Public Health Promotion

By promoting healthy behaviors and environments for all Hennepin County residents, Public Health Promotion works to reduce chronic diseases and associated health-care costs.

Active living, healthy eating and a tobacco-free lifestyle are the cornerstones of healthy living. Lack of physical activity, a poor diet, and tobacco use or exposure are the leading causes of preventable death and disease in the United States. By focusing on places where people live, learn, work, and play, Public Health Promotion works to make it easier for residents to choose and maintain healthy lifestyles. 

The Step To It Challenge is a four-week physical activity campaign that motivates people of all ages and abilities to become more physically active. Learn more about the Step To It Challenge.

Wellness by Design award 

The Wellness by Design award promotes healthy workplaces. Award applications can be taken until March 27, 2015.

Watch how one recent award winner improved employee health.

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Wellness by Design award applications due March 27

Hennepin County is eager to recognize and share your successful employee health promotion efforts with the Wellness by Design award. This year the county has added a +Green designation to recognize worksites who do their part to minimize their impact on the environment. Any worksite in Hennepin County can apply.

Past winners cite three top reasons to apply for Wellness by Design recognition: 

1. Increase your program's visibility and buy-in from employees. "We really appreciated the award, which is displayed at our front desk. The more attention to this topic the better!"

2. Increase management support for wellness. "Wellness by Design has been a great way to get my company leaders excited about wellness."

3. Benchmark your efforts with other top worksite programs. "We have used this award to educate our management and employees about how we met the criteria of the gold award. It has helped the "legitimacy" of our wellness program and recognizes what we need to in the future..."

See all past winners 2006 - 2013 (PDF)

Apply by March 27, 2015. Apply online.

Note: Wellness by Design now occurs every other year.


News and events

Step To It Challenge

The 2015 Step To It Challenge is happening May 3 ― 30. Health@Work invites you and your worksite to take part in this fun, friendly physical activity campaign. So make a move and join us for the Step To It training on Tuesday, March 24. Sign up for the trainingLearn more about Step To It.

Creating a Mother Friendly Workplace

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 
9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Ridgedale Library, RHR Conference Room
12601 Ridgedale Dr.
Minnetonka, MN 55305
$20 per person in advance or $25 per person for same-day registration
Register for Creating a Mother Friendly Workplace

Advancing worksite wellness in Hennepin County

Health@Work offers a wide array of low- and no-cost services and resources to help employers in Hennepin County promote healthy worksites and employees.

Read more

Health@Work campaign overviews (DOCX)

Networking and consultations

  • Active@Work Consultations — Active@Work staff will come to your worksite and conduct a worksite physical activity support assessment, create an action plan to increase employee physical activity, map a walking route for employees and provide additional technical assistance. The service is free. Email Anne Nelson at
  • Food@Work Consultations — Our staff will assess the nutrition environment at your organization, provide recommendations to support healthy eating among employees and offer healthy nutrition resources and technical assistance. The service is free. Email Maia Seitz at
  • Networking breakfasts — Attend these free events to hear from worksites that have made healthy changes, including health topics such as tobacco, nutrition, physical activity, employee benefits and work-life balance. There is also time for networking, asking questions and sharing ideas. A light breakfast is served. Email Linda Brandt at
  • The Worksite Advisory Council (PDF) was established to provide input and direction in making Health@Work health promotion activities relevant and helpful to worksite health promotion coordinators. Health@Work provides resources that promote healthier lifestyles for employees in organizations located in Hennepin County. Email Kelly Harjes at

Improving vending machine choices

Food choices, environment and lifestyle all impact our health. Our environment strongly influences what we eat by determining what is available and affordable. Vending machines may be the only source of food or snacks in some situations. Increasing healthy options in vending machines can make a big difference in health. The following resources can help you get healthier choices in your vending machines.

Available resources

Ask us about these challenges for your worksite.

For general information, email Linda Brandt at or call 612-348-6728.

Monthly E-Tips Newsletter

At the beginning of each month, Hennepin County Health@Work distributes an email containing tips for health promotion coordinators and others interested in learning how to create a healthier workforce.

See the most recent issues of the combined coordinator and employee e-tips newsletters below, and sign up by emailing Linda Brandt at to receive Health@Work monthly E-Tips emails.

