Grand Forks Public Health Department

Thursday, July 16, 2009


The meeting was called to order at approximately 12:15 p.m. by Don Shields.

Those Members Present: Don Shields, Bobby Vogel, Dawne Barwin, Kate Kenna, John Packett, Lee Lipp, Julie Anderson, and Dr. James Hargreaves,. Others present: LtCol David Cockrum (319 Medical Group, GFAFB), Irene Dybwad (GF County Social Services), Dr. Mandi Johnson (Family Medicine Residency), Trisha Seubert (City Administrator’s Ofc), Debbie Swanson (Public Health), and Keith Westerfield (Public Health).


1. Review and Approval of Minutes of April 16, 2009 Meeting:
Minutes were reviewed and approved with no changes.

2. Grand Forks “Detox” Community Facility Initiative Update – Kate Kenna, Northeast Human Service Center (NEHSC): “The horse is dead.” They had about two-thirds of the budget needed for the Detox program, but still needed about $70,000 (NEHSC only has $30,000 available in their budget per year for social detox) and couldn’t come up with the funding.

- There was a discussion about ‘social detox’ versus ‘medical detox’. Medical detox costs about $600 a day (with Altru writing off about $700,000 last year), compared to $72 that Fargo’s social detox costs. Their program is paid for by the city, and run by Centre, Inc.

- Social detox seems to be an increasing challenge. A swimmer who drowned recently in Grand Forks was intoxicated and was in need of detoxing (along with two other people that were with him). The number of people who are intoxicated (and some suicidal) is shocking, but seems to be taken for granted and not newsworthy.

- There are groups still interested and willing to work to make this happen. Altru was willing to put up $210,000 to get it started, plus the city was funding some, and the county was providing the building to house the detox center.

- The Mayor’s Cabinet members expressed their appreciation for Kate’s effort, and hoped she would not give up trying if they could get others interested. Chief Packett recommended providing a social detox update to the City Council Finance or Service/Safety Committee, in light of the recent drowning.


1. Congratulations Dr. Kerbeshian on Your Retirement, June 30, 2009: Don thanked Dr. Kerbeshian for his service on the Mayor’s Cabinet.

- They are looking for possible replacements for him, and Valley Health/WIC’s new director. It was suggested that another rep in the Mental Health field would be helpful, to provide insight into issues with psychological implications. Dawne B. suggested adding a representative from Stadler or Aurora clinics.

2. Smoke-Free Resolution: Debbie Swanson gave a background briefing on the Tobacco-Free Coalition, and an overview of Smoke-Free Resolution to request the Mayor’s Cabinet support for the mayor to sign, supporting smoke-free workplaces.

- Measure Three, Smoke-Free Ordinance passed last fall, but has exemptions for certain workplaces. Five communities in ND now have stronger smoke-free laws.

- House Bill 1213, removing smoking from bars, failed to pass at ND legislature. The Tobacco-Free Coalition is always looking for new partners, who will help us in their efforts.

- Fargo’s smoking ban has been in effect of a year now, and no business that the coalition knows of has closed due to it. The Fargo ban improves healthy work environments, and levels the playing field among bars and restaurants.

Mayor’s Health and Human Services Grand Forks Cabinet Minutes
July 16, 2009
Page 2

- The Resolution Supporting Smoke-Free Workplaces was approved by the Mayor’s Cabinet members and it will be sent to the mayor for signature (see attachment).

- Is there an increase in young people smoking, due to smoking on television or movies? Youth smoking seems stalled right now, but still needs enforcement. Last law enforcement effort showed 7 out of 21 businesses sold tobacco to minors.

- The Grand Forks coalition promotes the benefits of quitting anytime, and the state now has some great resources for people wanting to quit. There is a lot of time any energy put into cessation they never did 10 years ago. Their efforts are both behavioral and medication, but medication is receiving more attention right now. There are trained Tobacco Treatment Specialists for the ‘QuitLine’ (located in Grand Forks). Call Grand Forks Public Health, at 787-8100, for more information.

3. Member Update:

Julie A. – The College's Interim Dean, Helen Melland, is leaving after 20 years, for the University of Montana where she has taken the position of Dean. Julie Anderson has accepted a two-year leadership position in the College as the new Interim Dean. The new Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree program is now in its second semester and progressing well. Enrollment for the entire college is higher than a year ago. 

Lee L. – Developmental Homes is moving forward after receiving their grant for housing of autistic adults, and they should break ground this fall. There are 56 autistic children in Grand Forks schools, with 850 autistic people total in the Grand Forks area, who need ongoing services and housing.

John P. – Police Department is seeing an influx of gang activities, mostly Latinos, and drug-related, which they are trying to nip in the bud.

Kate K. – There is a child welfare conference in Bismarck next month, with motivational training. They have been working with Prairie Harvest and the mayor, about the need for single housing (currently they have 36 people who need it), and NEHSC has money for building.

Irene D. – Social Services is noticing a diversity of folks applying for assistance. Plus, they are seeing emerging trend of older siblings taking in their younger sibling(s), probably since they know what they are going through because they went through it. Also, parents are coming in with addictions (number of incarcerated parents is huge).

Dawne – Last year the New American Services (NAS) had 60 individuals, with 74 this year, as of present date. A NAS just started in Bismarck (as a small grass roots program). Employers have been calling the Grand Forks NAS about jobs that need workers.

Deb S. – Public Health has been submitted for a grant request for their services to the refugee community.

Don S. – If you have the opportunity to help Valley Health, which is having financial difficulty due to lower grants and donations and increased cost of pharmaceuticals, please do so. They provide a very valuable services to the community.


V. ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 1:10 p.m.

VI. NEXT MEETING: Thursday, October 15, 2009
12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m.
(lunch will be provided by Altru Health System)
Altru Hospital (Lower Level, Multi-Media/Board Room)

- Resolution Supporting Smoke-Free Workplaces, dated July 16, 2009 & signed on July 20, 2009.