Thumbs up to the collaboration and partnership between Minnesota State University and Mayo Clinic Health System on the opening of the surgical simulation laboratory that will assist students and practitioners with their medical education.

The room, one of seven at MSU, opened last week as part of the new Clinical Sciences building. The Maverick Family Nursing Simulation Center, will offer an opportunity for surgery simulations MSU students wouldn’t normally get as part of their nursing education.

Practitioners can better prepare for low-frequency, high-risk situations in surgery, where emergencies may occur and require quick thinking and quick action. The surgery simulation allows trainers and educators a chance to view the action from an observation booth with a one-way window.

After simulations, the students and or practitioners can be debriefed by trainers.

Such collaborations show how public resources can be leveraged to improve overall public education and private and nonprofit medical organizations.

Bridge finds a home

Thumbs up to the state awarding Mankato the historic Kern Bridge.

The 148-year-old bridge is the only bow-string arch bridge remaining in Minnesota, the longest of its type in the U.S. and one of the oldest bridges of any type in the state.

Until 2020 it spanned the Le Sueur River, just miles from Mankato, when it was rescued from crumbling stone piers. Several communities and counties vied to get the bridge, with Mankato this week winning the competition.

The city will use the bridge to span the Blue Earth River to connect Sibley and Land of Memories parks, finally allowing for a pedestrian and bike crossing that also will fill a gap in the local trail system, and create a vital link between the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail on Mankato’s northeast side and Minneopa State Park to the southwest.

Mankato is a fitting location for the historic bridge. The city can restore the bridge to the National Register of Historic Places and showcase it close to its original home. And the bridge will finally bring a connection between Mankato’s two largest parks.

It will undoubtedly be a big attraction.

Picking up the pace

Thumbs up to the improvement this week in vaccinating Minnesotans against the coronavirus.

For the first month or so of vaccine availability, with the focus on inoculating health care workers and at-risk residents of care facilities, Minnesota was getting fewer than 10,000 people vaccinated a day. This week the average exceeded 25,000 a day, and on Thursday for the first time more than 30,000 got a shot.

David Montgomery, data reporter for Minnesota Public Radio News, noted Thursday that for the first time Minnesota is on track to vaccinate everyone by the end of the year. The goal, of course, should be much faster than that. The urgency has not gone away. Indeed, considering the threat posed by the new virus variations popping up, we are in a race with the virus.

Stay masked, stay mindful, stay safe — and get vaccinated when you can.

Can’t quit efforts

Thumbs down to Minnesota getting a failing grade from the American Lung Association for falling short in funding tobacco prevention programs.

The Lung Association said Minnesota is only using about $14 million in fiscal year 2021 for such programs where as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend Minnesota steer $52.9 million toward them.

That’s a woefully large gap. And although there is stiff competition for state dollars right now, the state’s tobacco-related revenues are reportedly more than $706 million with only a fraction of it used on prevention programs.

Obviously more needs to be done to prevent tobacco use in the state, especially among young people. The association also gave Minnesota a failing grade for lack of restrictions on flavored tobacco products.

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