Changing the Narrative About What Creates Health—Essential Steps in Improving Population Health in Minnesota


The goal of Changing the Narrative about What Creates Health— Essential Steps in Improving Population Health is to bring about critical change to effectively address the social determinants of health and achieve health equity. Launched in 2011 by the Minnesota Health Department, this initiative shifts the responsibility for health to a community level to address the conditions in which all people can be healthy through policy, systems, and environmental changes. Key strategies include: the creation of a Healthy Minnesota 2020 framework that engages partners in all sectors; community engagement via the Healthy Minnesota Partnership, establishment of cabinet-level committee on Health in All Policies; a State Health Improvement Program that outlines policy, systems, and environmental changes; and creation of Accountable Communities for Health. By focusing the narrative on what creates health (beyond the health system), community agencies and groups have become involved in health policies contributing to policy changes including: anti-bullying law; minimum wage increase; smoke-free campuses and apartments; and complete street ordinances. Minnesota has also shown decreasing rates of childhood obesity and youth tobacco use, and increasing rates of breastfeeding. This initiative is funded by State Health Department grants. To read more about this innovative program, see this brief summary [link].