To the editor:
In March of this year, I experienced an opportunity of a lifetime: as a part of my University of St. Thomas Healthcare MBA program, I was in Washington D.C. as the opening arguments for the legality of the Affordable Care Act were presented to the United States Supreme Court. Whether I agreed or disagreed with the content, the ACA was the most significant healthcare legislation to leave a president's desk since the passing of Medicare in 1965.
I left Washington D.C. with a revived sense of hope that a paradigm shift in healthcare is on the horizon. Title IV of the ACA- Prevention of Chronic Disease and Improvement of Public Health was the first legislation to place financial support for proactive, preventative measures. Title IV Subsection D - Creating Healthier Communities provides an outline to encourage the funding of local projects that are created with the intent of population-based prevention programs through Community Transformation Plans. The beauty of this section is to encourage bottom-up, localized creativity in addressing community health concerns.
I did not have to look farther than my backyard to see active examples of healthy community initiatives; in my case, the golden nugget is here in my hometown. Two years prior to the Accountable Care Act of 2010, New Ulm became the beneficiary of a transformative project because of the vision of Dr. Kevin Graham to reduce heart attacks. Again, Minnesotans demonstrate how to be one step ahead of the curve. A classmate of mine, Tina Morey, and I decided we wanted to bring greater national attention to Minnesota, particularly the successes of New Ulm, by inviting the United States Surgeon General to visit Minnesota.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, Vice Admiral Regina Benjamin visited New Ulm's Day of Play to give a short speech and kick off the event. According to her assistant Lieutenant Tracy Powell, Dr. Benjamin was impressed by the Hearts Beat Back project and the New Ulm community and she "had a good time." We struggled to get her to her car as she needed to get to her plane for her next engagement, Dr. Benjamin did not want to leave. Turns out, she loves to Zumba!
I would like to thank Jack Gronholz and the Martin Luther College students for putting together the Day of Play. This was an extraordinary event. The volunteers were so gracious to the kids. My four-year-old son had a hard time being patient following around the Surgeon General for an hour when all he wanted to do was play. I was told by friends that their children had such a great time they are hoping this becomes a yearly event. Your campus is beautiful. Thank you for hosting this event.
I would also like to thank the following people: Jackie Boucher, Holly Glaubitz, Carisa Buegler, Karen Moritz, Rebecca Fliszar, Raquel Pereria, Laura Perdue, Abbey Sidebottom, Rebecca Lindberg, Toby Frier, Josh Moniz, the Hearts Beat Back steering committee, and the Day of Play steering committee.
I have not lived in New Ulm for 17 years. As an outsider looking back in, I am impressed. New Ulm has become a stronger community with a greater sense of pride in the health of its citizens, young and old. I was impressed on Saturday by the number of businesses that supported each of the activities, the number of volunteers, and the number of families that came together. New Ulm demonstrated the truest sense of the word: community. I was proud to introduce the United States Surgeon General to the pride of New Ulm on Saturday. Thank you.
University of St Thomas