Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger meets with local officials in Cannon Falls
State Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger will make the final leg of his “Pitch the Commissioner” campaign next week in Bemidji as he seeks ideas to keep the state healthy.
The Commissioner has already visited several Minnesota communities, meeting with local officials to enjoy a game of horseshoes and talk public health.
“Pitching horseshoes is a fun and easy way for people to be physically active and engage in conversation at the same time,” Ehlinger said. “I want to hear what Minnesotans have to say about what their communities need to be healthy.”
The tour has emphasized prevention and public health as the Commissioner has sought to find out what kind of infrastructure Minnesota communities need to help residents stay active.
In a blog post written during his visit to Moorhead this summer, Ehlinger said that he was impressed with what Minnesotans were accomplishing with the resources they had, but that a bit more could go a long way.
In Stearns County earlier this week, officials expressed hope for more collaboration with the Department of Health. County Health Administrator Mark Sizer asked about the greater funding for the Statewide Health Improvement Program, which gives local communities grants for projects designed to combat obesity and tobacco use.
“The SHIP grants – there are still communities around the state that are using those dollars, but they’ve been greatly reduced, and we’re hoping with the commissioner’s help we can increase that funding stream again,” Sizer told the St. Cloud Times.
Ehlinger was hopeful.
“The communities want a partnership with the state,” he said during the visit. “They know that they have a big role to play in making their communities healthy, but they know that they can’t do it alone.”