Minnesota Public Health Association

Since 1907, MPHA has been dedicated to creating a healthier Minnesota through effective public health practice and engaged citizens. 

2022 to 2023 Policy Forum Series:

Safety is no accident: Public health approaches to injury prevention

We are pleased to announce that we will be back to in-person forums at the New Brighton Community Center! Additionally, all forums will be broadcast on Facebook Live. To view the live stream, click here.

Check-in and a light breakfast begin at 7:30am. Forums begin promptly at 8:00 am and conclude at 9:30am.

Our four forums will bring together thought-leaders and public health advocates working to address safety issues that surround us.  Click here to view the 2022-2023 series flyer 

Register for October 28th

Sponsorship Opportunities

October 28, 2022…at Home

Our homes are havens but keeping them that way is no accident. Our panelists will explore the world of policymaking, safety codes, and more to making living in our homes safe.

Moderator: Kenneth Bence, MHA, MBA, Past MPHA President 

Kenneth Bence is the Director of Research, Analysis and Policy for the Association of Residential Resources in Minnesota (ARRM), a non-profit association of nearly 200 providers, businesses and advocates dedicated to leading the advancement of home and community-based services supporting people living with disabilities. In this role, he is responsible for creating and maintaining data systems that support ARRM’s legislative agenda and advocacy efforts on behalf of its members. With over 30 years of experience in healthcare and related sectors, he has worked with managed care organizations, state and local public health departments, coalitions, community health improvement partnerships, and non-profit foundations. He has served on several Boards of Directors for non-profit organizations, and is a past president of the Minnesota Public Health Association. Finally, with over 20 years as a paid-on-call firefighter and current Battalion Chief with the Golden Valley Fire Department, he brings a unique public safety perspective to his work.

Panelist: Lisa Smestad

Lisa Smestad has worked for the Minneapolis Health Department for over 25 years and is currently the manager of the Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes unit. She has run multiple Federal grants for lead hazards, healthy homes and asthma and participated in several research projects on asthma.

Panelist: Dawn Simonson

Dawn Simonson has more than 20 years of experience in the field of aging, healthcare and advocacy, Dawn is recognized for her leadership as an innovator and collaborator. She is the current chair of the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging and is past president of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, currently serving on their Mission Forward Committee. Dawn has a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. She was named one of the 100 most influential healthcare leaders in 2020 by Minnesota Physician magazine.

Panelist: Amanda Swenson

Amanda Swenson has been a part of the Minnesota fire service for the past 13 years as both a volunteer firefighter and in her current role as Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal. She is dedicated to prevention and safety education to keep Minnesotans safer from fire. She has a master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota. When not at work, she enjoys life on the farm with her husband and two Dalmatians.

January 20, 2023…at Work

Workplace and worker safety are growing concerns. Panelists at this forum will examine safety measures and training programs designed to keep where we work and who we work with safe.

Moderator: Annie Halland

UCare, County, Tribal and Public Health Manager

MPHA Past Policy & Advocacy Committee Co-Chair

Panelist: Robert Servian

Safety Consultant Principal

Workplace Safety Consultation

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Panelist: Peter C. Raynor, PhD, FAIHA


Director, Industrial Hygiene Program

University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Environmental Health Sciences

Panelist: Jeff Bender DVM, MS DACVPM

Professor and Hospital Epidemiologist

Director of the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH)

University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Environmental Health Sciences

March 24, 2023 …in our Communities & Schools

Are our community spaces becoming more violent? Is anywhere safe? This forum will examine the initiatives that have emerged to change the narrative about community safety and the community environments where we live, learn, work and play.

Moderator and panelists to be announced.

May 12, 2023…on the Move

Minnesotans are always on the move – in cars, on motorcycles, on bikes, using public transportation, and on the water, too. From road safety to water safety, how are public health initiatives working to keep us safe while we are on the go?

Moderator and panelists to be announced.

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