Partnership strives to reduce impact of chronic disease on Minnesotans

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By Naomi Ogaldez

Partnership strives to reduce impact of chronic disease on Minnesotans

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic and the George Family Foundation are leading supporters of the newly formed Southeast Minnesota Partnership for Community-Based Health Promotion. A key aim of this partnership is to extend the care that occurs in Southeast Minnesota health systems into the communities. The partnership will focus first on incorporating clinical referrals of effective, community-based programs into routine primary care treatment strategies. The new program is called Living Well with Chronic Conditions (formally known as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program).

“The goal of this partnership is to fundamentally change the way individuals and communities in Southeast Minnesota experience life with chronic health conditions,” says Aaron Leppin, M.D., a research associate in Mayo Clinic’s Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 out of every 10 deaths in the U.S. are the result of chronic disease. In Southeast Minnesota, Community Health Needs Assessments consistently identify chronic disease management as an area of priority.

Media Contacts: Colette Gallagher and Naomi Ogaldez, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, newsbureau@mayo.edu 

This project, which will impact 11 counties in Southeast Minnesota, aims to develop a sustainable infrastructure that can connect people to any number of effective, community-based resources, such as programs to prevent diabetes, promote physical activity and reduce fall risks.

“These programs are being offered in the community, but the right people are not aware of them or their value,” says Lori Christiansen, coordinator of evidence-based programs at the Southeast Minnesota Area Agency on Aging.

The Living Well with Chronic Conditions program aims to increase participants’ confidence and skills for self-management. The program focuses on equipping individuals with life skills, such as problem-solving, decision-making and the creation of weekly action plans. Topics such as exercise, nutrition and managing stress also are discussed. Program workshops are offered across the region and take place in community settings, such as clinics, churches and community centers.

Living Well with Chronic Conditions was first brought to Minnesota by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Health. County health departments promote the program.

The Southeast Minnesota project is supported by the Catalyst Initiative of the George Family Foundation, with research support funded by the Mayo Center for Clinical and Translational Science Office of Community Engagement in Research. Mayo Clinic researchers will lead a community-partnered effort to study the implementation and effectiveness of the Southeast Minnesota Partnership’s activities.

Patients, community partners, public health professionals, payers and health providers are invited to attend the Southeast Minnesota Partnership for Community-Based Health Promotion Regional Stakeholders Meeting. Attendees will be able to meet and collaborate to improve health outcomes for people living with chronic conditions in Southeast Minnesota. The meeting will take place on Monday, July 13, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Kahler Apache Event Center, 1517 16th St. SW, Rochester, Minnesota. RSVP by Monday, July 6, to Lori Chistiansen, Southeast Minnesota Area Agency on Aging, at lori@semaaarochestermn.org or 507-288-6944.

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