Archived Story

A summit of health

Published 7:16pm Saturday, October 6, 2012

Adam Rees said he looked around the room filled with over 75 health enthusiasts and professionals Friday morning, and thought, “Wow, where does this come from?”

Rees, Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin’s chief administrative officer, was at the Mower Refreshed annual Community Health and Wellness Summit, and said he couldn’t believe the outpouring of support the grassroots movement has received, now in its third year.

“This isn’t something planned by the government. It’s very spontaneous,” Rees said. “So it suggests to me it’s coming from people’s hearts and minds. People are saying this is the right thing to do.”

Mower Refreshed — a community health movement focused on creating and supporting established preventative health initiatives in Mower County — was created by Mayo Clinic in 2010. Rees now co-chairs the Refreshed steering committee with Mower County Public Health Director Lisa Kocer, and Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin created Sandy Anderson’s position, Mower Refreshed coordinator, to give the movement a full-time director. The group works on projects established at the previous year’s summit or created throughout the year, and Friday’s summit produced plenty of ammo.

“I think today was another day that creates energy and new partnerships that are going to direct us for next year,” Anderson said. “We want the feedback here, and that starts feeding our goal groups and all of their efforts.”


Refreshed has numerous projects it has supported or helped create — like Hy-Vee’s Sprouts children’s gardening classes, a Refreshed monthly wellness tip, a Take 5 mental health initiative, and Wellness Wednesdays with the Austin Bruins, just to name a few — and now Refreshed will move toward community awareness and compiling data.

“How do we connect with people on a more regular basis?” Anderson asked. “That’s going to be a big part of it.”

The other critical step, Rees said, is getting good data to measure over years, like county obesity rates. To do that, Kocer will build data Refreshed is looking for into the county’s health surveys for the state.

“They are going to be a tremendous resource for us to actually see how we’re doing,” Rees said.

Dr. Philip Hagen, a director of preventative health at Mayo Clinic Rochester and a keynote speaker at the summit, said he’s impressed at how mature Refreshed is for a movement that’s three years old. Hagen, an Austin native, said the group is doing a great job of branding its initiatives and getting all ages involved.

“Small changes in large populations result in large changes,” Hagen said. “This group makes me proud to be from Austin.”

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