A free interactive webinar series presented by Rebecca Lindberg, Cindy Winters and Derek Hersch of MHIF’s Community Rural Health consulting team, who led the 10-year research phase of the award-winning rural community health initiative, Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project

From Sticking Point to Tipping Point: Overcoming Rural Community Health Improvement Challenges

Are you stymied with how to address a particular health improvement challenge in your rural community? Developing a comprehensive communications strategy, transitioning the mindset of a community, or improving the food and built environments to support healthier choices can all be challenging, but the process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With many of these challenges, a process of small but proven, well-choreographed steps can begin to tip the scales in your favor for success. In each of our webinars, we’ll show you how to start the process to solve a specific challenge in your community and offer you valuable tools and resources that can help.

Register for our upcoming webinar!

Webinar Challenge #7: Social Marketing for Community Health Transformation

Presenting November 12, 11:30am-12pm CT

Accelerate a culture of health within a community by using social marketing strategies to advance the impact of policy, systems and environmental changes. Explore how to layer evidence-based interventions, and physical environment enhancements and policy changes with strategic social marketing campaigns to successfully drive lifestyle behavior change among residents.


1. Penetrate a community with messages

2. Use social marketing to accelerate community health improvement efforts

3. Layer initiatives for impact

Watch the recordings and read about past webinars below

2019 Webinar Series

Webinar Challenge #1: Maximize Impact with a Comprehensive Communications Strategy

Friday, May 31, 11am-12pm CT

When you strategically infiltrate a community with targeted key messages you can accelerate a cultural shift toward health and wellness. In 60 minutes, you will complete a personalized assessment to determine gaps in your health communication strategy. Understanding these gaps will propel you and your key stakeholders into action.

We will share the key steps necessary for impact. These steps were critical in achieving a 94 percent brand awareness among adults within one rural community in one year and maintaining brand awareness at 90 percent throughout the 10-year initiative. Register for this webinar and discover the tips your community needs to succeed!

Click here to download the handout mentioned at the end of the webinar.

Webinar Challenge #2: Getting Community Partners Decisively On Board

Thursday, June 20, 11:30am-12pm CT

For a community health improvement initiative to succeed, it's critical to engage a diverse array of both traditional and nontraditional partners. However, in order to motivate those nontraditional partners to truly buy in to the vision and the work, you need to learn to speak their language. You need to be able to answer their “why” questions in a way they can understand and embrace. From the business community to governmental organizations, the MHIF population health team will share specific examples of how they successfully brought partners on board for a recent award-winning rural community health improvement initiative. Register for this webinar to discover the essential dos and don'ts when building your partner relationships.

Click here to download the Coalition Survey handout mentioned at the end of the webinar.

Webinar Challenge #3: Helping Leaders Move from Buy-in to Ownership

Wednesday, July 10, 11:30am-12pm CT

Health care is moving beyond hospital and clinic walls and out into communities. Yet many community health initiatives struggle to be seen as something other than a hospital program, which is simply not sustainable in the long run. The MHIF population health team will share how they successfully moved the rural community of New Ulm, Minn., from buy-in to ownership of their award-winning rural community health improvement initiative. Register for this webinar to discover a process that will guide you on the right path in your own community!

Webinar Challenge #4: Using Telemedicine to Reach Your Population Targets

Thursday, August 22, 11:30am-12pm CT

Collaborative, technology-driven models may improve care for residents living in rural communities. This webinar describes the HeartBeat Connections primary prevention program and the ENHANCED diabetes study. These programs were implemented in two rural communities—New Um and Hutchinson, Minnesota.  They aimed to reduce cardiovascular disease risk within the respective rural populations by leveraging the expertise of registered dietitians (RDNs) and registered nurses (RNs). By providing health coaching and implementing a medication protocol over the phone, RDNs and RNs were able to extend the reach and contact frequency of primary care providers while simultaneously optimizing major risk factors for cardiovascular disease including cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose, nutrition, exercise, stress, and medication adherence. By collaborating with the local healthcare system, these programs illustrate that RDNs and RNs can effectively deliver primary and secondary prevention programs remotely via telephone to maximize positive health outcomes for patients living in rural areas.

Webinar Challenge #5: Improving Restaurant Food Environments to Support Healthful Food Choices

Presented Thursday, September 19, 11:30am-12pm CT

Making it easier for community residents to select healthier food choices requires strategic consumer messaging layered with policy, systems and environmental changes for support. In this 30-minute session, we’ll discuss how to effectively partner with community restaurants to improve healthful food availability, identification and selection, as well as provide an overview of how to measure and monitor change based on our 10-year experience building the award-winning Hearts Beat Back®: Heart of New Ulm Project. Ultimately, success was not about “telling” restaurants what to do. Success required thoughtful efforts to build sustainable restaurant partnerships.

Learning objectives:

1. Understand how to work with restaurants successfully
2. Discover realistic sustainable ways to improve restaurant food environments
3. Learn the value of measuring, monitoring and communicating community food environment change

Want to increase the accessibility of nutritious healthful foods in your community? Understanding the food environment in a community is critical to understanding where the opportunities for change exist. Engaging residents involved in the food environment whether on the periphery or in the thick of food preparation or delivery systems helps expand the opportunities and supports the development of strong partnerships that can create a supportive environment where healthful food options are more abundant and affordable. Learn how the award winning Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project food action team were able to impact the food environment while solidifying and expanding on partnerships that work collectively to improve healthful food options for New Ulm residents.

Learning Objectives
1. Understand how auditing the food environment can enhance food system work.
2. Understand the role a food action team can play in changing the food environment.

About us

With more than 20 years of experience, the MHIF community rural health consulting team is well versed in creating sustainable change. We are passionate about evidence-based solutions for community rural health improvement and sharing lessons learned from our award-winning initiative, Hearts Beat Back:® The Heart of New Ulm Project. Guided by our real-world experience, we work collaboratively to help communities activate their plans in order to achieve long-term, sustained health outcomes. Through our array of tailored solutions, we help communities build capacity at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, community and policy levels.