Iowa Public Health Association 

Public Health Matters: the quarterly IPHA e-newsletter

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  • 13 Sep 2018 4:50 PM | Anonymous member

    By: The Prevention Institute 

    A synthesis of interviews with organizational leaders from across the country, Partnering for Health Equity: Grassroots Organizations on Collaborating with Public Health Agencies, explores how grassroots and community-based organizations have worked with public health agencies to navigate systemic, structural, and political challenges to address health inequities and racial injustices.

    These leaders’ wisdom from experience reveals practical strategies and real-world advice about being deeply engaged on a journey with public health departments to grapple with significant and systematic inequities to close preventable gaps in health and wellbeing. Approaches that emerged from the conversations include:

    • Placing health equity at the center of public health efforts:
    • Public health agencies can make addressing structural racism, discrimination, and bias part of their mandate, and can use their relationships with other government agencies to transform policies, practices, and funding streams that affect health and equity.
    • Valuing community experience and capacity:
    • Deep engagement between health agencies and community residents can help identify root causes of inequities—like community trauma and unequal distribution of power—as well as build trust and foster long-term relationships.

    Educating and influencing policymakers and government agencies:

    Public health can play a unique role when it uses its expertise and data to educate policymakers and agencies about the role of structural factors and community conditions in creating and perpetuating racial and health inequities.

    The paper highlights community-centered health agency partnerships to advance health and racial equity, from King County in Washington and Monterey County, California, to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and the Minnesota Department of Health.

    Additional products and findings from the full effort are forthcoming.  To learn more about the project or to be notified when additional resources become available, please contact Juliet Sims at

  • 13 Sep 2018 4:49 PM | Anonymous member

    By: Dr. Jeremy Whitaker 

    A decade or so ago, I was a newly minted MPH from the University of Iowa and excited to take on my first public health job. I was hired by a health department in Northern California to start a needle exchange in a somewhat rural setting. The first thing I wanted to do was rip into the literature and see what had been done before and how I could adapt those practices to my local setting.

    But as most of you know from experience, outside of the university you do not get access to a lot of peer-reviewed articles. You just have to grateful for the handful of documents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Google Scholar can provide you.

    This is what led to the creation of the Iowa Public Health Research Center (IPHRC) at Allen College. Funded by the National Library of Medicine, staff at local health departments and non-profits working on public health grants can use our biomedical library like they are students on our campus. Here are a summary:

    ·         Access to articles through library resources and Inter-library Loan

    ·         Literature searches conducted by library staff

    ·         Access to over 12,000 books and media items in our library

    ·         Training on using existing federal resources such as PubMed, MedlinePlus, Clincal eCompanion, and HealthReach

    Need a specific article behind a pay wall? Need 10 articles on wound care? How about a textbook on epidemiology or nursing communication? Or would you like to get better at using federal sources for patient materials in different languages? Want to finally get around to watching Escape Fire? We are happy to help and all services are at no cost to you.

    IPHRC now covers 52 counties; see the map at the bottom. What are some uses for materials from the Research Center?

    • Creating and justifying new programs
    • Improving patient care
    • Evidence for a grant proposal
    • Reporting to funders and stakeholders (Boards of Health, IDPH)
    • Creating a conference poster or presentation (for instance, the Governor’s Conference which is currently accepting abstracts)
    • Professional and personal education

    Would you like more information? Visit our website, sign up for newsletter, or reach out to Dr. Jeremy Whitaker, Director of Public Health at Allen College.

    Developed resources reported in this website are supported by the 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.

  • 13 Sep 2018 4:48 PM | Anonymous member

    By: Derek Johnson, Health Professionals Outreach Specialist, National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region

    When you think about your resources and partners, where do libraries fit?

    • Have you utilized a public library space to host an event that educates the community about important public health topics?
    • Is your local public library director invited to the table when discussing emergency preparedness plans?
    • Do you take advantage of the many websites and databases offered by the National Library of Medicine to stay current with, and provide access to, free reliable health information?

    If not, maybe you should.

    A recent article from Preventing Chronic Disease calls out the role that public libraries can play in supporting public health efforts to address chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Lead author, Eliza Whiteman, notes that library staff are often “interacting with patrons about social concerns, such as mental health, substance use, welfare, employment, and domestic violence. This, in addition to, connecting vulnerable populations with health information.”

    As a natural conduit to the public, libraries can play a valuable role in supporting the efforts of public health outreach and information dissemination.

    Over the last 2.5 years, the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (GMR), located at the University of Iowa, has worked to engage, connect and train both public librarians and public health professionals to improve the public’s health through access to reliable health information.

    During this time the GMR has:

    • Provided free training on topics like evidence-based public health, accessing health information in multiple languages, and health services research
    • Funded a public health department to purchase health kiosks for local public libraries and host health and wellness workshops for the public and health professionals
    • Welcomed 20 public health organizations as members of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) – it’s free to join!

    In Iowa, the GMR recently funded Allen College to establish the Iowa Public Health Research Center. This Center provides library services and access to library materials for the public health workforce in the north-eastern region of the state.

    On a national level, the GMR is coordinating and supporting engagement and communication around the NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network. This work connects NNLM members with public libraries to help support the health information needs of their users, in addition to raising awareness of the All of Us Research Program.

