Kehr is new Freeborn County SHIP coordinator

Published 3:45 pm Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ellen Kehr, Albert Lea’s third ward councilor, has joined Freeborn County Public Health as its Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) coordinator.

“I’m very excited to be part of this state-wide initiative and I’ll work hard to bring all the resources available through SHIP to the residents of Freeborn County,” said Kehr. “Together, with other community partners, we can make the positive changes to our environment and policies that will lead to a healthier future for ourselves and our children.”

SHIP will partner with community organizations and collaboratives to focus efforts on far-reaching and sustainable interventions that will increase the health of Freeborn County over the long term. In the next 18 months, grants will be awarded throughout the county for employee wellness initiatives, practices that create active communities, comprehensive nutrition policies in schools, community access to healthy foods, and partnerships to facilitate active referrals of patients to local resources.

Email newsletter signup

All of these grants will have one goal in mind and that is to help the residents of Freeborn County live longer, healthier lives, said Kehr.

“We learned in the Blue Zones initiative that we must change our environment for long-term health benefits,” she said. “It is unreasonable to expect that people will change their behavior easily when so many forces in the social, cultural and physical environments conspire against such change. We must work to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

“Policymakers were bold in realizing that reform was not just about health care but also about health, and health begins with healthy behaviors such as addressing tobacco use, getting more exercise, connecting with others, getting appropriate medical care and eating healthy foods,” Kehr said.

For more information on SHIP, contact Kehr at 379-2961.