Heart of New Ulm: Heart of New Ulm ready for 2019 and beyond

Happy New Year, New Ulm, and a heartfelt thank you! On behalf all of us at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF), we express our deepest appreciation to everyone in New Ulm who has contributed to the tremendous success of The Heart of New Ulm Project (HONU) since 2009. It’s been absolutely amazing to see how the community has rallied together to inspire and support each other in creating a culture of wellness for everyone. MHIF could not have done it without your support, initiative and willingness to test out new ideas and approaches. Because of you, HONU has been a trailblazer in moving health outside the walls of the health system to ensure the places in New Ulm where people live, learn, work and play all support and promote easy, healthful choices.

It’s hard to believe, but as 2019 kicks off, HONU is starting its 11th year and is beginning an exciting new phase. Now that MHIF has finished its research phase for HONU, we’re pleased to turn over the reins to a passionate group of community leaders prepared to maintain and expand on the work of the past decade. This new year marks HONU’s official first year as an initiative that’s entirely owned and driven by the New Ulm community.

With a vision to “support a culture of wellness,” HONU is now focused on three significant and widespread health issues: 1) Healthy lifestyles across the lifespan, 2) Mental health, and 3) Addiction and risky use of substances. The project is led by a 12-member Community Leadership Team, along with more than 80 of your friends, neighbors or coworkers who volunteer on 12 Action Teams and represent 35 organizations. They’re all eager, committed, and full of energy and ideas to continue working to improve people’s health in the three focus areas through many different avenues.

The hard work over the last 10 years has paid off. Not only have people who live or work in New Ulm embraced more active lifestyles and healthier eating, but these have translated into positive health outcomes, too. As a community, you’ve improved your blood pressure and cholesterol, stabilized your weight even as you’ve gotten older, quit smoking and become more engaged with your health care when you see your doctor in the clinic. Thanks to all your work, HONU is now considered a national model for improving health in rural communities, and MHIF is working to help other communities, especially throughout the Midwest, learn from New Ulm’s experience.

Throughout 2018, MHIF conducted several final evaluations, including surveys of community members, employers, restaurant owners/managers and health care providers. MHIF’s research team is also analyzing electronic health record data to provide a more comprehensive view of the health of New Ulm residents age 40-79 (HONU’s target audience for reducing heart attacks), and will be working with the State of Minnesota to compare trends in heart attacks between New Ulm and the rest of the state. As soon as we complete our robust data analysis on these various evaluations, we’ll be sure to share the important results with you.

New Ulm has made fantastic strides and should be very proud of the work done so far. The HONU Leadership Team has an aggressive vision for New Ulm and is confident the community can — and will — live up to its full potential of being a vibrant, active and uniquely historic German community that supports healthy lifestyle choices at every turn for all residents and visitors. As we officially pass the torch to the HONU Community Leadership Team, Action Teams and ALL of you for the next leg of the journey, we have the utmost confidence that New Ulm will continue to keep health at the forefront. With your dedication and commitment, New Ulm is poised to thrive as not only a “City of Charm and Tradition,” but health, too. Best wishes for 2019 and beyond!

P.S. Be sure to visit HONU’s new website at www.heartofnewulm.com, For more information on how you can get involved with HONU, contact Jen Maurer at 507-217-5226; Jennifer.Maurer@allina or Cindy Winters at 507-217-5548; Cindy.Winters@allina.com.

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