Stassen, Erdman, Norland, Denney, and Baumgarn recognized.

    Polk County Public Health is celebrating National Public Health Week April 7-13.

    Every April, PCPH comes together to celebrate public health and renew its commitment to promoting healthier communities, schools and workplaces. Most people do not understand what public health is, much less how it impacts their daily lives. Public health affects all of us on a daily basis as we are only as healthy as the world we live in.

    Public health professionals:
    • Analyze the effect on health of genetics, personal choice and the environment in order to develop services that protect the health of your family and community
    • Protect the health of entire populations, which can be as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country
    • Work toward preventing problems from happening or re-occurring through educational programs, developing policies, administering services, partnering with health systems and other health professions, and conducting research
    • Reduce health disparities, fight for health care equity, quality, and accessibility

    Polk County Public Health is grateful to have many individuals who volunteer their time, skills, and abilities in various activities and projects that nurture and strengthen our communities. These individuals advocate for improvement and expansion of public health in their families, schools, workplaces and communities. As part of NPHW, Polk County Public Health would like to take the time to acknowledge its "Public Health Champions."

    • The first champion that Polk County Public Health would like to thank is Shannon Stassen. Shannon is the former executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and the current City Administrator of Crookston. Shannon partners with Public Health in many different forms including being current chairperson of the Polk County Wellness Coalition, which works to encourage and promote healthy choices and behaviors for all residents throughout the county. Shannon has also worked hand in hand to create change in Crookston through the work of Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) by encouraging and creating an environment that offers choices for people to be healthy and active.

    • Another person that Public Health would like to recognize as a Public Health Champion is Polk County Sheriff Barb Erdman. Barb has been active in the Polk County Wellness Coalition and was one that initiated the conversations, helped to secure funding and brought interested stakeholders together to form the Towards Zero Death Coalition, which is a grant that works through Public Health. These are just a few of the many ways in which she helps advocate and support the work done at Polk County Public Health.

    • Lieutenant Brad Norland of the Minnesota State Patrol is also another person that Public Health would like to recognize as a Polk County Public Health Champion. Brad has been an active member of the Towards Zero Death Campaign from the start back in October of 2012. Brad remains dedicated to keeping our roads safe by educating young drivers about the risks associated with distracted driving. Last spring, before prom and graduation season, and through is own initiative, he secured the use of a driving simulator and brought it to Polk County high schools to demonstrate just how quickly a crashes occur when the driver takes his/ her eyes off of the road.

    • Tim Denney is the training and workability director at Northwestern Mental Health Center. Tim has dedicated himself to making sure that all the dots are connected to people throughout the community. Tim has been active on the Polk County Wellness Coalition, Towards Zero Death Coalition and also on the Polk-Norman-Mahnomen SHIP Community Leadership Team. Tim is always willing to share his wealth of knowledge and experience with these groups to help strengthen the work they do.

    • Norm Baumgarn, superintendent of Climax-Shelly Schools, has worked in the field of education for over 40 years and has been an advocate for healthy choices throughout his career. He attributes his passion for healthy living to his mother, who was a dietician. Norm has always been active in the menu planning in his schools and has partnered with local farmers and various grant and food programs to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for his students.  Norm is willing to share his knowledge and values with collaborative partners throughout the region. PCPH thanks him for being such a great advocate for health.