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Bridging Health Duluth Hosts Second Annual Luncheon to Build a Healthier Community

The Shaping a Healthy Communities luncheon focuses on three priority areas: youth substance abuse, mental health and food insecurity. The Shaping a Healthy Communities luncheon focuses on three priority areas: youth substance abuse, mental health and food insecurity.  |  Photo: WDIO/Alicia Tipcke

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: October 23, 2019 02:10 PM

Bridging Health Duluth, a community health collaborative, hosted their second annual Shaping a Healthy Communities luncheon Wednesday at Clyde Iron Works in Duluth.

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The purpose of the lunch was to share the results of its 2020-2022 Community Health Needs Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan. According to the CDC, such assessments serve to address key public health problems in a given population after systemic data collection.

This assessment in Duluth identified three priority issues in the area: youth substance use, mental health and food insecurity. 

"We've been able to go through a process where we not only identify the issues, but help prioritize the strategies with the community. When we're able to bring multiple people together, multiple stakeholders, that maximizes the impact," said Josh Gorham, the Program Coordinator with St. Louis County Public Health.

The luncheon served to align resources, skills, expertise and interests with community organizations and community members to collaborate towards a healthier Duluth. 

"We are just trying to collaborate. We understand that the needs that we're trying to address, these big problems of mental health and food insecurity are just extremely complicated problems that no one organization is going to be able to solve on their own. [We are] bringing people together to work on how we can all collectively address these issues in our community," said Emily Anderson, the Community Health Director at Essentia Health.

Last year's priorities of mental health, social determinants and hunger led to the creation of Northland Healthy Minds and the implementation of the Farm to School initiative in Duluth.

Northland Healthy Minds serves the Duluth community, working to reduce and end the stigma around mental illness. Farm to School connects healthy and local food produces with early care and education sites to teach children about fresh food.

The collaboration effort led to new farmers markets as well as a matching dollars program at farmers markets to make food more affordable for people using EBT.

Bridging Health Duluth's member organizations include Essentia Health, St. Luke's Hospital, St. Louis County Public Health, Generations Health Care Initiatives and Zeitgeist. 

Click here for more information on how to get involved with Bridging Health Duluth.

Credits

Alicia Tipcke

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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