Public Health Matters: the quarterly IPHA e-newsletter

  • 26 Jun 2019 8:45 AM | Anonymous

    President's Column

    Hello IPHA members! My first six months as Board President have given me reason to reflect on the scope of my experience with IPHA. When I first became a member, I was not real familiar with all that the Association had to offer. I just knew that I wanted to be a part of the collective voice for public health. In the nearly two decades since, I have participated in many IPHA activities and committees and am proud of the work we do to support the communities in Iowa and raise awareness of the needs of a strong public health infrastructure, funding and workforce at the local and state level. As an affiliate of the American Public Health Association, we also help set policy direction at the national level. We have supported many different initiatives over the years on a variety of public health topics. All of which promote strong & healthy communities, develop healthy kids that are better prepared to learn, and contribute to the economic and social capital of Iowa.

    This past year IPHA has been in transition, which makes it an exciting time to be the President of our association. We have implemented a new strategic plan that is helping guide the direction of IPHA and grow the membership. It gives us the capability to support our members through developing our workforce for the future. We will be changing the view of IPHA soon with a new logo and development of a communications and marketing plan. Watch for ways you as a member can be a part of this exciting transition.

    Another big transition this year has been hiring a new Executive Director for the association. After 15 years as the Executive Director for IPHA, Jeneane Moody moved on to the next phase of her career. We will miss her as a part of the IPHA executive team but wish her well and will see her working for public health in many other ways.

    I would like to welcome Lina Tucker Reinders, our new Executive Director, who joined us April 29, 2019. Lina has been working diligently with me along with Kim Novy, our Administrative Assistant, to get up to speed on the day to day needs of IPHA. Lina has been spending lots of time meeting with our partners, grantors, IPHA committees and members, to learn how IPHA can support the needs of the public health communities. Next time you’re at an event and Lina is there or you’re in the Des Moines area please stop by the IPHA office (501 SW 7th Street, Suite G, Des Moines) and get to know her. Let her know your ideas on workforce development and how IPHA can help support your needs across the state.

    I am looking forward to my two-year term as your president. Don’t hesitate to contact me and let me know how I can help. We have some exciting times ahead and I want you to be a part of it.

    Sherri Marine

    IPHA President

  • 26 Jun 2019 8:40 AM | Anonymous

    My IPHA Giving Story //Donor Listing

    By: Lina Tucker Reinders, Executive Director

    Many of you have heard me say that when I moved to Iowa in 2011, the first thing I did professionally was join IPHA. There was no question in my mind that the best way for me to learn about and get involved with the public health community locally was to become a member of IPHA. In the years since, every time I renew my membership, I give a little more than my dues. And this month, I became a sustaining donor!  

    Just like any nonprofit organization, we rely on donors to help us maintain the services we provide to you, our members – like this newsletter, in-person networking events, educational opportunities like the Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health, support for local and state-level advocacy like the IPHA Day on the Hill, and more. In the coming year, we are planning for even more, including the development of a statewide public health workforce development committee to help meet the needs of the changing professional landscape of public health 

    IPHA serves to unite and strengthen the voice of public health across Iowa. Will you become an IPHA Friend of Public Health and help us amplify our collective voice? 

    Ways you can give: 

    • Make a one-time donation anytime, especially when you renew your membership 

    • Become a sustaining donor (you set the amount, and your card is charged every month) 

    • Contribute to the legacy of IPHA through our endowment or by including IPHA in your planned estate giving 

    • Make use of your employer’s charitable giving match program 

    • Shop ‘til you drop – elect IPHA to receive a percentage of your Amazon purchases when you log in via 

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

  • 26 Jun 2019 8:35 AM | Anonymous

    Member Spotlight – John Peterson, members since 2015

    Briefly describe your work and its relation to public health.

    I spent most of my career, 38 years, as the Planning Director for Ankeny, Iowa. After leaving the City in 2015, I started a consulting firm focused on community planning, Peterson Planning Strategies, LLC. I work with communities to develop comprehensive plans, strategic plans and development codes. I also volunteer with the American Planning Association Iowa Chapter, serving as their “Health Liaison”; and AARP Iowa as an Executive Council Member and the Livable Communities Lead.

