New ideas, new approaches

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

And that's exactly what Children's pediatrician Julie Boman, MD, hopes will happen. After observing the increased incidences of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and liver disease in our community's Latino population, she decided to do something about it. What was particularly troubling to her was that these diseases, which are often common in adults, were showing up in children, too.

She knew family involvement would be key to addressing this problem. So, with a small grant from the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality and help from the Minnesota Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics, Boman created Vida Sana (Healthy Living) Minneapolis. The program kicked off in July with a health fair at Children's. More than 200 people showed up – double the amount they anticipated.


"The kick-off event offered great insight about what would make a successful program – an interactive approach, with family-friendly activities and culturally relevant information," says Dr. Boman. The result is a two-hour weekly program that features one hour of physical activity and one hour of nutrition education – both for kids and adults.

But that's not enough. Children's is also collaborating with HealthPartners to design customized pilot programs for populations in the Minneapolis Riverside area and White Bear Lake. The idea is that through education and inspiration, we can start to change the habits that lead to obesity and address the factors that sustain it.

Children's will take the lessons we learn from our pilot programs and bring them into clinical settings. Our experts agree that a multi-faceted approach is the best way to help kids start, and stay, their healthiest.

scaleComing together

Coming together for the greater good, Children's advocacy team has partnered with statewide coalitions like the Minnesota Prematurity Coalition, the Minnesota Healthy Kids Coalition and the Raise It For Health Coalition. Together, they are addressing complex issues in children's health such as premature birth, childhood obesity and tobacco prevention. By pooling our strengths and resources with other health care leaders, Children's can reach the most families with the most appropriate programs.

babyPrenatal HIV miracle babies
Not long ago, a pregnant mom with HIV was given a one-in-three chance of passing on the disease to her child. But with huge advances in HIV therapies, a woman with prenatal care now has only a one percent chance of transferring it. The key to this medical miracle is identifying and treating pregnant HIV-positive women ASAP. Just last year, Children's served 110 HIV-infected pregnant women, giving 110 HIV-exposed infants a healthier start in life.

runawayFinding the lost

Thanks to Children's nurse practitioner Laurel Edinburgh, female teenage runaways have brighter outlooks than before. A decade ago, Edinburgh noticed that these runaways experienced horrific crises like rape, alcohol and drug abuse, forced prostitution and intense mental trauma. She started the Runaway Intervention Program that connects nurse practitioners with these young women to lead them to a healthier life. Research shows that six months into the program, half of participants have significantly reduced emotional stress and risky sexual behaviors.

xrayTB clinic outreach
The staff at Children's has unique expertise in tuberculosis (TB) care geared specifically for kids. Every month, staff members from our infectious disease program provide free care for pediatric TB patients through a partnership with Ramsey County Public Health. Together, Children's and the public health department can treat known TB cases and help prevent the spread of infection.


A voice for kids
Public policy is often complicated, and at times, just downright confusing. That's why Children's created the Voice for Kids Blog to clearly explain public health policy matters affecting our children, so you can stay in the know. Through periodic articles and updates, Voice for Kids gives you up-to-date information on the most pressing pediatric health issues and provides perspective on how policy affects kids – making advocating for kids' health a bit easier.


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