News & Latest research

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Metabolic Syndrome and Lifestyle Changes

In the June 2017 issue of Preventive Medicine Reports, researchers from the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation®(MHIF) and Allina Health published findings of a study that examined two-year changes in key lifestyle risk metrics and incident metabolic syndrome in adults. The retrospective cohort study used data on metabolic syndrome free adults from Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project, which is a 10-year population health research project being conducted by MHIF in partnership with Allina Health’s New Ulm Medical Center in New Ulm, Minn.

Dr. Thomas Knickelbine, a cardiologist and MHIF research physician, said, “We found that a primary predictor for incident metabolic syndrome over a two-year study timeframe was change in optimal lifestyle score based on four behavioral risk factors, including smoking, alcohol use, fruit/vegetable consumption, and physical activity. As compared to improving poor lifestyle habits, maintaining a healthy lifestyle seemed to be most helpful in avoiding metabolic syndrome over the two-year study timeframe.” Read the full study results here.

Events & Presentations

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Rural Health Care Transformation Webinar Series

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s® (MHIF) population health team and Allina Health’s New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) have partnered with the National Rural Health Association to present a three-part webinar series on rural health care transformation. The series shares lessons learned from MHIF and NUMC’s collaborative work on the award-winning, 10-year population health research project called Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project in rural New Ulm, Minn.

The webinars help empower health care leaders to embrace health care solutions designed to achieve the Triple Aim of improving the care experience (quality and access), increasing value, and improving population health outcomes.

In the first webinar held June 15, 2017, Toby Freier, president of New Ulm Medical Center shared the rural critical access hospital’s own progress. Freier said, “Transforming rural health to realize the full health potential of rural communities requires a multi-layered strategy. Leadership and innovation in access, value, health improvements, outcomes monitoring and data analytics are all critical ingredients for success in achieving the Triple Aim.”

To listen to a recording of the first two webinars and find details for the last webinar in this series, click here.



New Learning Guide on Best Practices for Engagement in Population Health Initiatives

A new learning guide, “The Power of True Engagement for Population Health,” has been published by the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s® (MHIF) population health team in conjunction with AcademyHealth. The population health team, which manages MHIF’s award-winning, 10-year population health research project called Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project in New Ulm, Minn., participated as one of five subject matter expert communities in AcademyHealth’s 2016-17 Community Health Peer Learning Program.

The learning guide provides population health initiatives with guidance on how to foster stakeholder engagement in key activities and achieve broader mission buy-in among community partners and observers. The guide includes numerous case study examples from The Heart of New Ulm Project.

Rebecca Lindberg, MHIF’s director of population health, said, “Meaningful stakeholder engagement is one of the most important factors, if arguably not the most important factor, in the success of a population health initiative. When engagement is done thoughtfully and viewed as an ongoing, iterative process, a community can transform policies, systems, environments and indeed, its entire culture. Health can become a part of the fabric of the community, with an impact that’s visible wherever people live, work, learn and play.”

The complete learning guide, an executive summary and a communications strategy primer are available here. More information on how health care leaders can partner with MHIF to improve population health in their communities is available here.