Minnesota communities collaborate to improve health, reduce impacts of heart disease, stroke and diabetes

New strategy combines cardiovascular disease and diabetes to create a unique, single action plan


September 29, 2023

Minnesota’s Action Plan to Address Cardiovascular Disease, Stroke and Diabetes 2035 (MN 2035 Plan) lays out detailed strategies and example actions that when implemented at the institutional, local, regional, state and tribal levels will save lives, reduce health disparities, and improve health and well-being.

The action plan was created by more than 90 organizations and Minnesota communities most impacted by cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes. Unlike previous plans, the MN 2035 Plan combines cardiovascular disease and diabetes to create a single action plan. Combining these strongly related chronic diseases into a single plan will have a greater effect on the effort to reduce the occurrence and impacts of both diseases.

“Cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes have enormous and far-reaching impacts on Minnesotans and Minnesota’s communities,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham. “The MN 2035 Plan is a road map and a call to action for communities, health care organizations, community and organizational leaders, and individual advocates to collaborate to prevent, treat and manage these diseases through 2035.”

In 2021, nearly one in two Minnesota adults were living with diabetes or cardiovascular conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. That same year, more than 8,568 Minnesotans died of cardiovascular disease, 2,384 of stroke and another 1,575 of diabetes; respectively the second, fifth and eighth leading causes of death in Minnesota. Combined, these three conditions are responsible for approximately one in every four deaths in Minnesota annually.

The MN 2035 Plan consists of 10 priority outcomes focused on prevention, disease management and acute treatment. Each priority is accompanied by a series of strategies designed to help achieve those outcomes.

The MN 2035 Plan calls on all sectors to share their success stories, join the movement that will drive this plan forward and help it evolve for the next 10 years and beyond. “The MN 2035 Plan is not the end point in the effort to reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes,” said Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler, MN 2035 Plan Leadership Team co-chair and medical director, Healthy Equity and Health Promotion at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. “Rather it is a starting point meant to be built on and added to over the next decade and beyond.”

The MN 2035 Plan focuses on three overall goals to better prevent, manage and treat diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, especially within those communities facing the highest rates of those diseases.

• Elimination of racial, geographic and other health inequities that lead to higher rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes for certain populations in Minnesota.

• Removal of barriers to good health and well-being.

• Increased access to affordable and culturally appropriate prevention strategies, clinical services and self-management options for those who have, or are at risk of experiencing, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“These diseases unfairly affect some Minnesotans more than others due to many long-standing structural and social inequities, biases and barriers that have resulted in segregation and exclusion from important resources and social supports,” said MN 2035 Plan Leadership Team Co-Chair and Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living Jesse Bethke Gomez. “This plan’s commitment to accessibility, diversity, inclusion and equity will advance health and well-being for all—the fundamental principles of who we are as a democracy.”

The plan also contains video success stories highlighting the innovative ways Minnesota’s organizations are working to reduce the impacts of heart disease, stroke and diabetes in real time. Among those featured are the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa’s multi-faceted health campaign, the partnership between the Center for African Immigrant Refugees Organization and Whitney Senior Center offering a culturally tailored National Diabetes Prevention Program curriculum, and HealthFinders’s Community Health Worker integration.

The strategies for the MN 2035 Plan were developed over a two-year period. The process included community engagement events and a statewide survey of 540 Minnesotans. Participating organizations included the American Heart Association, American Association of Diabetes Educators, Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging, Bemidji Indian Health Service, Minnesota Black Nurses Association and many others. The Minnesota Department of Health convened the people and organizations who provided the input and helped to create and design the MN 2035 Plan.

A full list of participating organizations, as well as a full copy of the plan and the links to the ongoing Minnesota success stories, can be found at the MN 2035 Plan website.



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