Public Health Matters: the quarterly IPHA e-newsletter

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  • 12 Dec 2018 11:30 AM | Anonymous

    IPHA President’s Column

    By: Beth Jones

    Recently, three IPHA leaders, Jeneane Moody, executive director; Rachel Schramm IPHA’s Affiliate Representative to the Governing Council; and I had the opportunity to attend the American Public Health Association (APHA) national meeting titled “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now”.  Through several days of meetings, we had the opportunity to broaden our public health knowledge and learn from experts across the country.  

    Because IPHA is an affiliate of APHA, we work hard to align strategies and initiatives. One of those initiatives is through our advocacy committee work and alignment with APHA’s “Speak for Health” campaign.  Speak for Health is how APHA stands up for public health interests in Washington DC and gives us a platform to align our voices across the nation.  As Iowa’s legislative session is on the horizon, we can also use these messages and opportunities to advocate our public health priorities at the state capitol, but our voices are just as critical to federal policy as they are in Iowa.  With new members of congress now elected, we have a unique opportunity to start early to build relationships and lend our expertise.

    How can you get involved? 

    While I was at APHA, I took the chance to add my message to the Speak for Health wall, and hope you will all join me in speaking up!

  • 12 Dec 2018 11:10 AM | Anonymous member

    Treasurer’s Report

    By: Bonnie Rubin

    I have had the honor of serving as IPHA’s treasurer since 2014.  This will be my last column since I plan to turn over my spreadsheets to fresh eyes and ideas starting the next board term in January.  A lot has happened since I first started this job. There have been challenges but there have been many more successes in the past few years.  I can think of two major challenges that we have turned into successes.  The first is no longer passing a deficit budget.  It was a hard decision yet, in 2016, when we had to transfer $30,000 from our savings to cover current expenses, the board understood that critical decisions must made in our financial management.  These decisions, although emotionally and professionally hard, along with significant strategic planning for the future have allowed us to achieve the second major challenge – establishing the Executive Director as a full-time employee position.  We converted the position from a contractor to an employee position over a year ago. The Board voted in October to make the position full time starting immediately.  The decision was based on our meeting the goal of reaching $51,000 in savings.  We are at $36,118 and with additional funding anticipated from grant funds the continued transfer of $1,750 from savings into our checking account we will reach that goal.  For the end of fiscal year 2018 (IPHA is on a calendar fiscal year), we anticipate a small positive margin.  

    The Board passed a conservative budget for 2019.  Even with increased expenses, we anticipate a significant positive margin.   In addition to revenues from membership dues, donors and meetings, we anticipate significant grant/contract funding from an anonymous donor for capacity building, Telligen Community Initiative, IDPH Immunization funding, and the Midwestern Public Health Training Center (Region VII) located at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.  The Board has developed guidelines for selection of what grants and contracts IPHA will pursue based on the synergy of the opportunity being consistent with IPHA’s mission and our capabilities.  The goal and expectations of what IPHA will accomplish this coming year is challenging yet very exciting. 

    As I sign off as IPHA’s Treasurer, I want to remind everyone of the importance in supporting your professional organization.  Please consider becoming a sustaining donor.  It’s easy and painless.  Most importantly, it contributes to assuring IPHA’s existence and continued awesome work in the future.  But I can’t go until I thank everyone I have worked with on the IPHA Board and committees.  But a special shout out needs to go to Jeneane Moody.  Thank you, Jeneane, for your patience, passion and perseverance throughout these years.

    I am so excited for the future of IPHA!

  • 12 Dec 2018 10:59 AM | Anonymous

    Sharing My IPHA Giving Stories

    IPHA is thankful for the many donors who give generously to our mission to unite and strengthen the voice for public health in Iowa.  From annual gifts to donor-directed workplace giving and employer matches to planned estate gifts, our members and friends find many ways to give and are motivated to do so by a variety of reasons.  IPHA sustaining donors have opted to set it and forget it with their IPHA giving.  These donors have enrolled in the IPHA sustaining donor program to make budget-friendly, automated monthly contributions.  Their sustaining gifts provide a reliable funding stream that IPHA can count on. 

    Recently several of our IPHA sustaining donors reflected on why they give and what they get out of their gifts to the association.  Check out IPHA social media (Facebook and Twitter) and the IPHA In Brief weekly email (members-only) for the “My IPHA Giving Story” feature.  If any of the reasons cited by our sustaining donors resonate with you, we hope you will join them as a sustaining donor here.

