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Red Wing program awarded for wellness initiatives

From left to right: Glen Pomerantz, vice president and chief medical officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield, Michelle Leise, community engagement specialist, Jessica Seide, healthy communities specialitst at Goodhue County Health & Human Services, Scott Keefer, vice president of public affairs. Kit Murray / RiverTown Multimedia

When it comes to physical activity in Red Wing, what do you choose? The river town has continued to evolve in ways to provide citizens a chance to exercise, from scenic walking and biking trails to climbing the bluffs. But one local organization has helped push the healthy community initiative further.

The statewide campaign Trailblazer Tour from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota came to Red Wing, Thursday, Oct.5, to shine light on Live Healthy Red Wing.

"We benefit learning from Live Healthy Red Wing what we can share with our other communities in Minnesota," said Scott Keefer, vice president of public affairs. "The whole effort we have with the Trailblazer Tour is to engage in a two-way conversation. The sense is that everything that's happening out there is about health care reform, and that's an important piece, but we want to talk about other things that are happening, particularly in communities like Red Wing."

A large amount of an individual's health spending is done within the health care system, but clinical care provides only a small portion of someone's overall health. The Trailblazer Tour will continue to visit other communities in Greater Minnesota and focus on initiatives that improve where people live, work and play, which accounts for 50 percent of an individual's overall health.

Live Healthy Red Wing first planted its roots about eight years ago. Since then, it has lived up to its mission statement to increase the health and well-being by improving policies and systems, enhancing the physical environment and building an inclusive culture for residents to feel heard and connected. The organization's work ranges from a variety of community programs such as healthful breakfasts and park renovations to walking maps for different areas of town.

By visiting local communities in the state, Keefer said, Blue Cross Blue Shield can continue to improve the health care it provides to everyone in Minnesota.

"Everybody wants better health, everybody wants to be supported in their local community, but there's not a one size fits all."

To view Live Healthy Red Wing's story on Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota, visit

Kit Murray

Kit Murray joined Red Wing Republican Eagle in Aug. 2016, covering government, transportation and public safety. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in photojournalism and philosophy. 

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