February 2015

Coordinator e-tip: taking a stand (DOC)

Employee e-tip: don't just sit—or stand—there! (DOC)

January 2015

Coordinator e-tip: humor has a place at work (DOC)

Employee e-tip: a funny thing happened at work today (DOC)

December 2014

Coordinator e-tip: which came first - employee engagement or employee health (DOC)

Employee e-tip: stop clock watching (DOC)

November 2014

Coordinator e-tip: the changing tobacco landscape — e-cigarettes (DOC)

Employee e-tip: can vaping help you quit? (DOC)

October 2014

Coordinator e-tip: winning the weight war at work (DOC)

Employee e-tip: losing weight or controlling the creep (DOC)

September 2014

Coordinator e-tip: paying it forward at work (DOC)

Employee e-tip: from good to great! (DOC)

August 2014

Coordinator e-tip: fight the flu (DOCX)

Employee e-tip: a shot of prevention (DOC)

July 2014

Coordinator e-tip: how's your generational IQ (DOCX)

Employee e-tip: what makes your generation great (DOC)

June 2014

Coordinator e-tip: two sides of the coin—debt and savings (DOCX)

Employee e-tip: reach your financial Everest (DOC)

May 2014

Coordinator e-tip: working together for stroke prevention and awareness (DOC)

Employee e-tip: don't have a stroke (DOC 8MB)

April 2014

Coordinator e-tip: green is good (DOC)

Employee e-tip: spring has sprung (DOC)

March 2014

Coordinator e-tip: cancer connections (DOC)

Employee e-tip: the good and the bad news (DOC)

February 2014

Coordinator e-tip: gay—fine with me (DOC)

Employee e-tip: can we talk (DOC)


Creating safe, positive environments for learning

Hennepin County's partnerships within the schools and the community are helping create healthy school environments that reduce chronic disease, increase student attendance and achievement, and increase student and staff wellness.

Read more

The Importance of Public Health Initiatives in Schools (PDF)


Health@School staff are available to provide no-cost consultations on the following topics:

  • Active recess and other physical activity initiatives
  • Healthy cafeteria assessments and other healthy eating initiatives
  • Safe Routes to School
  • School climate initiatives
  • Tobacco-free K-12 schools
  • Tobacco-free post-secondary schools

Available resources

  • Coaches kit
  • Eat to Compete: A Coach's Playbook for a Winning Team
  • Health@School Online Health Resource Links
  • School climate toolkit

For information, email Catherine Stahl at or call 612-596-7467.

    Youth tobacco prevention

    Sweet Deception is raising awareness in Hennepin County to tobacco marketing practices that have been shown to increase tobacco use and initiation among adolescents. Flavored tobacco products in bright candy-colored packaging attract youth and harm their health. The campaign also suggests steps families and communities can take to protect kids from harmful tobacco. It promotes these concepts through community outreach efforts and billboard, bus, online, mobile, gas pump topper, print, radio, and other advertising.

    The following are American Lung Association “Lethal Lure” informational pieces being used in Hennepin County.

    For more information

    Sweet Deception is a joint initiative between Hennepin County and the cities of Minneapolis and Bloomington. Funding is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a Hennepin County Community Transformation grant and by a State of Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Program grant.

    Clinical systems improvement

    Hennepin County partners with clinics and clinic systems to create and implement new clinical delivery systems to reduce and prevent the incidence of chronic disease. Coordinated care models and community care teams are examples of work being done in area clinics. Health coach training is being offered by Hennepin County staff to health care providers working in primary care clinics.

    News and events

    Health coaching techniques embraced by several local clinics

    Hennepin County is partnering with several Hennepin County Medical Center and North Memorial Medical Center clinics to train medical personnel on health coaching techniques that allow patients to self-manage their health care and treatment.

    Clinical Systems Improvement initiatives are funded in part by the Minnesota Department of Health (Statewide Health Improvement Program), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Community Transformation Grant) and the University of Minnesota.

    Areas of focus

    • Community Care Team — The Hennepin County Medical Center Community Care Team is a collaboration of the medical center's staff and community partners. They work to address the health needs of residents living in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center. The goal is to connect residents with Hennepin County Medical Center clinics and with resources in the community to improve the health and wellness of residents. Email Catherine Brunkow at
    • Coordinated Care Team — Hennepin County provides assistance to clinics to develop care teams focused on improving patient outcomes, patient education and lifestyle change, and clinical data tracking. Email Renee Gust at
    • Health Coaching — Hennepin County staff members provide health coach training for medical staff in primary care clinics. The goals are to enhance the patient experience in primary care, improve clinical outcomes and quality of life, increase patient self-management skills, and off-load some work from the primary provider. Email Renee Gust at

    For general information, email Kali Aro at or call 612-348-5618.

    Wellness for Every Body nutrition and physical activity training

    Wellness for Every Body is a physical activity and nutrition initiative to help adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead healthier lives. Poor diets and inactivity are related to obesity, heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and people with disabilities have a higher rate of these chronic health conditions. Improved nutrition and increased physical activity can help control or prevent these conditions, resulting in an improved quality of life. This approach shifts the whole system in a healthier direction. By offering instruction to the people who work most closely with adults who have disabilities, this program aims to ensure that home and work environments provide opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

    Take the first step. Complete an assessment to determine your needs.