    In my APA role I work on a program called Planning Healthy Iowa Communities which is an effort to build collaborations to create healthy outcomes in the areas of nutrition and built environment. In my work with AARP I try to connect community members to the great resources AARP has to help make communities more livable for all ages. As we all learn more about socio-economic impacts on a persons’ health, I believe it is imperative that planners and public health professionals connect and collaborate. As a planner and engineer I influence and design communities with the hope of making them healthier and more livable for all residents.

    What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

    I have to say that it is very rewarding to have community members and peers share that they have been influenced in a positive way, because they witness my passion for my work and the residents and communities that I serve.

    What led you to this career?

    I studied engineering in college and graduated from Iowa State University in 1978 with a degree in Engineering Operations. My fiancé was continuing at ISU to become a veterinarian. I was lucky to find a position as a Jr. Civil Engineer with the City of Ankeny. Ankeny was just beginning to grow and I was offered many opportunities to expand my role and responsibilities there over the years; working in planning, building, housing and economic development serving over 30 years as a department director. Several years ago, a friend invited me to an IDPH committee meeting where a group of public health professionals were writing a complete streets policy. That visit and the ensuing years of learning more about public health through serving on additional committees and understanding the cause and effect data have continued to stir my passion for service.

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

    I believe that the greatest challenge is raising awareness of the positive influence that public health professionals are making in the long-term health of our citizens. In planning and in public health there are a few visible outcomes. Those are the tip of the iceberg to the many positive things done by planners and public health professionals that create environments and lifestyles that provide people a positive and productive life. The constant work of defending programs and seeking funding to carry out programs is a stressful weight upon the professionals that should be free to practice and improve population health. I believe that the more we can collaborate with a variety of partners to educate and implement positive outcomes the stronger our efforts will become. Healthy influences and healthy outcomes should be built into many systems in many professions… not to be considered an additional step or review that’s necessary; but as a practical application as a natural part of what we do.

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

    1. Raise our membership and our peers up. Celebrate them for the heroes that they are and be loud about it and be everywhere with it. Let’s not just sing to our own choir. Show elected and business leadership, private and public, why the work of public health should be highly valued.

    2. Collaborate with everyone… ride every bus, not just the “health” bus. Show everyone the positive impacts of including public health professionals in the conversation, in the planning and in the programs/projects.

  • 26 Jun 2019 8:30 AM | Anonymous

    2019 Iowa Governor's Conference on Public Health

    By: Dr. Jeremy Whitaker, IPHA President-Elect

    With over 500 attendees, the 2019 Governor’s Conference on Public Health was one of the best attended in recent years. Keynote speakers Dr. Pam Aaltonen (American Public Health Association President), Andy Wessel (Community Health Planner with Douglas County Health Department in Omaha), and Des Moines oncologist and philanthropist Dr. Richard Deming left a huge impression on conference attendees. Those who saw Dr. Deming’s closing keynote about taking a group of cancer survivors across the world to the Mt. Everest base camp could not help but to be inspired.

    That said, the heart of the conference is drawing on our local and collective public health community’s experience. Conference Co-Chair and Cerro Gordo Deputy Director Kara Vogelson remarked on the importance of connecting with other public health professionals:

    In the Micropolitan Health session, I had the opportunity for small group discussion with attendees from across Iowa and Missouri. Though our communities are different, we had similar economic, housing, and health concerns and in our discussion, we shared several ideas for programs and services that may work in each of our communities. Having another perspective and fresh ideas is one of the best take-aways from this conference.

    The IGCPH had much to offer in addition to quality educational sessions. "It was great learning about the variety of projects happening in the public health field in Iowa.  I also enjoyed seeing so many colleagues from my work over the years!” said Julie Hibben from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

    Kelly Sparks, one of the planners for the conference said “the IGCPH planning partners put together some fantastic content and worked to create opportunities for attendees to network with others in the public health field. It was our hope that people left the conference ready to put new operations and collaborations into practice and we look forward to furthering this during the 2020 conference."

