Gov. Tim Walz announced last week that longtime government functionary Pamela Wheelock will join the Destination Medical Center Corporation board of directors, replacing Dana Bailey.

Wheelock most recently served as acting commissioner of the troubled Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services.

Wheelock’s biography on the DMC Corporation website notes that she also has served as chief operating officer of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, vice president of services at the University of Minnesota, interim president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and vice president of the Bush Foundation.

Wheelock also served in the administration of former Gov. Jesse Ventura as commissioner of finance. Before holding that post, she was executive vice president and CFO for the Minnesota Wild’s parent company, Minnesota Sports and Entertainment.

She also worked under former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman as that city’s director of Planning and Economic Development.

Wheelock will join the DMC board on Christmas Eve. Her appointment expires in January 2023.

DMC is a 20-year, $5.6 billion investment from public and private sources designed to make Rochester a magnet for biomedical research and other tech firms seeking to grow alongside the Mayo Clinic.

It is forecast to create 28,000 jobs by 2034.



Health grant targets lead exposure risks

The Minnesota Department of Health has been awarded a $3.3 million federal grant targeted at protecting families in southeast Minnesota from lead exposure and other household risks.

According to health department data, children in southeast Minnesota have higher rates of elevated lead levels in their blood than the statewide average.

Among the contributing factors to the higher rates: more older homes that have been painted with lead paint, a relatively high proportion of low-income families and a lack of new housing for a growing population.

The grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development will cover lead hazard reduction work in 151 housing units, including at least 31 in the Rochester region.

It will also fund efforts to raise awareness about lead hazards as well as increase the number of contractors in an 11-county area who are qualified to perform lead abatement work.