    Handouts - Sample model policy/guideline statement (PDF)Action plan template (DOC)

    Nutrition Training

    As any staff member providing support to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities knows, meal and snack times can be challenging. People’s food preferences, special diets, food budgets, staff time and staff knowledge all influence what is put on the table. This educational series developed by Hennepin County will help you better understand healthy eating and how it relates to the health of the people you support.

    The series consists of an introduction to the series and five nutrition video sessions and four cooking demonstrations. Each video is designed to build on the information from the one before it. Start with Nutrition 1 and work your way through the series, ending with the cooking demonstrations. After viewing each video, download and complete each quiz. Give all completed quizzes to your manager. After viewing all of the videos, practice what you’ve learned with the e-learning activity provided.

    Ready? Get started by viewing this: Introduction to the Nutrition Video Series.

    Nutrition 1 - Getting started: The basics of healthy eating

    Plan a healthy diet using different food groups.

    Handouts - Handy Portion Chart (PDF)Making a Healthier Pizza (PDF)Eat Well Plate chart (PDF)Fruits and Vegetables by Season (PDF)

    Nutrition 2 - Choosing foods that are good tasting and good for you

    Explore the difference between nutrient-rich and nutrient poor foods.

    Handouts - Fruits and Vegetables by Color (PDF),  Tips to increase calorie and protein intake (PDF)

    Nutrition 3 - Understanding nutrition labels: It’s not as hard as you think

    Use the nutrition label to make better food choices.

    Handouts -  Food and Drug Administration nutrition facts label (PDF)

    Nutrition 4 - The skinny on fats, sugar and sodium

    Recognize food sources of fats, sugar and sodium.

    Handout - Nonfood rewards (PDF)

    Nutrition 5 - Menu planning, budgeting and grocery shopping: Doing it right for less

    Get more nutrient-rich foods for less.

    Handouts - Menu planning basics for regular diets (PDF)menu plan template (PDF), sample weekly menus (PDF)

    Healthy cooking demonstration videos

    Learn healthy cooking techniques and methods to prepare quick, tasty recipes demonstrated by Chef Ross with the University of Minnesota Extension Service Simply Good Eating Program.

    Healthy Cooking Demonstrations

    Healthy skillet lasagna

    Corn and bean salad

    Stir fry

    Garden salad


    Practice what you’ve learned.

    Wellness for Every Body nutrition e-Learning module

    More recipes

    Physical Activity Training

    This training was developed in partnership with the Courage Center to help staff improve the physical activity environment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For best results, watch each of the three videos in order. Watch each video, then print and take the corresponding quiz. Give all completed quizzes to your manager. After viewing all of the videos, practice what you’ve learned with the e-learning activity provided.

    Physical Activity 1 – Improving balance, range of motion and function

    Build fitness routines for all ability levels.

    Handout - Physical activity basics (PDF)

    Physical Activity 2 – Bringing activity into daily routines

    Add physical activity into everyday life.

    Handout - Bringing activities into daily routines (PDF)

    Physical Activity 3 – Creative and inexpensive physical activity options

    Find low-cost/free physical activity options every day.

    Handout - Creative and inexpensive physical activity options (PDF)Reviewed fitness video/DVD handout (PDF)

    Action plan sample


    Practice what you’ve learned.

    Wellness for Every Body physical activity e-Learning module

    Program funders

    Public Health Promotion funding through Hennepin County is augmented by local, state and federal dollars that help bring about long-term, sustainable changes in the health of Hennepin County residents. They promote community partnerships and drive initiatives that improve health policies, systems and environments to reduce chronic disease, health disparities and health-care costs.

    Community Transformation Grant

    Funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this five-year grant focuses on four key contributors to good health and quality of life:

    • Active living
    • Healthy eating
    • Clinical systems improvement
    • Tobacco-free living


    Success stories

    2013 Agendas

    2013 Meeting minutes


    Read more: Minnesota Department of Health Community Transformation Grant Fact Sheet (PDF)

    Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP)

    Since 2009, this grant from the Minnesota Department of Health has been a springboard for innovative initiatives that focus on areas such as:

    • Active recess and other physical activity initiatives in schools
    • Healthy eating in schools
    • Health-care clinic systems improvements
    • Access to healthy foods in the community
    • Smoke-free, multi-unit housing initiatives
    • Worksite wellness

    Location map of current SHIP initiatives (PDF)

    Interactive SHIP 1, 2, and 3 intervention sites web map – View the SHIP data in a dynamic new format, which includes the ability to display each focus area listed above, along with access to individual site information. This mapping application is best viewed in full screen, using Chrome or Internet Explorer 9 or newer. Refer to our instructional document for helpful hints (PDF).

    News and events

    Success stories


    For more information about promoting public health, email Kali Aro at or call 612-348-5618.

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