To many, Edina is considered the gold standard in terms of providing its residents an outstanding quality of life. Already known for exceptional retail, dining, entertainment and education, Edina may one day also be known as a medical services destination or metro area wellbeing hub.
The idea stems from recent organic growth of new health care infrastructure like the Carl N. Platou Emergency Center at Fairview Southdale hospital, modern senior living options at Aurora on France and the future 7700 medical office building to be anchored by Twin Cities Orthopedics. Several local leaders like mayor James Hovland, Edina Chamber of Commerce president Lori Syverson and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota senior vice president of health services Garrett Black believe this type of growth has a positive effect on the community. “All of this activity has caused some of us to think about how we could drive this notion a bit more,” Hovland says regarding Edina’s potential to become a medical destination.
According to Black, becoming a medical destination means “there is a community recognition and reputation—that [Edina] becomes known for having a lot of medical assets where people are coming to [Edina] from outside the community for care.” Edina has already achieved some of this as it’s been adding medical office buildings and increasing its breadth and depth of medical professions. The city has also been at the forefront of wellness-minded initiatives such as increased walkability, added bike lanes and a reduction in tobacco sales.
To Black, a next step would be to ensure that Edina also be known as a great place to do business. “Blue Cross chose Edina as its first location for a retail store because of its robust health care community and supportive business environment,” says Black. He wants to help Edina’s health care ecosystem thrive by contributing to conversations about improved analytics, transportation and additional community health and wellness projects. “Ideally, [becoming a medical destination] means residents can get all or most of their medical needs met in Edina by coordinated stake holders in the community,” says Black.
Moreover, Syverson sees the initiative as encompassing a ground-up educational environment helping supply and train the necessary workforce for Edina’s medical services employers. Health care education programming could be increasingly offered through a variety of channels like Edina Community Education and Minnesota State Mankato in Edina. Lots of options are being discussed including the possibility of a medical education focused scholarship offered through the Chamber of Commerce. “We also want to find ways to keep young people in the community and help health care industry employees live and participate in life here in Edina,” Syverson says.
The specific pathways toward becoming a wellbeing hub are still being discussed though Edina’s current advantages are clear according to Hovland. “We have a great location that the Mayo Clinic cannot match. Edina also has the highest level of education in the metro area along with some natural alignment to higher education and medical technology,” he says. He wonders if Edina’s future business environment could even evolve beyond health care delivery to include more advanced innovation. “Maybe we can create affordable rents for start-ups in a technology hub—a tech equivalent to ‘maker space’ for software developers in the medical industry and otherwise,” Hovland says. “How can we create space for people who want to collaborate and exercise their creative powers? What elements do we need to have in place to make something like that successful? That’s what we’ll need to focus on next.”