    The dust has barely settled from the 2019 conference, but planning for next year’s conference is already underway. The planning committee is discussing the theme for 2020, which will in turn determine the keynote speakers and influence abstract selection.

    Did you fill out a conference evaluation? If so, we heard you! If there was a take-away for improving next year’s conference, it would be improving conference atmosphere. “We have great speakers and a facility that people really like. However, I think as a planning committee we can try to lighten the mood and encourage more networking during our breaks” said Dr. Jeremy Whitaker from IPHA. He, along with Dr. Don Simmons from IEHA, will be next year’s conference co-chairs. The 2020 Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health will be April 7-8, 2020 at the Holiday Inn Des Moines – Airport Conference Center.

  • 26 Jun 2019 8:25 AM | Anonymous

    IPHA Advocacy Committee and the 88th Iowa General Assembly – Legislative Recap

    By: Chris Espersen & Brandon Rohrig, IPHA Advocacy Committee Co-chairs

    The IPHA Advocacy committee meets year-round, with a particular focus while the Iowa legislature is in session. Our role is to monitor bills making their way through the legislature that significantly impact public health and inform the membership. The IPHA 2019 Policy Priorities focused on increasing support for Health in All Policies and public health investment.

    Major events this year:

    • Public Health Day on the Hill was successful despite occurring the day after the worst blizzard of the year.  There were 14 public health advocates present at the capitol speaking with different legislators. Messages were focused on the American Public Health Association’s #SpeakForHealth campaign as well as the “Know Public Health” versus No Public Health posters

    • HF 766 completed the budget for public health that saw funds remain the same from the year before, including a permanent loss of $300,000 to IDPH. These funds were transferred in 2016 from LPHS to the medical cannabinoid to start its funding. Now that the cannabinoid program is self-sustaining, Governor Reynolds supported transferring the funds back, however this was not included in the final bill. The Governor signed the legislation and the Department now considers this to be a permanent cut.

    • SF 438 sought, among other things, to remove the mandate for schools to perform vision and dental screenings and put the onus of reporting the lead screening on the parents. IPHA members Delaney Bounds and Lynh Patterson put together an amazing informational sheet on SF 438 which was sent to the committee and legislators.

    Despite the tremendous loss with regards to House File 766, the session was a quiet one without too much disturbance on the public health front.  There were multiple bills that were introduced and some moved forward without making it to a vote. Looking ahead to 2020, we will be watching for issues ranging from immunizations to funding and more. Watch your inbox for Action Alerts outlining ways you can #SpeakForHealth in Iowa.

    The advocacy committee recently transferred the co-chair reigns from long time leaders Susan Pohl and Julie McMahon to Chris Espersen and Brandon Rohrig.  Susan and Julie led the committee for many years – no one can seem to recall when they actually started. Their leadership is much appreciated and evident from the breadth of the current committee.

    Upcoming Advocacy Events:

    Thursday, December 5, 2019 - Legislative Forum  Register here

    Monday, February 10, 2020 - Public Health Day on the HIll Register here

  • 26 Jun 2019 8:20 AM | Anonymous

    Public Health, Then and Now: Don't Let the Scary Times Come Back/Facts Over Fear

    Editor’s note: 

    It’s critically important that we learn from history and apply the lessons to today’s practice. IPHA is fortunate to have both retirees and young professionals within our membership. The synergies that come from combining wisdom and experience with innovation and systems thinking is what is necessary to meet the challenges of today’s public health challenges.  

    For this article, I asked two IPHA members with different generational experiences to share their thoughts on the increase in vaccine hesitancy and resulting measles outbreaks. I hope you find insight in their words. Look for this Then and Now format in future newsletters. 

    Don’t Let the Scary Times Come Back 

    By: Dr. Ron Eckoff, IPHA Past President (1972)

    The Fall 2014 newsletter had an article with the same title.  It focused on polio, but at the end mentioned measles, pertussis and other diseases were making a comeback.  Since that time the comeback of childhood diseases has accelerated.  The World Health Organization is calling vaccine hesitancy, the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite available vaccines, one of the top ten global health threats.  It is a problem all around the world, including the United States. 

