News

Healthy Communities and Meeker McLeod Sibley Community Health Services works together to complete Community Health Assessment

April 22nd, 2021

Meeker McLeod Sibley Healthy Communities Collaborative works closely with Meeker McLeod Sibley Community Health Services (MMS CHS) and other partners during assessment periods, to share data sources, attend stakeholder sessions and work together to help each other complete the required work.  MMS CHS’s next assessment will take place in 2022-2023.

The Collaborative has a long and effective history of working together on various  programs, applying for grants and streamlining services. This community health assessment reflects the health status Meeker, McLeod and Sibley county residents.  The completed Community Health Assessment can be found here.

After completing the community health assessment a community health improvement planning team (including both local public health staff and community partners) determines priority health issues.  After further discussions and reviewing the data sources, Meeker McLeod Sibley Community Health Services determined the top three health priorities that will be the focus of the Community Health Improvement Plan during 2019 through 2022.

The top three concerns are:

  • Mental Well-being
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Use/Misuse

Healthy Communities Collaborative will continue to use the collective action approach which requires collaboration from all partners to work on overarching goals to address the community needs and establish common priority areas for health. Each agency/organization utilizes shared local public health data to work on interventions specific to their agency/organization and contribute as a whole to overall community goals.

Governor Walz Signs Tobacco 21 into Law

May 22nd, 2020

What does that mean for our community?

May 16th, 2020- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Tobacco 21 into state law. This makes Minnesota the 25th state to adopt such a law. Didn’t this same law get passed nationwide back in December? The answer is yes. Then why would the state have to pass an ordinance, you ask?

 

First, let’s bring it back to what led up to this point. In May of 2017, Edina was the first Minnesota city to pass Tobacco 21 due to the increased concern from residents and physicians. Fast forward to today and Minnesota has 75 local communities that have passed T21. Without local community support, the state would not have moved forward with this bill.

 

Tobacco 21, meaning the legal sales age for a person to buy tobacco products is set at 21 years, isn’t a totally new concept. It’s recently gained some ground with new findings and the increased youth epidemic centered on electronic cigarettes. With so many other communities going T21 across the nation, local communities could keep an eye on them to see if this was an effective approach to minimize youth use. In some communities; like Needham, Massachusetts, they were finding that tobacco usage among 15-17 year olds was decreased by 50% because of the law. The National Academy of Medicine estimates that Tobacco 21 would lead to youth reduction, including a 25 percent reduction in smoking initiation among 15-to-17-year-olds. T21 essentially removes the social source in High School, where 18 year olds are attending, thus removing the direct avenue for underage tobacco usage.

 

With the teen vaping rates sky rocketing, it pushed policymakers to take action. This past December, President Donald Trump signed a bill that included Tobacco 21. Since it’s a nationwide bill, it’s the law all over the country, right? Well not so fast. The bill just prohibits tobacco sales to minors (20 and under) but what is the penalty for selling or purchasing? That’s where it’s a little tricky. If a tobacco retailer were to be caught selling to minors, local law enforcement wouldn’t be able to enforce the law. They could only report that establishment to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and that may take a significant amount of time before any action happens. Now with the State of Minnesota moving forward with T21, this allows local jurisdictions to include T21 as part of their tobacco ordinance to ensure they abide by and coincide with state law. This will allow local law enforcements to enforce the T21 law. If they don’t have this included in their local tobacco ordinance, it leads to uncertainty among law enforcement and what they can/can’t do.

 

In Meeker, McLeod, and Sibley counties, only one community has passed T21 prior to state law, which was Litchfield. It was a long process that took close to a year to be approved, mainly because the city was updating their entire tobacco ordinance and not just T21. With Minnesota passing T21, it is safe to say that Litchfield played some part in helping make Minnesota’s decision a little easier.

Litchfield Gets Put on the T21 Map

February 28th, 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 marks the day that the new tobacco ordinance in Litchfield was officially passed. It will go into effect on March 4th. Litchfield joins 62 other communities in Minnesota to pass such a policy. Even though federal tobacco 21 was passed, it’s still important for local jurisdictions to follow suit. The federal T21 policy can only be enforced by federal entities, like the FDA. Now that Litchfield has included it in their own ordinance, local law enforcement can now enforce the policy.

Each city council member passed the ordinance unanimously. Even though it took a full year to get to this point, the council members did their due diligence and came together to agree on one ordinance. Other important policies in the new ordinance include; removal of Purchase-Use-Possession laws for minors, minimum distance between tobacco retailers, and updated definitions that include e-cigarettes. Litchfield has taken the leap to go T21 and 39% of Minnesota is now covered by a T21 policy.

 

Full image of the map can be found here.

We need Community members input!!!!!

November 7th, 2019

Healthy Communities is taking part in a Community Health Assessment process with Meeker McLeod Sibley Community Health Services and our local hospitals and clinics.

We would like to collect resident and stakeholder input to help identify the top 10 health priorities affecting Meeker, McLeod and Sibley Counties and influence future initiatives that Public Health will work on over the next 5 years.

We invite you to participate in our health priority ranking activity: https://www.mmshealthycommunities.org/activity-survey/

You are invited! Active Living Conference in Glencoe!

October 17th, 2019

 

Join your friends and neighbors as we learn about various community-based active living and health initiatives that are happening in our region. Several guest speakers will be sharing the exciting things they’re doing back in their communities, as we explore active living opportunities in Glencoe.

This is a free event sponsored by the City of Glencoe and McLeod County Public Health.

Questions?  Contact Dan Ehrke at the City of Glencoe or Kerry Ward at McLeod County Public Health.

It’s being held at the Glencoe City Center on Tuesday, October 29th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.