Breakout Sessions


American Indian Collaborative and using a Racial Justice Impact Assessment to a Newborn Toxicology Policy

Lisa Skjefte, Laura Newton, and Zhawin Gonzalez of Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center

A local American Indian Collaborative consisting of American Indian social workers, guardian ad litems, attorneys, mental health professionals, county workers, and community members joined a local hospital's social work department and their health equity specialist to apply, Voices For Racial Justice a local MPLS non-profit’s Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) to their Newborn Toxicology policy.

We will share stories of how these policies negatively impacted American Indian mothers birthing experience. These stories helped shaped the policy and practices recommendations around mother’s who experience SUD, to creates a more welcoming environment that will lead to better health outcomes for mom and babies.

The harmful impacts of stigma and stereotypes that inequitable polices and practices have on American Indian mothers have negative repercussions on mothers recovery. Changing policies with a REIA and alongside and with communities who have been disproportionately impacted will reduce stigma.

Breaking Through the Stigma: Preventing Alcohol Exposed Pregnancy Through Lived Experience

Roxanne King of the Proof Alliance

Research shows one in nine pregnancies are exposed to alcohol and as many as 1 in 20 children have an fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD is a lifelong medical condition that encompasses a range of physical, neurobehavioral, and cognitive symptoms. This panel of birth mothers will provide an overview of the basics of FASD through discussing factors of severity, the common traits and behaviors associated with FASD through personal story telling. These mothers’ will also share practical strategies on supporting individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol. You’ll find this an impactful learning experience and leave with new insight to be more successful in your work.

Coalition Building and Community Organizing: Lessons from Tobacco Prevention in Minnesota

Kate Feuling Porter, Gene Nichols, and Elizabeth Heimber of Twin Cities Medical Society

Through coalition building and community engagement, community partners can learn to pass robust preventative public health policies to improve quality of health, denounce racial inequities, reduce health disparities, and prevent disease. Our strength and ability to make a difference increases when we bring diverse communities together paired with evidence-based practices. Commercial tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease, with cigarettes alone taking half a million lives each year. In Minnesota, tobacco prevention has a history of lessons learned from Clean Indoor Air, Tobacco 21, and past/current efforts of clearing the market of flavored tobacco, including menthol. Discuss lessons learned from these case studies in metro and greater Minnesota where Big Tobacco and other opposition fought prevention advocates tooth and nail throughout the process. Through education, community engagement, and best practice policies, prevention advocates will learn how to build the foundation to pass life-saving policies with a health equity lens.

Coalitions Gone Wild!

William Spitzer of Austin Positive Action Coalition (APAC)

Learn some of the innovative ways to build and maintain a coalition in your community. Bringing partners together for a common cause broadens the reach of your prevention message(s). In this session you will learn creative ways to engage community members and promote a positive message.

Cultural bias: Cultivating cultural competence and responsiveness through a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging lens

Rebecca Slaby of AMAZEworks

We know that it is important to be culturally competent and responsive in our prevention work with increasingly diverse communities, but what does this really look, sound, and feel like in our daily practice? This workshop will unpack the language of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging as a starting point for becoming culturally competent and responsive. We will explore how culture shows up in our work, identify our cultural biases, and examine how our organizational cultures are often rooted in dominant cultural norms that can marginalize staff and the people we serve.

Data Party! Outside-the-box Data Dissemination Ideas

Melissa Adolfson of Wilder Research

Lengthy reports? Meh. Fact sheets? Um, okay. Infographics? Warmer. Let's think outside the box! Participants will learn about fun and engaging ways to share data with community stakeholders through both virtual and socially distanced means. But wait...there's more! Participate in this session and you'll also learn about some fun and engaging ways to collect data.