    IPHA would like to thank each and every donor who has invested in our mission this year. 

    A special thank you to Michael Wolnerman for his generous challenge gift in association with #GivingTuesday which drew down matching gifts in less than two days!  View our generous donors here and make your year-end gift to add your name to the list.

    IPHA would like to thank each and every donor who has invested in our mission this year.

  • 12 Dec 2018 10:50 AM | Anonymous

    Greetings from the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in San Diego!

    By: Rachel Schramm, IPHA Affiliate Representative to the Governing Council

    It was an honor to represent Iowa as the Affiliate Representative for the Governing Council (ARGC) at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo last month in San Diego. Below are highlights from my first APHA experience as an ARGC!

    APHA Policy Statement Adoption

    APHA has a collection of policy statements developed by the membership on key public health topics, from obesity to breastfeeding to the control of infectious disease. Proposed policy statements only become official APHA policy statements after approval by the APHA Governing Council at the annual meeting. In 2018, a total of 12 policy statements were approvedincluding:

      *   Reducing global child mortality rates (20181)

      *   Addressing potential health impacts of fracking (20182)

      *   Ensuring a healthy energy future (20183)

      *   Reducing gun-related suicides (20184)

      *   Understanding, treating violence as a public health issue (20185)

      *   Regulating electronic nicotine delivery products (20186)

      *   Preventing tuberculosis among health workers (20187)

      *   Advancing the health of refugees (20188)

      *   Achieving health equity in the U.S. (20189)

      *   Supporting global food security (201810)

      *   Addressing police violence as a public health issue (201811)

      *   Opposing family-child separations at the U.S. border (LB-18-12)

     APHA Policy Action Institute: February 6, 2019 in Washington, DC

    APHA is hosting an opportunity to engage with public health leaders about critical issues facing our nation. Building on the 2019 Academy Health National Health Policy Conference, APHA is organizing this additional day of discussions with a sharp focus on public health policy. Consider attending to explore important issues such as environmental health, violence prevention, immigrant children's health and women's health. Who should attend: Health care providers, researchers, health and public interest lawyers, health policy specialists, legislators, community-based activists, public health professionals, students. Registration cost: $300 (includes breakfast and lunch); more information available here.

    Consider becoming an APHA Member

    If you aren't already, I would encourage you to become an IPHA Member. If you are already an IPHA member, please consider becoming an APHA Member and joining a network of 25,000+ peers working to make a difference in public health throughout the nation. Your membership will provide you with timely news and research from the national level via The Nation's Health and American Journal of Public Health. Additionally, you have the opportunity to network and experience professional development opportunities through APHA’s Annual Meeting and Expo and various other in-person and web offerings throughout the year. The organization is more than a professional association, APHA is a community of passionate members united in a common goal to create the healthiest nation in one generation. Please consider this opportunity in the new year!

    Thanks for giving me this opportunity and I look forward to sharing more information in the months ahead! - Rachel

  • 12 Dec 2018 10:45 AM | Anonymous member

    Interview with Brian Hanft, Environmental Health Service Manager, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health

    Briefly describe your work and its relation to public health.

    Greetings! For nearly twenty-five years, I have worked in a local public/environmental health office. Currently, I am the environmental health service manager for the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health. My primary duties involve directing, coordinating, and supervising the environmental services that include inspections services for food, swimming pool/spa, onsite waste water, non-public water wells, as well as water testing, mosquito surveillance, healthy homes, radon testing, animal bites and nuisance investigations. I manage a budget and complete routine reporting. In our organization, environmental and public health is one in the same. They are directly connected to one another sharing office space, general public health functions, strategic plans, and response programming. 

    What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

    The most rewarding aspect of my work is observing colleagues build and develop programs from the ground up. By allowing people to use their “brainware” to develop or revamp programs with positive impacts and outcomes, it connects them to their work and workplace.

    The second most rewarding aspects of my work are the public health impacts that allow people to lead healthier lives. In 2015, a five year research project was completed that identified the source of arsenic in rural water supplies and the ways to minimize exposures for well users. This work, which was the cumulative work by many state organizations, lead to programmatic changes in the Grants To Counties (GTC) allowing arsenic testing statewide. (

    What led you to this career?

