SHIP - State Health Improvement Partnership

The Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) seeks to create sustainable, systemic changes in schools, worksites, communities and health care organizations to make it easier for Minnesotans to incorporate healthy behaviors into their daily lives.

SHIP, an integral part of Minnesota’s nation-leading 2008 health reform law, strives to help Minnesotans lead longer, healthier lives by preventing the chronic disease risk factors of tobacco use and exposure, poor nutrition and physical inactivity.

Watch this brief two minute video to better understand SHIP.

SHIP - State Health Improvement Program

Sherburne Strong


Based on the requirements for setting and risk factor, Sherburne County selected these strategies:

  • Active Schools
    The Active Schools strategy involves implementing policies and practices that increase opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day including:
    • Safe Routes to School (SRTS) : SRTS encourages active transportation by making it easier for students to walk and bike to and from school
    • Quality Physical Education: Physical Education classes include Walk! Bike! Fun! Curriculum PDF to teach children about traffic rules and skills needed to walk and bike safely
    • Active Classrooms: Integrates more physical activity into students’ days through classroom trainings and policy changes
    • Healthy Fundraising
    • National Walk and Bike to School Day
    • Active before/after school day options
    • Active recess
  • Healthy School Foods
    All healthy eating initiatives focus on the following four goals: increasing access to fruits and vegetables, decreasing access to foods high in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. This does not include the school lunch program. Strategies for SHIP 4 include:
    • Healthy Snacks and Classroom Celebrations: Working with schools to offer healthy snacks and foods at celebrations and fundraisers
    • School Gardens
    • School Health Councils
    • School Policies
  • Active Living in Communities
    The objective is to increase walking and bicycling in the community. Sherburne County is working jointly with Benton, Stearns and Wright Counties on a regional approach to this strategy.

    The Public Health Divisions of Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright Counties, working together under the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), have developed a Regional Active Transportation Plan that identifies a set of strategies that can be implemented by SHIP staff and/or community partners in the region. The goal of the Plan is to increase the amount of walking and biking for those of all ages and abilities in the four-county region, and to make active transportation a part of the normal, daily routine of residents.

    Partner with us! SHIP offers technical assistance, tools and guidance to partners interested in implementing complete streets policies, developing master plans or applying for Bicycle and Walk Friendly Community designations. Visit the Regional Active Transportation Plan Website for details!

    Sherburne County Public Works is also improving opportunities for active living. With the assistance of SHIP funds, Public Works has updated the Sherburne County Park, Trails and Active Living Plan PDF .

  • Healthy Eating in Communities
    This strategy is designed to increase access to and selection of healthier foods in Sherburne County. The goal is to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, and reduce consumption of saturated fats, sodium and added sugars.
    • Hunger Free Sherburne County : Sherburne Strong works collaboratively with the Sherburne County Hunger Free Coalition to eliminate hunger in our communities. Visit our website for resources on fighting hunger, or contact us to be involved.
    • Farmers Markets: One way to increase access to healthy foods is to partner with local farmers markets. SHIP offers technical assistance to help markets accept electronic benefits transfer (EBT) .
    • Comprehensive Plans: Using tools from the MN Food Charter Food Access Planning Guide , SHIP strives to strengthen the connection between land use, planning and food. The goal is to design communities in a way that promotes access to healthy, safe and affordable food. We offer education, resources, proven policy strategies and recommended planning and zoning language for comprehensive plans.
  • Worksite Wellness
    Businesses play an important role in promoting the health of their employees. Studies indicate that better health is associated with higher employee productivity, decreased absenteeism, decreased health care costs, and increased safety and morale . The worksite wellness strategy focuses on improving healthy eating, physical activity, breastfeeding support, and tobacco-free policies within businesses in Sherburne County.

    Sherburne County has partnered with Benton and Stearns Counties to develop a Worksite Wellness Collaborative called Tri Wellness at Work PDF !

    What is Tri Wellness at Work?
    • Tri Wellness at Work is a workplace wellness collaborative in Benton, Sherburne and Stearns Counties.
    • 15 total businesses meet together monthly to learn about best practices for workplace wellness.
    • Experts provide practical steps that can be implemented on-site to support health, increase employee morale, improve productivity, and reduce health-care costs.
    • Topics for discussion include healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco-free living, breastfeeding support, and stress management. Who is involved?
    • Learning Group - all 15 new businesses meet monthly to learn about policies and practices they can introduce within their own organizations.
    • Network Group - previous collaborative members meet quarterly to learn from one another, share success stories and review new information for each of the topic areas.