Excessive alcohol consumption in Minnesota: Assessing the costs

Kari Gloppen and Dana Farley of the Minnesota Department of Health

Excessive alcohol consumption, particularly binge drinking, is associated with increased injury, disease, and premature death. Binge drinking is defined as >4 drinks for women and >5 drinks for men on an occasion. We assessed direct and indirect costs due to lost productivity, medical treatment, alcohol-related crime, property damage from fire and motor vehicle crashes, and other social costs in Minnesota. This study followed methodology by Bouchery and colleagues published in 20111 from a national study on the cost of excessive alcohol use to assess the economic cost of excessive alcohol consumption in Minnesota. State and national data sources were used to estimate 2019 costs related to health care for alcohol-attributable conditions; productivity losses due to premature death, hospitalization, incarceration, and increased absenteeism; and other effects on society such as motor vehicle crashes and the criminal justice system. Preliminary results of estimated economic cost of premature deaths, health care costs, criminal justice system costs, lost productivity will be presented. The presenters will discuss the results and describe limitations of the methods used. Participants will discuss ways these data can be used to support more effective implementation of evidence-based strategies to reduce excessive drinking, such as increasing the price of alcohol, regulating alcohol outlet density, and maintaining limits on the hours of alcohol sales.

Going Beyond Translating Materials: Effective Community Collaboration to Increase Multi-Cultural Efforts within Coalitions

Taylor Hohman of Ramsey County OPUS Coalition

The majority of students in Ramsey County identify as students of color. The need for culturally specific prevention education for refugee youth is important, but what about the parents and elders of refugee background students? There are very few - if any - learning opportunities for parents and elders to learn about substance use disorder, current substance use trends and ways to support their youth in ways that are sensitive to their culture and beliefs. Often times, coalitions will have their materials translated in efforts to reach these individuals. While these are a great tool, there is often more that can be done. This presentation describes the process of developing and implementing culturally specific community education and awareness events for community members - more specifically, parents, guardians, and elders of refugee youth. The work described in this presentation was developed in partnership between the Ramsey County OPUS Coalition, the Know the Truth Prevention Program, and the St. Paul Police Department. We all know that prevention efforts cannot done alone, and this presentation will give individuals practical lessons that they can take back to their communities.

Health and Policy Issues of Legalizing the Commercial Sales of Cannabis in Minnesota

Ken Winters and Kim Bemis

This presentation will focus on three issues: 1) key features of the proposed omnibus bill (HF600) to legalize the commercial sales of and further decriminalize possession of cannabis in Minnesota; 2) potential health impacts of cannabis use if HF600 were enacted; and 3) possible responses by communities in the short- and long-term.

How can you partner with your Regional Prevention Coordinator?

Minnesota ATOD Regional Prevention Coordinators

You’ve heard about your Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC) but what do they do really?? How can they help you in your prevention work?? In this session the seven MN RPC’s will describe their role and how they can help expand your prevention efforts while connecting you with your regional, state and national resources.

How Characteristics of White Supremacy Show Up in Public Health Work

Annie Krapek of Twin Cities Medical Society

The events of the past year have called many white public health professionals to more deeply engage in anti-racist work and embed equity into the heart of our practice, but many of us may not see how white supremacy culture is playing out in our daily work. This session will utilize Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun’s “Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture” as a framework for understanding how white supremacy culture is showing up in our work, including in policy work, programming, and coalition building. Participants will be invited to reflect upon and discuss how racism and white supremacy culture show up in their own work as one step toward building an anti-racist public health practice.

Keeping them together: Utilizing a family-centered treatment approach for the prevention of intergenerational transmission of substance use and mental health concerns in families

Carmen Finn and Sadie Broekemeier of Recovering Hope Treatment Center

This presentation will explore the intergenerational transmission of substance use disorders and mental health concerns in families and the intersection between substance use disorders, the family experience, and utilization of a family-centered treatment approach in behavioral health as a prevention strategy. Additionally, this presentation will explore the impact of substance use on children, benefits to a family-centered system of care, service delivery challenges and addressing outcomes for the whole family in a substance use disorder treatment setting.

Make Your Prevention Work Stand Out on Social Media

Michelle Raven of Proof Alliance

Creating and sharing great content is only one part of what it will take to make your prevention work stand out online. In this presentation you will learn actionable steps you can take today to champion a social media transformation for your organization. We’ll talk profile optimization, content creation tools, discovery and engagement strategies.

Mindfulness in Schools

Tanis Henderson of the STEP Coalition, and Melissa Adolfson of Wilder Research

Hear about how Deer River Schools counseling department implemented mindfulness practices for 6th, 7th grade students, and alternative learning students. Learn about strategies for integrating mindful schools and other mindfulness practices into the classroom setting.

