Minneapolis wins Kresge Foundation emerging leaders grant for public health

Grant and tools to help address gaps in needed data for public health work

City of Minneapolis Health Commissioner Gretchen Musicant and senior public health researcher/epidemiologist Mageen Caines have won a Kresge Foundation grant to help Minneapolis transform its public health work. Minneapolis joins 19 other teams from across the country in the second cohort of The Kresge Foundation’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health initiative.

Over 18 months, Musicant and Caines will participate in an action-oriented program focused on the design and implementation of a transformative concept that shifts or expands the capacity of their department. They will also receive a grant up to $125,000 as well as coaching and technical assistance to evolve their ideas into action.

Public health relies on data to make policy recommendations about conditions such as asthma and diabetes and risky behaviors such as smoking. In the past, this data came from surveys, but fewer and fewer people across the nation are filling out surveys on any topic.

Over the last few years, the Minneapolis Health Department has experimented with its public health data system to capture information on concerns that influence health and are in homes, schools, and jobs – such as lead poisoning, concentrated poverty and low birth weight – or important conditions that don’t have a standard reporting system, such as asthma. Using the grant program, the City can develop a public-facing integrated data system that will capture city-level data focused on health inequalities so communities and policymakers have the information they need to make crucial decisions.

Kresge’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health was designed to help public health leaders of county and local health departments build additional knowledge and skills to address the challenges public health professionals face in their communities.