It's free, it's on Friday, and it's at the U of M, Crookston.

    Through the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), Polk County Public Health and Norman-Mahnomen Public Health are on a “mission” to showcase community success stories, discuss sustainable solutions for reducing health care costs and how to build healthier communities. Your participation and input is one of several ways you can get involved in creating healthier communities now and in the future.

    The Healthy Community Forum will be held on Friday, Jan. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring James G. Koppel, Minnesota deputy commissioner of health, at the University of Minnesota, Crookston Bede Ballroom.

    “In Polk, Norman and Mahnomen counties and all throughout the region, the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) has done tremendous work toward building healthier communities,” said Koppel. “It’s important we recognize those successes and inform people about the good work going on in their community.”

    The forum will discuss the initiatives underway that are making healthy choices easier. The Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), a program of the Minnesota Department of Health, helps support Eat Well, Move More, Be Well, a local effort to help people live longer, healthier lives by reducing chronic disease. Local SHIP success stories will be featured including farmers markets, school gardens and worksite wellness programs.

    The emcee for the event is Dawn Ganje, an Ada, Minn. resident who is currently working as the program officer for training at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.  She previously worked with Children’s and Families Collaboratives in seven counties of northwest Minnesota, all of which were inaugural partners in the SHIP program.

    Koppel was appointed in April 2011 to serve as deputy commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health. As deputy commissioner, Koppel serves as the chief of staff of Minnesota’s lead public health agency, responsible for protecting, maintaining and improving the health of all Minnesotans.

    Free Parking is available in Parking Lot A on the U of M, Crookston campus. Lunch will be provided. This event is free; however an RSVP is encouraged for accurate planning. Register at

    For more information related to local SHIP efforts or to register for the forum contact: Tammy Carlsrud, RN, SHIP co-coordinator at 218 935-2527 or or  Kirsten Fagerlund, PHN, SHIP co-coordinator at 281-3385 or Learn more at