It may be a bit difficult for those of us who live here and are part of it to see, but the Hearts Beat Back: Heart of New Ulm project is big news in the world of health care and medicine.
The fact that U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin traveled here on Saturday to observe one event associated with the project gives us all an idea that this program to make this a healthier community is considered important.
It certainly made news when it was first announced, perhaps as much for its big, attention-getting goal - to eliminate heart attack deaths in New Ulm within 10 years. But it has big implications for the contribution it is making to another debate - what is the best way to provide health care in this country? Health care providers know it is much cheaper to prevent disease than to treat it, but getting people to adopt healthier lifestyles isn't that easy.
In the Heart of New Ulm, health care professionals are taking a leadership role, engaging with the community and using its medical data to identify risks. It is working with restaurants and stores to provide better nutrition options, and encouraging exercise groups and programs through neighborhood and workplace groups.
If it works here, it can be a lesson for other communities.
Here's to the Heart of New Ulm's success and to our health.