of $100,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Hennepin County and community partners will use the CARE grant to launch the Minnehaha-Hiawatha Corridor Environmental Collaboration, which will identify, prioritize and address environmental health risks.  Hennepin County will work closely with the Longfellow Community Council, Longfellow Business Association, the Women’s Environmental Institute and the East Phillips Improvement Coalition on the grant-funded activities.

Abellard named Freeport West Interim Director

Executive Director, Ramona Wilson is moving on from Freeport West to pursue other professional opportunities.  Freeport West has wished Ms. Wilson all the best in her future work.  Given Ms. Wilson’s departure, Dorothy Abellard Freeport West Program Communications Manager, will serve as the Interim Executive Director of the agency.  Additionally, Freeport West has named Larson Allen as its interim financial management team, and has hired J. Murphy & Associates to assist with compliance and reporting.  The agency will be conducting a search for a Chief Financial Officer, and they hope to have a new CFO in place as soon as possible. 
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