Navigating Sensitive Conversations

Gabby Fitzgerald of myHealth for Teens and Young Adults

Have you ever been caught off guard by a young person’s question? Do you find yourself flustered when talking to youth about certain topics such as racism, substance use or mental health? This training, Navigating Sensitive Conversations, will help those who work with youth respond to sensitive questions, disclosures, and conversations in a student-centered and trauma-informed way. Participants will learn to provide youth and young adults with age-appropriate responses while maintaining boundaries, policies, and safety. This presentation will cover Minnesota mandated reporting laws and other considerations such as possible district policies and implicit bias. Participants will learn trauma-informed approaches that can be applied to sensitive conversations. They will practice these approaches with relevant and timely scenarios. This training will provide anyone who works with youth the skills and resources needed to take on sensitive topics with confidence.

Not About Us Without Us: Engaging Youth and Young Adults in Tobacco Prevention and Advocacy

Anna Grace Hottinger, Grace Plowman, Upendo Gimbi, Eric Li, and Corrie Ethan of the Association for Nonsmokers-MN

As the youth vaping epidemic continues, and its reach extends to younger and younger adolescents, authentically engaging youth in tobacco prevention education and advocacy is more important than ever. The “youth voice” is one of the strongest community assets. Providing youth opportunities to have their voices heard is key to engaging and retaining youth leadership in tobacco prevention work. Youth understand relevant social norms, trends, and effective prevention strategies that resonate with their peers If given the opportunity, they can be powerful contributors and leaders in tobacco prevention. These opportunities allow them to contribute to change within their communities and for their voices to be effectively heard. Engaging youth in all aspects of prevention also builds trust and provides credibility to implement community-driven solutions. In this workshop, participants will hear from a panel of youth and young adult tobacco prevention advocates and peer educators from the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. They will share perspectives on their tobacco prevention involvement and leadership roles, discuss effective youth engagement strategies, how to attract youth to prevention work, and how public health professionals can support youth-driven tobacco prevention objectives.

Power in Prevention: Charged by an Ethical Workforce

Roy Kammer and Cynthia Townley of Minnesota Certification Board

Power in prevention is not possible without the charge of a workforce comprised of ethical professionals. This session will renew professionals’ ethical batteries with an overview of the Minnesota Certification Board’s domains of practice for prevention professionals, the ethical code for prevention professionals, and the process for reporting ethical violations. The session will also discuss a primary prevention model for ethical decision making. Come get energized for ethics during this engaging session by dissecting dynamic case examples, participating in thought-provoking polls, and competing in quizzes to test your ethics knowledge.

Resiliency in Local Tobacco Control during a Global Pandemic: Stories from the ANSR Lunch Room

Tiffany Yang of the Association for Nonsmokers-MN

Local tobacco prevention policy efforts and initiatives were put on hold across Minnesota after Stay at Home Orders were issued to prevent the spread of COVID-19. City decision-makers and their staff shifted all policy priorities to COVID-19 response, many community partners’ were pulled to provide direct care and services to community members, and all in-person community events were canceled. Organizing and engaging the community and decision-makers felt nearly impossible for tobacco prevention advocates and organizations like the Association for Nonsmokers-MN (ANSR). However, ANSR continued to push for timely local tobacco control in Minnesota because of the intersecting public health concerns between tobacco use and COVID-19. ANSR quickly learned to adapt and continue to explore creative strategies to effectively communicate and engage with stakeholders on tobacco prevention policies. During the pandemic, ANSR helped 15+ communities pass ordinances to regulate tobacco in Minnesota.

Rural Community Engagement around Flavored Tobacco policies

Jason McCoy of Clay County Public Health

Flavored tobacco means many things in rural MN - vaping affects youth, but what about menthol cigarettes, flavored chew, and hookah? With strong conservative leanings in our communities the right approach is needed to navigate personal choice, cultural use of tobacco, and the best health policy for the community. Passing strong flavored tobacco ordinances provide the key to preventing generations of addiction while address systemic racism established by the tobacco industry.

School-based chemical health support programs: Where to begin?

Colleen O'Neil, Cindy Doth, and Dr. Nita Kuma of Anoka-Hennepin School District

Lacking state level oversight and few evidence-based programs to refer to, implementing a school-based substance use program in a school setting can be challenging. While many schools have identified the need for support around mental health, what about support around substance use? How are they connected? How does one go about creating a program? Who can or should provide the support? With little understanding of the complexities that come with school-based chemical health support programs, where does a school or district begin and what steps need to be taken to start the process? This session will explore the connection between mental health and substance use and the need to support both, build relationships with community partners, address all levels of prevention and build a program that will help support not only the students, but the families as well. Learn how to educate the staff so support can be provided whenever it is identified and have a better understanding of the connection to one's overall well-being. End of session would be dedicated to a question and answer period on how participants can begin the process of implementing a school-based chemical health prevention program.