    As I started to write this a few months ago, the State of Washington had just declared a public health emergency due to a measles outbreak.  I was also in the middle of reading: “The Cruelest Miles”; the story of getting Diphtheria antitoxin to Nome Alaska by dogsled in 1925.  Heroic efforts were made to combat the epidemic.  There was no hesitancy.  Many individuals risked their lives in the effort.   

    As of June 20, 2019, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control reported 1,077 cases of measles so far this year, an increase of 33 from the previous week.  The total for all of 2018 was 372.  In 2017 it was 170.  The May 28, 2019 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association includes an interesting commentary “Safe Vaccinations for a Healthy Nation” by GostinRatzan, and Bloom. 

    People with no experience with so-called “common childhood diseases” like measles, pertussis and diphtheria may consider them to be no threat.  These same individuals would probably think of smallpox and polio as dreadful, deadly diseases.  However, biennial reports of the State Board of Health document that between 1908 and 1937 there were many more deaths in Iowa due to measles, diphtheria and pertussis than due to Polio or smallpox. I hope this data may be of use in combating vaccine hesitancy in Iowa. 

    Please visit the IPHA history website to learn more about the history of public health in Iowa, around the world, and of IPHA. 

    Facts Over Fear 

    By: Danielle Pettit-Majewski, IPHA Board Members & APHA Representative

    Memorial Day is often seen as the kick off to summer, but in 2019, it marked the worst measles outbreak the United States has seen since it was eradicated from the country 19 years ago.  

    There’s been generational amnesia about the seriousness and severity of measles, and fear about the fallacy that there’s a link between measles and autism. We at the local public health agencies have been doing our part to be on the front lines of dispelling misinformation by spearheading campaigns to share factual information with our communities. 

    Fact: Measles is not a benign disease. The health consequences include pneumonia, brain damage, and deafness. Additionally, 1-2 out of 1,000 will die from this disease. Given the numbers of cases to date, many in public health expect there to be a measles death this year. 

    Fact: Young children are more likely to suffer these consequences.  

    Fact: In under vaccinated communities, one individual can infect up to 18 others.  

    Fact: There is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The UK physician who published the original article was stripped of his medical license and the Lancet retracted the paper and it is no longer considered part of the scientific record. 

    As public health professionals, we cannot let the fear speak louder than the facts. Parents naturally want what is best for their children, and we have the privilege and responsibility of sharing the facts and the potential consequences associated with the growing trend of “vaccine hesitancy.” This requires relationship building at the local level and honest, evidence-based conversations with parents.  

  • 26 Jun 2019 8:15 AM | Anonymous

    Allen College Offering Free Journal Articles Statewide

    By: Dr. Jeremy Whitaker, IPHA President-Elect

    It is not every day that you need a peer-reviewed journal article. However, when writing a grant proposal, preparing for a conference presentation, or justifying your activities to a funder, they can be invaluable. But getting what you need off of the internet can be hard and sometimes, quite expensive.

    That is why Allen College now offers free help for public health agencies (government and nonprofit) with research assistance through the Iowa Public Health Research Center website. Funded by the National Library of Medicine, we offer many of the services you have not been able to get since you were probably a student. Here are a few:

            Journal Articles: Send us the name and author of the article or articles you want, and we will email a pdf file back to you.

            Literature searches: Not sure what you want? Send us a topic and we will email you 5-10 articles.

            Books: We are a library after all. If you want a book from our library, we will send it to you (but you do have to pay return postage). A good way to try-before-you buy on reference and text books.

            Training on National Library of Medicine resources: There is a lot of great – and free! – information available online. We can provide a brief training to help you maximize your search efforts.

    Visit our website to get started! Do you have questions? Want us to stop by your next staff meeting for a 30 minute training? Drop me an email at

    (This program is funded through National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number 1UG4LM012346. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.)

