Blue Earth County was recently awarded a Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) grant through the Minnesota Department of Health. The focus of SHIP is to improve health and save dollars by building stronger communities throughout the state through prevention strategies.
Grant dollars provided funding for Kristen Friedrichs to join the Blue Earth County Public Health team to oversee coordination of SHIP initiatives. Friedrichs comes with a wealth of experience in community health, having spent the last nine years at Open Door Health Center in Mankato.
“I’m excited to start a new challenge and that the position will allow me to work with community members to analyze needs, identify strategies and build recommendations to positively impact the health of our County’s residents,” stated Kristen Friedrichs, Blue Earth County SHIP Coordinator.
Friedrichs is beginning work to establish a community leadership team that will develop a proposal for the SHIP grant’s implementation phase to begin in July 2014. Those interested in learning more about the community leadership team or the Blue Earth County SHIP grant may contact Kristen at (507) 304-4411. Information about statewide SHIP efforts can be found at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/ship/.
About the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP)
SHIP is part of Minnesota’s Vision for a Better State of Health. The SHIP initiative is intended to reduce chronic health conditions and the rising cost of health care by focusing on addressing the top three leading preventable causes of illness and death: tobacco use and exposure, poor diet, and lack of regular physical activity. SHIP was started four years ago at a $47 million over two-years funding level. SHIP initiatives were instrumental during those years in making Minnesota State University, Mankato a smoke-free campus, in starting the Rosa Parks Walking School bus, in implementing the Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training (S.M.A.R.T.) curriculum in nine area schools, and in establishing/enhancing work-site wellness efforts at nine area worksites.
Funding was reduced by 70 percent in 2012, and Blue Earth County was not a funded county; however, the 2013 legislative session reinstated the original program at a $35 million over two-years funding level. The $100,000 grant that was distributed beginning in November helps Blue Earth County reinstate SHIP-related infrastructure and employees. In addition to establishing the SHIP coordinator position, this grant will involve a seven month planning phase to establish a Community Leadership Team who will develop proposals for the grant’s implementation phase to begin in July 2014. Planning is currently underway to recruit members for the Community Leadership Team.