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Strengthening Public Health

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Keeping Minnesotans healthy and safe

Minnesota has a specially trained public health workforce that protects Minnesotans from diseases, injuries and environmental dangers. These workers use specialized information systems and equipment to keep Minnesotans safe from diseases like West Nile, foodborne outbreaks, and influenza.  These vital resources are enhanced through health reform.  Under health reform, Minnesota has received $3 million to strengthen infectious disease monitoring, laboratory capacity, information technology, and delivery of public health services.  These activities help people in Minnesota’s towns, cities and municipalities to be as healthy as possible while also containing health care cost for individuals and communities. 

How does the public health system protect Minnesotans?

Minnesotans are better protected from threats like Lyme disease, pertussis (or whooping cough), and West Nile virus because the state carefully monitors new and existing outbreaks, evaluates the effectiveness of vaccines and investigates trends in disease growth across time and geography.   
By gathering better data on disease rates and characteristics, we can better understand how people contract diseases, as well as how we can prevent those diseases—like HIV, for example—in the first place. Health reform helps Minnesota to ensure we have a strong, streamlined system for data that monitors disease across the state.   

How does a public health laboratory differ from a clinical laboratory?

While private clinical laboratories focus mainly on individual patients and their diseases, specialized public health laboratories try to look at diseases across populations, considering time and geography.  This helps health officials assess the health of the public at large, identify emerging disease threats, design and monitor effective interventions, and develop public health policy.

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