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City and its partners earn national recognition for efforts to improve health in Minneapolis
Minneapolis one of six cities to receive Roadmaps to Health prize from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Feb. 21, 2013 (MINNEAPOLIS) The City of Minneapolis and its many partners’ efforts to reduce obesity and tobacco use, prevent chronic disease, make Minneapolis the best biking city in the country, and improve educational achievement on the Northside has earned national recognition from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care.
Minneapolis is one of six inaugural winners of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) “Roadmaps to Health” prize. The prize honors outstanding community partnerships across the United States which are helping residents live healthier lives. The City received a cash prize of $25,000 in recognition of its efforts and was honored on Wednesday at an event held at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey.
“This award recognizes what can happen when a City gets creative and engages the community and partners on new ways to improve people’s lives,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak. “The City and its partners have made great strides in improving the health of Minneapolis, but more can still be done. With additional state funding through the State Health Improvement Program, we can build on our successes and continue on a path of progress.”
“These prize winners represent leadership at its finest—trailblazers creating a culture of health,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “Today we honor leaders from government, business, public health, health care, and education who stand shoulder-to-shoulder working toward better health. The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize shines a light on their accomplishments; we hope it will inspire others to take bold steps to improve health in their communities.”
Minneapolis was chosen to receive this award for many of its successful efforts to improve overall health in the city.
Reducing obesity and tobacco use
Since 2009, the City and its dozens of partners were part of SHIP Minneapolis (now called Healthy Living Minneapolis). This effort was a collection of projects intended to improve access to healthy foods and increase opportunities for physical activity and smoke-free living. With a two-year grant from the Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and Community Transformation grant federal funding, the City and its partners created healthier environments in more than 225 settings and helped institute a new smoke-free building policy at Riverside Plaza, home to more than 5,000 residents.
The City also instituted many programs and policies to increase access to healthy food. The City’s health department created the Healthy Corner Store program to increase the variety, quality and affordability of fruits and vegetables at 37 convenience stores. Some stores saw produce sales increase by as much as 70 percent. Through Homegrown Minneapolis, the City improved and increased opportunities for growing healthy food by creating the Urban Agriculture Plan and making it easier for groups to create community gardens.
Connecting clinics and communities to prevent chronic disease
The Minneapolis Health Department joined with community and clinic partners to improve patient care at selected clinics affecting 60,000 patients. The goals of these partnerships were to:
- Assess patient risk factors including body mass index, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco/alcohol use
- Discuss assessment results with patients
- Refer patients to effective clinic- and community-based resources
- Follow-up on patient progress and seek reimbursement for better management of chronic conditions through health care payers.
This collaborative effort continues to coordinate and mobilize heath care and community stakeholders to improve the clinical care that is provided to thousands of city residents.
Making Minneapolis the most bikeable city
Minneapolis has become one of the highest ranked biking and walking cities in the country, through infrastructure improvements, making biking and walking resources more available and affordable, and creating a culture where biking and walking are the norm.
The city’s biking and walking infrastructure now totals 167 miles of bikeways and 1,800 miles of sidewalks in Minneapolis. In 2011 alone, 35 miles of streets were upgraded to bikeway status, bringing the number of miles of on-street bikeways to from 45 to 80. Biking and walking resources have also become more available and affordable through such initiatives as the Nice Ride bike share program, and the Midtown Bike Walk Center and the Venture North Bike Walk Coffee Shop, which serve residents in low-income neighborhoods. Many of these accomplishments are the result of the City of Minneapolis, Transit for Livable Communities, local non-profits, residents and bike advocates working together to make Minneapolis one of the best biking cities in the country.
Closing the education achievement gap
The Northside Achievement Zone works with more than 50 organizations, including the City of Minneapolis, to improve educational outcomes and build a culture of achievement in north Minneapolis to ensure that all youth are college ready after graduating from high school. The program started in 2010 and moves families through a “cradle to college to career” pipeline. The initial goal of the Northside Achievement Zone was to enroll 150 families in the program, and to date, 166 families with 450 children have enrolled. Another 144 children families are expected to enroll by the end of this year.
About the “Roadmaps to Health” award
Minneapolis was among six communities selected for the award from more than 160 applications. The other winning communities are Santa Cruz County, Calif; New Orleans; Cambridge, Mass.; Fall River, Mass.; Manistique, Mich. For more information about the RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize and a video profile of Minneapolis visit www.rwjf.org.
The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize is part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program. In 2009, RWJF partnered with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to create the County Health Rankings. The Rankings serve as an easy-to-use health snapshot of the many factors that influence health, and help community leaders identify areas where improvement is needed. The County Health Roadmaps project supports communities working together to make progress on those factors. Find out more at www.countyhealthrankings.org.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter (@RWJF) and Facebook (facebook.com/RobertWoodJohnsonFoundation).
About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute is the focal point within the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health for translating public health and health policy research into practice. The Institute strives to:
- Address a broad range of real-world problems of topical importance to government, business, providers and the public;
- Promote partnerships of inquiry between researchers and users of research, breaking down barriers between the academic community and public and private sector policy makers; and
- Make useful contributions to public health and health policy decisions that improve the health of the public.
For more information, visit http://uwphi.pophealth.wisc.edu.
Published Feb. 21, 2013