Influencing Policy

We support policies that help Minnesotans reach their full health potential.

Public policy has proven to be one of the most successful paths for improving health. 

But it isn’t easy. Policy work relies heavily on our ability to collaborate, advocate, educate and influence change. To do it well, we must foster relationships, help strengthen or create coalitions, and engage with impacted communities.  

We pursue policy change through two routes:

  • Normal or routine policy change, which includes the continuation of an existing policy with slight variation or incremental change.
  • Paradigmatic policy change, which requires a fundamentally new direction or a new way of thinking about a policy issue.

Regardless of the path we take, our end goal is to improve the health of all Minnesotans. 

capitolMinnesota State Capitol


Minnesota Freedom to Breathe:

Following five years of commitment and advocacy, Minnesota passed the Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007. This comprehensive smoke-free law covers indoor public places and workplaces, including bars and restaurants. The Center for Prevention was a significant leader of this work and helped drive the legislation that was passed by a bipartisan majority of lawmakers. The law was signed by Governor Pawlenty on May 16, 2007. It took effect on October 1, 2007.

Furthering the fight against commercial tobacco, in partnership with the Raise It for Health coalition, a group of more than 30 leading health and nonprofit organizations across Minnesota, successful legislation saw a $1.60 increase in the price of commercial tobacco enacted into law in 2013.

This significant increase in the price of commercial tobacco products will encourage more than 36,600 adult smokers to quit, prevent more than 47,700 kids from becoming addicted adults and save more than 25,700 Minnesota lives from premature smoking-related deaths.1

Safe Routes to School (SRTS): Through this initiative we address physical activity for kids by advocating for a built environment and educational supports that increase biking and walking to and from school. This has included funding to Minnesota communities to support SRTS projects, reaching more than 313 schools statewide. In 2013, the SRTS coalition was able to get $500,000 per biennium for SRTS programmatic funding.

Complete Streets: Working with our physical activity goals in mind, the Center for Prevention co-founded a unique coalition that led to state-level Complete Streets legislation passage in 2010. This work will ensure that our streets are planned to be safe and offer accessible transportation options for pedestrians, transit riders, bicyclists and drivers, regardless of age or ability. We also worked extensively on several local Complete Streets policies, including Rochester, Hennepin County and Duluth, as well as being active members of the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Complete Streets External Advisory Committee.

Related Links

1 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
  • Making Healthy Choices Possible for All Minnesotans

    The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota tackles the leading causes of preventable disease -- tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating -- to increase health equity, transform communities and create a healthier state.