Duluth community works to turn MDH health report into positive outcomes

By KBJR News 1

May 20, 2014 Updated May 21, 2014 at 1:28 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A massive report from the Minnesota Department of Health has found, among other disparities, that the state's African American and American Indian infants are twice as likely to die in their first year as white babies.

It's those health inequities and disparities that are shaping the future of Minnesota's health conversation.

On Monday evenng, MDH Assistant Commissioner Jeanne Ayers presented to over 100 interested Northlanders the report "Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota" at the Damiano Center in Duluth.

Months of community input from across the state went into shaping the report, which calls into question the role that current state systems play in either creating or diminishing healthy communities.

Ayers says, like racial disparities, health disparities don't come about on their own.

"They're created through policies and through systems, and that's what we say," said Ayers. "When we're talking about the capacity to act, the ability to actually impact those decisions leads to better outcomes."

Those in attendance said the goal of session was to build the framework for an action plan in the Duluth community.

Legislatively, Ayers says the report helped shape the state's minimum wage debate before passing.

Billy Wagness