    Sherburne County businesses involved with the learning group:
    • Becker Schools
    • City of Elk River
    • Cornerstone
    • Elk River Schools
    • North Memorial Clinic

    Sherburne County businesses involved with the network group:
    • Big Lake Schools
    • City of Becker
    • Bank of Elk River
    • City of Big Lake
    • Greater MN Family Service
    • Guardian Angels
    • Sherburne County

    If your organization is interested in workplace wellness, we will be recruiting for a new learning group next summer! Please contact us for more information.

  • Child Care
    The Child Care Strategy seeks to improve nutrition and physical activity practices in child care programs, ultimately leading to changes in young children's eating and activity habits, preferences and behaviors. In addition, breastfeeding classes are available for new parents, and support is offered to improve breastfeeding practices in Early Childhood and Family Education (ECFE) Programs.
    • Learning About Nutrition Through Activities (LANA): The LANA Preschool Program helps young children learn to taste, eat and enjoy more fruits and vegetables. Early Childhood and Family Education (ECFE) Programs in Big Lake and Elk River have implemented the LANA curriculum into their programs.
    • I Am Moving I am Learning (IMIL) and Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH Early Childhood - Physical Activity): Trainings are offered to help child care providers improve the quantity and quality of physical activity and movement opportunities for the children in their care.
    • Breastfeeding: Trainings are offered to help child care providers learn about best practices in child care programs and how to support new mothers returning to work. Free breastfeeding classes for parents are also offered through the ECFE Programs in Big Lake and Elk River.
  • Tobacco-Free Living
    The Tobacco-Free Living strategy strives to reduce and prevent tobacco use among youth and adults, and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.

    Strategies for SHIP 4 include:
    • Increase access to tobacco cessation programs in the community.
    • Support the development of tobacco-free policies in parks, businesses, etc.
    Resources for Tobacco Free Living:
  • Health Care
    The SHIP approach to Health Care focuses on both patients and employees in health care systems. Sherburne County will make an effort to:
    • Recruit at least one health care site to join the Worksite Wellness Collaborative.
    • Partner with local clinics and hospitals to enhance preventive health services related to tobacco cessation, obesity prevention, and falls prevention for older adults.

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    Community Leadership Team

    To establish and grow community support for policy, system and environmental change work in obesity prevention and tobacco use and control, Sherburne County developed a Community Leadership Team. Individuals from a variety of sectors come together to act as a steering committee for the Sherburne County SHIP grant through decision making and providing expertise in specific sectors. The CLT promotes the work of Sherburne County SHIP to the community and decision makers, and guides SHIP efforts within the community. Current team members include:

    • Brad Schnitzler, ISD-727
    • Charlotte Strei, RSVP
    • Debbi Rydberg, Elk River Chamber of Commerce
    • Hannah Dockendorf, BLEND
    • Jamie Cassidy, City of Becker
    • Joy Nadeau, Sherburne County United Way
    • Rachel Hilyar, ISD- 728
    • Katie Gruber, BLEND
    • Karen Pensinger, Community Member
    • Kylie Erickson, YMCA Elk River
    • Lisa Fobbe, Sherburne County Commissioner
    • Mandy Feeks, Community Health Coordinator
    • Mary Bauer, Central MN Council on Aging
    • Marzell Gray, Student/Community Member
    • Meghan Bown, Crave the Change
    • Melissa Pribyl, CentraCare Health
    If you are interested in being involved with the Community Leadership Team, please contact Mandy Feeks.



    SHIP uses a variety of communication tactics to inform and educate decision makers, partners, the media, and community members. As a part of this communications plan, Sherburne County SHIP rebranded as Sherburne Strong.

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    Results PDF


    Fact Sheets PDF

    The Statewide Health Improvement Program SHIP Fact Sheets Settings Fact Sheets



    Is this some sort of program?

    No, in fact it is the opposite. The focus of SHIP is sustainability - being able to make policy, system and environmental changes and build upon these healthy improvements continually.

    How is this related to health reform?

    SHIP - Interventions
    • Community
      People are ultimately responsible for the lifestyle choices they make related to health. However, the best predictor of health behavior and long-lasting successful behavior change is often the community in which a person lives
    • Healthcare
      In order to improve the health of Minnesotans and reduce health care costs, it is critical that Minnesota's health care systems make reducing obesity and tobacco use a top priority.
    • Schools
      School-age children and youth spend roughly half of their waking hours in school. By creating school systems that continue to support healthy school environments and model healthy behavior, everyone benefits.
    • Worksite
      Businesses and worksites are a vital part of wellness efforts, uniquely situated to help support healthy behavior among employees. A comprehensive worksite wellness effort strives to reach all employees regardless of health status.



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    Sherburne County Govt Center
    13880 Business Center Dr NW
    Suite 100
    Elk River, MN 55330-4668

    Office Location & Hours

    Phone: 763-765-4000
    Fax: 763-765-4096
    Contact Sherburne County with your questions, comments and feedback

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