Stop Project Stalls & Build Sustainability: Collaboratively Moving Issues to Action

Angie Asa-Lovstad and Karie Terhark of HueLife

Once the community assessment is done and the local conditions have been identified, you are well on your way to having a logic model. Admit it, it is easy to lay out a plan and then present it to the stakeholders/coalition. However, by including the community stakeholders in creating a plan, they will be more invested and become involved in the identified solutions. But how do you keep the stakeholders involved in creating of the plan to address the problem and effectively get their perspectives? In this session, you will experience a tool that will be useful in stakeholder involvement. Get those community voices at the table! Hear how the presenters have used this in their 20 + years of coalition experience to build sustainability. Come find out how for yourself!

Sweet and Accessible: Online E-Cigarette Access and Teens

Elyse Levine Less of Tobacco-Free Alliance and India Medaris of MPRC

E-cigarettes are the most commonly used commercial tobacco product among U.S. youth. One way youth access e-cigarettes is through online retailers, who, until recently, encountered little federal regulation. FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has begun to introduce stricter online e-cigarette sales regulations and warnings. However, regulations are insufficiently enforced and warnings rarely result in consequences. This lack of regulation and enforcement is concerning because e-cigarette retail websites often have inadequate age verification procedures which allow easy access for youth to purchase them. In order to assess CTP’s enforcement process, we followed 10 warning letters issued by CTP in July 2020 to online e-cigarette retailers for selling tobacco products “without a marketing authorization order” and/or that appear to “imitate food products commonly marketed toward and, or are appealing to children.” We conducted a two-part study to 1) track subsequent actions by CTP and recipients of CTP warning letters; and 2) purchase e-cigarette products from the websites to determine ease of underage access, product purchase, and product delivery. We found that CTP took no additional action, and no recipients of the warning letters responded. Minimal corrective action, if any, was taken by recipients of the warning letters. We found that websites were easy to access, age verification at checkout was easy to bypass, and products were left in the mailbox or at the front door. This session will explore our results and discuss how our findings can be used to educate communities and inform local efforts to regulate underage e-cigarette sales.

Talking with Teens about Vaping: Lessons learned from workshop evaluation on vaping prevention

Melissa Mady and Elyse Levine Less of Tobacco-Free Alliance

Youth e-cigarette use, or “vaping,” has increased substantially in the past few years. Through focus groups we examined what aspects of these products appeal to youth and sought to gain insight into the personal experience and contextual factors that may influence adolescent e-cigarette use. We used our focus group findings to develop an educational vaping prevention workshop for teens. The curriculum is intended to curb e-cigarette initiation and use, nicotine addiction, and to promote healthy adolescent development. We evaluated our workshop using a pre- and post-test survey to assess increase in knowledge about vaping harms and behavior change intention. From our evaluation we learned students’ ability to identify harms from vaping increased after the workshop, students who self-identified that they had ever tried e-cigarettes were less likely to continue using- and mentioned their increased knowledge of possible health risks as driving their choice to quit, and what types of prevention information youth found most compelling to counter e-cigarette initiation (e.g., targeted marketing to youth by the tobacco industry). This session will explore lessons learned from our evaluation and provide participants with youth-identified tools and strategies to conduct effective teen vaping prevention workshops.

Teen Tobacco Use: Insights from the 2020 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey

Sharrilyn Helgertz of the Minnesota Department of Health

Background: e-cigarettes have reversed 15 years of youth tobacco prevention progress. Regular statewide surveys of youth can help inform and evaluate efforts to address this problem. Methods: The MYTS is an online survey of a sample of 6th-12th grade students from randomly selected schools in Minnesota. Data were collected February - March 2020, before schools switched to distance learning. Results: Teen vaping rates remain high from 2017; many students are showing signs of dependence and want help to quit. • Conclusions: One in five high school students are exposed to nicotine and harmful chemicals through vaping. These results support youth cessation and prevention programs.