  • 26 Jun 2019 8:10 AM | Anonymous

    Iowa Public Health Tracking Moves to Quarterly Updates

    By: Heather Llyod, IPHA

    This past year, the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Tracking program has moved to a quarterly schedule in which the Iowa Public Health Tracking (IPHT) portal updates are released. These updates are released in the Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall of each year.  Since the Tracking program started its quarterly updates in the summer of 2018, many new data areas of public health interest have been released including: 


    • Colorectal Cancer Data

    • Cervical Cancer Data


    • Fireworks Injury ED Visits Data


    • Prediabetes Data

    • Diabetes Data

    • Diabetes Screening Data

    Oral Health

    • Emergency Department  Visits Data

    • Hospitalizations Data

    • Child Dental Services Medicaid Data

    Lead Poisoning

    • Lead Exposure Risk Model Data

    Lyme Disease

    • Lyme Disease Incidence Data

    Substance Use and Misuse

    • Substance-Involved Mortality Data


    The Spring 2019 portal update release included additional data from one of Tracking’s newest partners, the Immunization program.  The data displayed on the IPHT portal is from the Immunization Registry Information System (IRIS) and is used to calculate county and state immunization rates. The data available will allow IPHT portal users to find information such as the following:

    • The 2-year-old county immunization rate for the 4-3-1-3-3-1-4 series (4 DTaP, 3 Polio, 1 MMR, 3 Hib, 3 Hep B, 1 Varicella, 4 PCV by 24 months of age) ranges from 57 to 91 percent, with a state immunization rate of 74 percent. 

    • The adolescent, 13-15-year-old, county immunization rate for the 3-1-2-1-2 (3 Hep B, 1 Meningococcal, 2 MMR, 1 Td or Tdap, 2 Varicella) series ranges from 42 to 90 percent, with an average state immunization rate of 67 percent.

    Immunization data also includes:

    • Childhood Immunizations Data: 2 Year-Olds

    • Adolescent Immunizations Data: 13-15 Years of Age

    • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine Data

    • Influenza Vaccine Data

    • School Immunization Audits

    • Child Care Immunization Audits

    The next quarterly update for the portal will be released on August 5, 2019. If you would like to be notified when the portal updates are released, please subscribe here

    Visit the Iowa Public Health Tracking portal at https://tracking.idph.iowa.govto view the all of the available data.

  • 26 Jun 2019 8:05 AM | Anonymous

    Planning Healthy Iowa Communities Essay Contest

    By: John Peterson, IPHA member & APA-Iowa Health Liaison

    The American Planning Association Iowa Chapter, as a part of our collaborative work with the Iowa Public Health Association, is again sponsoring the Planning Healthy Iowa Communities Essay Contest 

    This year’s theme is "Connecting Public Health with Community Planning." We are looking for ideas and success stories on how public health and planning collaborations can create positive outcomes for individuals and communities.  

    Two members of either IPHA or the Iowa Environmental Health Association will receive a $500 stipend to attend the APA Iowa annual conference this October 9-11 at the Graduate Hotel in Iowa City, Iowa. 

    Rules and guidelines are available on the IPHA website under Funding Opportunities in the Members Only section or contact John Peterson.  

    Please note, you must be an IPHA member to view the Funding Opportunities page, and to participate in the essay contest. If you are not yet a member, we invite you to join today and enjoy all the benefits of an IPHA membership!

  • 26 Jun 2019 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Save these Dates!

    7/25/18 – IPHA at LPHS Region 2 meeting (Clear Lake) 

    7/26/18 – IPHA at LPHS Region 1 meeting (Nevada) 

    8/1/18 – Deadline for Planning Healthy Iowa Communities 2019 Essay Contest 

    10/22/18 – IPHA at LPHS Region 3 meeting (Cherokee) 

    10/24/18 – IPHA at LPHS Region 6 meeting (Cedar Rapids) 

    10/25/18 – IPHA at LPHS Region 5 meeting (Ottumwa) 

    11/2-6/2019 – APHA Annual Meeting – let us know if you are attending! 

    12/5/18 – IPHA Legislative Forum – This event sells out – Register Now! 

    1/23/19 – IPHA at LPHS Region 4 meeting (Atlantic) 

    2/10/19 – IPHA Day on the Hill - Register Now!

Iowa Public Health Association  - Uniting and strengthening the voice for public health in Iowa

IPHA Terms of Use and Privacy Statement  |  IPHA Website Linkage Policy

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software