Friday, March 9, 2012

Minnesota's SHIP program looks back on first two years

Minnesota's nationally recognized Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) has shown progress towards improving conditions linked to better health by partnering with hundreds of schools, clinics and workplaces across Minnesota, according to a report submitted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to the Legislature in March.

In communities across the state local SHIP efforts have launched new partnerships with businesses, farmers, schools, community groups, chambers of commerce, hospitals, health plans, city planners, county boards, tribal officials and more. These partners have successfully implemented changes in schools, health care systems, workplaces and at the broader community level that help assure the opportunity for better health for more Minnesotans. Click here to see the entire report, The Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Program SHIP Progress Brief - Year 2

"We are impressed by how Minnesota's businesses, schools, and communities have partnered with us and rallied around SHIP's goal of improving health by fostering and encouraging healthy choices for kids and adults alike," said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Commissioner of Health. The report reviews the program's first two years that ended June 30, 2011. SHIP was included in Minnesota's bipartisan health care reform legislation passed in 2008 as a strategy for curbing rising health care costs through prevention efforts.

SHIP's Year Two Highlights

    • SHIP has helped over 870 employers lead worksite wellness initiatives, reaching over 138,000 employees across the state.
    • Farm to School efforts are under way to increase access to local produce in at least 367 schools and 22 school districts across Minnesota, serving more than 200,000 students.
    • Farmers markets increase access to fruits and vegetables, a key component of healthy eating. During the first two years of SHIP, 160 new farmers markets have opened in Minnesota, an increase of 95 percent.
    • Over 110 schools, serving more than 77,000 students, are actively engaged in Safe Routes to School efforts that increase opportunities and support for youth to walk or bike to school.
    • 31 post-secondary schools are working to have tobacco-free campuses.
    • Approximately 255 cities are working to improve walkability and bikeability in their communities.
    • Over 500 child care sites have worked to improve nutrition, serving over 8500 children.
    • Over 900 child care sites are working on implementing practices to increase physical activity, serving over 20,000 children.
    • To prevent tobacco smoke exposure, six cities have adopted tobacco-free parks policies, and 14 additional cities are currently working on this strategy.
    • 227 apartment buildings have adopted smoke free policies. Another 142 are working toward it.