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

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Employee e-tips

Worksite wellness coordinators are encouraged to email these tips to their employees. Coordinators can also cut and paste the contents of each tip into a separate document to send to employees.

August 2016

Employee e-tip: culture (DOC) 

July 2016

Employee e-tip: mental well being (DOC) 

June 2016

Employee e-tip: finding your sense of purpose (DOC) 

May 2016

Employee e-tip: back to basics (DOC) 

April 2016

Employee e-tip: what moves you? (DOC)
Employee e-tip supplementary material: switch for organizations (PDF) 

March 2016

Employee e-tip: bullying — more than just a bad day at work (DOC)

February 2016

Employee e-tip: who's got your back? (DOC)

Wellness by Design award

About the Wellness by Design award

The county recognizes and shares your successful employee health promotion efforts with the Wellness by Design award which now occurs every other year.

For 2015, the county added a +Green designation to recognize worksites who do their part to minimize their impact on the environment.

The 2017 Wellness by Design application is a draft for worksites to learn from. It should not be filled out until early 2017.

2017 Wellness by Design application draft (DOC)

Any worksite in Hennepin County can apply. For questions, contact Linda Brandt at or 612-596-1511.

2014-2015 Wellness by Design winners

More than 80 organizations and businesses received the Wellness by Design award. Read summaries about the winners (DOC).

Watch award winners' videos

Reasons to apply for the award

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 - 2015 (PDF)


News and events

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 the 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 Hennepin County Worksite Advisory Council (DOCX) 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 and resources for your worksite.

To learn more about upcoming Health@Work events, join the Health@Work's LinkedIn group and "like" Hennepin County Public Health's Facebook page

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


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. Learn more at the Sweet Deception website.

    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 Cynthia Thompson 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 a needs assessment


    Nutrition videos - new in 2016

    Fruits and vegetables

    Special diets 

    Cardiovascular disease grocery shopping (heart healthy diet) (Video) 

    Managing and preparing a diabetes diet (Video) 

    How to prepare a dysphagia diet (Video)

    How to prepare thickened liquids (Video)

    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 Introduction to the Nutrition Video Series.

    Nutrition 1

    Session video

    Plan a healthy diet using different food groups


    Nutrition 2

    Session video

    Explore the difference between nutrient-rich and nutrient poor foods


    Nutrition 3

    Session video

    Use the nutrition label to make better food choices


    Nutrition 4

    Session video

    Recognize food sources of fats, sugar and sodium


    Nutrition 5

    Session video

    Get more nutrient-rich foods for less


    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

    More recipes


    Practice what you’ve learned.

    Wellness for Every Body nutrition e-Learning module

    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

    Session video

    Build fitness routines for all ability levels


    Physical activity 2

    Session video

    Add physical activity into everyday life


    Physical activity 3

    Session video

    Find low-cost/free physical activity options every day


    Action plan sample


    Practice what you’ve learned in 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 in the 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 Cynthia Thompson at or call 612-348-5618.

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