    As a UNI student, I stumbled upon this career via an internship with the Black Hawk County Health Department. The internship turned into a part-time job and then a full-time job. In 1998, I transitioned to Des Moines where I worked for Polk County environmental health for four years. In 2002, I moved to Cerro Gordo County to serve in my current position. I’m still not sure how 25 years has passed. Regardless, this career path has been challenging and rewarding.

    What do you see as the greatest challenges and opportunities for public health in Iowa in the next two years?

    There are so many challenges facing public health in the coming years but I feel some of the primary ones include:

    • Programmatic funding (tax support, grant competition, etc) is a constant challenge. We can all use more money, right?
    • Recruiting adequately trained staff will become more and more difficult (nurses, sanitarians, grant writers, administrators).
    • Keeping pace with technology – telemedicine, 5G wireless connectivity, and mental health will become increasingly a concern for people who are isolated by the technology.
    • Chronic disease management (diabetes, heart disease, obesity) versus wellness programming – how does public health AT LEAST slow the progression of childhood obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease?  
    • Cannabis. Legalized recreational use of marijuana should be a program we prepare for. In my opinion, it is just a matter of time before it is legalized nationally. This will be both a challenge and an opportunity.

    There are also many opportunities for public health in the next two years. They include:

    • Local impact on climate change – local public health can promote programs that reduce our carbon footprint including solar energy promotion (Linn and Johnson Counties have already initiated these efforts), wind energy, geothermal energy.
    • Advancing technology to keep pace with current trends and processes. Telemedicine is a great example.
    • Improve and promote partnerships.
    • Seek grant funding to help offset programmatic cuts.
    • Advance the Aging in Place model of public health.
    • Continue to advance emergency preparedness

    What role do you think IPHA could play in meeting those opportunities?

    IPHA is a key partner for advancing public health policy through advocacy, education, and networking. IPHA will be a leader in making educational opportunities available and our policy efforts.  

  • 12 Dec 2018 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    Invitation to Sponsor or Exhibit at 2019 Iowa Governor's Conference on Public Health

    The Iowa Governor's Conference on Public Health, the premiere convening of Iowa's public and environmental health community, will be held 4.23.19 & 4.24.19 in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Being a sponsor or exhibitor allows you to reach a quality public health audience creating brand visibility, face-to-face interaction and gives you the opportunity to build important business relationships.  Over 500 public and environmental health professionals are expected to attend the two-day conference.

    There are several ways to participate and support the 2019 Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health including: exclusive sponsorship opportunities, standard sponsorship opportunities and exhibiting opportunities.  Learn more.

  • 12 Dec 2018 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    IPHA 2018 Legislative Forum

    On 12.06.18, IPHA hosted its annual Legislative Forum at the Iowa Laboratories Facility in Ankeny.

    The room was near capacity with great attendance and robust engagement by IPHA members and partners.  IPHA Advocacy Committee Co-Chair, Julie McMahon opened the meeting and IPHA President-Elect, Sherri Marine, welcomed participants and celebrated the year-round efforts of the IPHA Advocacy.

    Members and partners then shared their respective legislative priorities for the 2019 session during an open mic forum facilitated by Coralville Mayor John Lundell (past IPHA board member).

    Threase Harms (Advocacy Strategies) gave an overview of the incoming legislature with updates on elections, chamber leadership and committees and projections on key issues likely to be taken up by the General Assembly. 

    Presentations and Q&A with two panels followed.  Dr. Tami Swenson (Des Moines University) moderated the executive branch panel comprised of directors, legislative liaisons or other representatives as follows:

    • Amy McCoy, Iowa Department of Public Health
    • Director Jerry Foxhoven, Iowa Department of Human Services
    • Dr. Michael Pentella, State Hygienic Laboratory
    • Jeremy-Johnson Miller and Mindi Nguyen, Iowa Department of Transportation

    The forum concluded with the ever-popular legislator panel moderated by Jim Obradovich (The Capitol Group).  Participating legislators were:

    • Representative Lisa Heddens
    • Representative-Elect Heather Matson
    • Senator Joe Bolkcom
    • Senator Mark Costello

    A wide range of public health issues were raised throughout the forum included; however, the topics of public health funding, mental health, oral health, privatization of Medicaid, water quality, health data and tobacco tax were most salient.