    The All of Us Research Program, for those not familiar, is a historic effort to gather data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs. By taking into account individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biology, researchers will uncover paths toward delivering precision medicine.

    As you think about the work you do and the resources you need, don’t forget about the many ways in which libraries can support your efforts. Consider joining NNLM to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to improving health with access to reliable information, and connecting with the Greater Midwest Office for funding, training, and partnership opportunities.

  • 13 Sep 2018 4:47 PM | Anonymous member

    On July 30, all public housing agencies in Iowa implemented a smokefree  policy, which will reduce the high public housing smoking rate and protect more than 6,000 residents from secondhand smoke. To help with the transition, the American Lung Association in Iowa is offering resources to housing authorities and residents.

    The rule may help reduce the smoking rate within public housing. Currently, adults living in public housing smoke at a rate of 33.6 percent, which is more than twice the average adult smoking rate in Iowa of 16 percent.  

    The policy will also protect residents from secondhand smoke, which can travel through an entire building, including ventilation systems, electrical outlets, cracks in foundation walls, pipes, plumbing and doorways. Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard, causing or making worse a wide range of health effects including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and asthma. It is especially dangerous for infants and children, increasing the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems and more severe asthma.

    The Lung Association has more information about smokefree housing available at, and if you are looking for smoke free housing in your area, visit If you or a loved one is ready to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT NOW or visit for free resources.

  • 13 Sep 2018 4:46 PM | Anonymous member

    By: Pat Hildebrand, IPHA Community Water Fluoridation AdvocateWonder Woman, Girl, Super, Superhero, Hero, Power

    At a time when the statement “I just choose not to get involved” is common, we still have super heroes choosing to get involved in causes that directly lead to better health for their friends, neighbors, and the public.  They may be unsung heroes, but they are still people that take the time to show just how much they care. 

    This isn’t always easy.  Take community water fluoridation (CWF) for instance.  Even though the CDC has called it, “One of the 10 greatest Public Health achievements of the 20th century,” campaigns of misinformation still threaten this very successful oral health initiative.

    This is when local Boards of Health, I-Smile Coordinators, local Public Health, area dentists and physicians, and community advocates work together to educate local city government officials and citizens about how valuable CWF is to their oral health and ultimately overall health.  They can always use one more voice.  

  • 13 Sep 2018 4:45 PM | Anonymous member

    The University of Iowa College of Public Health and its Business Leadership Network (BLN) invite potential community partners to submit proposals that enhance the capacity of business enterprises in Iowa’s small- and medium-sized communities to improve the health and well-being of area residents. The BLN’s Community Grant Project, now in its fourth year, reflects the college’s continued interest in collaborating with Iowa communities to help meet increasing needs for public health-related initiatives and projects.

    The College of Public Health’s BLN initiative fosters ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships between the college and small- and medium-sized businesses and communities in Iowa. Through this network, which reaches the entire state of Iowa, the college seeks to engage and collaborate with communities to develop cutting-edge, high impact public health research, enhance educational programs with service learning opportunities within businesses, and promote a culture of health.

    “We are pleased to provide this funding opportunity as part of our ongoing efforts to partner with communities and business leaders across the state to increase the well-being of Iowans,” says Edith Parker, professor and head of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the UI College of Public Health. Some of the funds for the grant program are provided by the UI Provost’s Office of Outreach and Engagement, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust. 

    Any nonprofit organization or local government entity located within the state of Iowa are eligible to apply. For full details, download the RFP from the BLN website:

    Potential applicants should direct questions to Robyn Mills at SPPG is providing the grant management services. 

    At a glance, the following is contained in the RFP: 

    Topic areas: Include but are not limited to healthy lifestyles, population health, data accumulation, workplace safety/wellness, community needs assessment, children and youth issues, healthy aging, arts and health collaborations, and sustainability of multi-generational, livable communities. Previous grants have focused on making healthy eating easier for families living in poverty, bringing awareness to mental health issues through high school student theatrical performances, keeping seniors with mobility concerns healthy, and promoting workplace wellness programs in the private sector.

    Who is eligible: Nonprofit organizations and local government entities within the state of Iowa.

    Funds available: Up to six cash grant awards of up to $3,000 each will be made to recipients. Grants require a minimum 1:1 cash or in-kind match.

    Time frame:

    Issue Date:  September 5, 2018

    Proposal Due Date: October 26, 2018

    Awards Announced: December 4, 2018

    Grant Project Timeframe: January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019

    Deliverables Due: March 31, 2020

  • 13 Sep 2018 4:44 PM | Anonymous member

    To recognize the efforts of Iowa’s public health practitioners, the University of Iowa College of Public Health established the Iowa Public Health Heroes Award.  Each year, the college recognizes individuals who have worked to promote a healthier state through wellness and disease prevention initiatives.   

    Nominations are invited from across all fields of public health and a range of career paths including service in local leadership, advocacy, business, as a newcomer to public health practice, or for career achievement. Nominations of individuals from traditional and non-traditional public health organizations are encouraged.

    Nominations due: M., 10.08.18

    Awards will be presented at a College of Public Health Spotlight Series presentation during the fall semester in Iowa City.

    Learn more.

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