The Balancing Act: Integrating Work & Life

Karen Edens of Edens Group Training Center

Today, we seek more from our jobs than just a paycheck. Meaningful work is important as title, income and prestige. Have you recently asked yourself any of these questions? “Is my work really making a difference?” “Is serenity and creativity possible at work?” “How can I balance work demands with personal needs?” To answer these questions, some people leave their jobs to try a new path. Others remain, trying again to get organized, renew commitment and become more efficient. This training will address the real questions: “Who am I in my personal and work life?” “What is important to me in my personal and work life?” “How can I balance my personal and work life?”

The Best Messengers: Youth Engagement During COVID-19

Molly Schmidtke and Anna Grace Hottinger of the Association for Nonsmokers-MN

ANSR has created a toolkit outlining youth engagement and survey implementation that we conducted in 2020. This toolkit also includes sample questions to ask, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to create your own survey, and engaging youth to collect data. This toolkit can be used as a guide in creating and implementing your own surveys on youth tobacco use. It can also be used as a guide to youth engagement, why it is important, and how you can effectively engage youth in tobacco prevention work.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Change: Strategies for Building Resilience and Moving Forward

Elisabeth Atherly of the Minnesota Department of Human Services

Change can be an exciting, yet stressful experience for those working in public health and human services. However, understanding how the circumstances and process of change impacts individuals is essential to this work. The last two years have challenged public health practitioners on many fronts. We are challenged with the logistics of doing prevention work, which is human-centered and relies on community engagement for effective messaging . We are also challenged by the lack of resources needed to be impactful with groups with the highest needs. Although change can be dramatic and unexpected, there are ways to plan for, and manage it in order to ensure the best outcomes. Prevention practitioners can employ certain skills to intentionally prepare for, guide, and nourish change so that they may be more resilient and effective in their work.

Tobacco - It's Not What It Used to Be

Jason McCoy of Clay County Public Health

Cigarettes, Chew, Snus, Vapes, Hookah... commercial tobacco has changed it's face to attract every generation, ethnicity, and gender. We will explore what commercial tobacco is, and what it is not. We will take a close look at tobacco marketing and how Big Tobacco reaches youth now. You will leave empowered to begin making a difference in your community today!

What Must Minnesota Do to Successfully Minimize Gambling Harms?

Susan Sheridan Tucker of Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance

For many the only way to address gambling disorder/gambling addiction is through complete abstinence. Gamblers Anonymous endorses this practice and is responsible for thousands of individuals succeeding in their recovery. But what about all the rest of the players? What are our responsibilities as community stakeholders to advocate, develop and implement strategies and tools that could minimize gambling harms? Expansion of gambling is running rampant in the U.S. A 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned a ban on states legalizing sports betting, has opened the floodgates to the largest expansion of gambling this country hasn’t seen in three to four decades. Simultaneously the rapid accessibility to mobile technology has increased the availability to gamble online on regulated and unregulated sites. Further, the rise of video gaming, with unregulated gambling elements embedded, along with the onslaught of enticing marketing to youths and adults is creating a perfect storm for increased problem gambling. Studies show that many can gamble without becoming addicted, but with sophisticated technology and 24/7 accessibility, it’s not clear if our usual assumptions about gambling addiction will hold. Rather than wait to see if additional problems will occur. What can we be doing now to minimize the gambling harms for all players whether addicted or not?

Working with Clients with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Molly Gilbert of Vinland National Center

In this presentation, you will learn about the specialized work that Vinland National Center does within the field of substance use disorder and brain injuries, along with common, basic identifiers and issues to help identify people who you might be working with who may suffer with TBI’s. For the last 30+ years, Vinland has worked specifically with clients with Traumatic Brain Injuries and cognitive disabilities (including FAS, Fetal Alcohol Effect, Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder and severe and persistent mental health issues), within the substance use disorder realm, in both residential and outpatient treatment settings, and is one of the only treatment centers in the country that exclusively specializes in this population. Tools to utilize when working with someone with a TBI will be shared, along with anecdotal information regarding what behaviors could potentially be related to TBI. Clinicians, social workers and court systems often aren’t aware of a specialty program until they need one. In fact, Vinland has found that there are many hospitals, clinics, other treatment centers, legislators, jails and mental health facilities, who may be working with or representing people with brain injuries, but aren’t aware of it. Bringing essential knowledge to them on how to help identify a TBI, only helps those clients who are not able to advocate fully for themselves.