    Thanks to all the members, partners, volunteers and presenters who invested their time and travel to make this event a success.

  • 12 Dec 2018 9:30 AM | Anonymous

    Public Health History: A Poem on Rural Sanitation

    Submitted by: Dr. Ron Eckoff

    The following offering “Rural Sanitation – 1912” is by W.C. Rucker, M.S., M.D., Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health and Marine Hospital Service.  It was reprinted from the April, May, June, 1912 issue of Bulletin of the Iowa State Board of Health.

    The happy days of childhood

    I often call to mind,

    I love to live them o’re again

    By memories light refined –

    The orchard and the meadow,

    And the loft of fragrant hay,

    The garden and the privy,

    And the well not far away

    The farm yard with its litter

    Of manure round about,

    The milking shed where flies galore

    Flew buzzing in and out,

    The pig-sty and the chicken house,

    The hens that scratched all day

    In the ground beneath the privy,

    With the well not far away.

    We took our joys and sorrows

    As they chanced to come along,

    My brother had the ground-itch

    And he didn’t grow up strong,

    And Mary died of fever –

    It was mighty sad that day –

    But we didn’t blame the privy

    Nor the well not far away

    In the summer time, mosquitoes

    Used to sing the whole long night,

    But we would keep the windows closed

    And thus avoid the bite,

    But Billy got the ague

    And Lizzie pined away –

    Mosquitoes – foul air – privy,

    And the well not far away.

    We used to think that death was just

    A punishment for sin –

    The sin of ignorance I say! –

    So let us now begin

    To try and get the windows screened

    But open night and day,

    And a sanitary privy

    With the well quite far away.

    Let’s clean the cows at milking time,

    Let’s clean the barnyard too,

    Let’s rid ourselves of fevers

    And the chills and ague crew,

    Let in the air and sunshine

    But drive the fly away

    With the ancient typhoid privy

    With the well not far away.

  • 12 Dec 2018 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Impact of Milk Pasteurization on Public Health

    By: Dr. Russell Currier

    After chlorination of water, milk pasteurization has probably had the greatest impact on the public’s health especially for infants and children.  One of the common waterborne diseases was typhoid fever and a number of pre-pasteurization era disease milk-borne outbreaks also included typhoid fever.  This occurred even after pasteurization technology was available to dairies.  Two other common human contaminants of milk were streptococcal infections and diphtheria both facilitated by hand milking.  Dairies were reluctant even opposed to install pasteurization for market milk based on costs; most physicians influenced by then common rickets and scurvy, opposed pasteurization as perceived to reduce its nutrient content.

    Russell Currier, retired Iowa State Public Health Veterinarian and John Widness, retired University of Iowa Neonatalogist, have studied this history and published a review paper, entitled A Brief History of Milk Hygiene and Its Impact on Infant Mortality from 1875 to 1925 and Implication for Today: A Review, in the Journal of Food Protection, Vol 81, No 10, 2018, Pages 1713-1722.  This review includes detail on human as well as bovine diseases transmitted through milk.  It concludes with an epilogue section detailing the importance of breast feeding infants as well as current pathogens associated with unpasteurized milk e.g. E. coli O157, campylobacter, and salmonella. 

    For a PDF reprint of this paper please contact Dr. Currier at

  • 12 Dec 2018 8:30 AM | Anonymous

    Evaluation of SNAP-Ed Program: Fresh Conversations

    IPHA member, Doris Montgomery, was one of the lead authors on the article “Nutritional Risk among Congregate Meal Site Participants: Benefits of a SNAP-Ed Program” published in the Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics.

    The study examined the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) program Fresh Conversations on older adults’ nutritional risk. 

    Asked about the importance of this evaluation, Doris Montgomery responded:

    “When we put our hearts and souls into creating new programs, and we see the enthusiasm for them from our community partners, we believe in them! But it's not enough. We have to use rigorous evaluation methods to justify the investment of public funds and contributions of community partners. That's what we've done, and continue to do, with Fresh Conversations and our SNAP-Ed funds. Evaluation is a process--it's really never over--but it feels great when the results are finally published.”

    Learn more about Fresh Conversations here.  To access the evaluation findings, contact Doris Montgomery, Community Health and Nutrition Consultant at Iowa Department of Public Health at doris.montgomery@idph.iowagov.

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