JCPH highlights multitude of programs offered in department update

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Jones County Public Health (JCPH) Director Jess Wiedenhoff and Public Health Assistant Mallory Holub met with the board of supervisors during their Sept. 27 meeting to provide their department update.

   Wiedenhoff noted that Public Health is working on a list of the top five priorities for the department to focus on in the near future. She is asking for both the board of supervisors and the Board of Health to be a part of that process.

   Looking at the departmental budget, 65 percent of Wiedenhoff’s budget stems from local, state, and federal grants.

   JCPH oversees many programs to benefit the residents of Jones County.

   The Car Seat Program is funded through a Theisen’s grant. Parents can receive a free car seat if they meet certain criteria. One car seat is given out per family.

   One of the criteria is that the parents enroll in the Jones County Points Program.

   The Jones County Points Program, Holub explained, is for families with kids under the age of 18. Parents and caregivers are rewarded with points for participating in a variety of community activities. Those points can be used to “purchase” items from the program such as diapers, developmental toys and games, highchairs, etc.

   Holub said 96 families are registered with the program.

   The program is funded through the McDonough Foundation and CPPC (Community Partnerships for Protecting Children).

   The Safe Sleep Program is also funded by Theisen’s. JCPH works with CPPC and the Family Council to provide safe sleep materials and equipment to families who cannot afford to purchase such items as a crib or pack and play.

   “It’s to provide a safe sleep environment for low-income families,” said Holub.

   There are several requirements families must meet to qualify.

   The Community Health Assessment is something JCPH conducts every five years. It’s an assessment of where the county is at in terms of overall health and well-being.

   “It’s due next year,” noted Wiedenhoff. “It’s an ongoing process we continue to work on.”

   University of Iowa student interns are assisting with the assessment by reviewing data.

   Wiedenhoff said come this spring, they will be engaging with the public.

   There are still COVID-19 carry-over funds left. Those are federal funds that were dispersed in 2020 to state public health entities.

   “They’ve been added to over time,” said Wiedenhoff of the ongoing pandemic.

   About $8,950 remains to be spent. Wiedenhoff said the money could be applied toward the COVID after-action review report.

   “It’s to help develop a plan for future pandemic processes, infectious control, and data reporting,” she explained.

   The carry-over has to be spent by November.

   Wiedenhoff noted that there is no deadline for the after-action plan.

   “We’re still in pandemic response mode,” she said.

   Public Health is required to have 24/7/365 access and coverage for disease investigation and prevention.

   They are working with the schools and childcare centers, including before- and after-school programs, to complete immunization audits for FY 2023.

   “Those are due at the end of October,” said Wiedenhoff.

   This program also helps to coordinate Hepatitis B vaccines for county employees.

   Wiedenhoff also works with the county’s wellness committee to coordinate events such as a flu shot clinic.

   Wiedenhoff said IDPH wants public health departments to put more focus on health education and promotion. This entails social media posts and community outreach.

   JCPH is working with local Fareway stores on video ads at the check-outs.

   Much like the community assessment, the Health Improvement Plan is due every five years as well. The next update is due in the fall of 2023.

   This plan aligns with the community assessment and focuses on 26 different issues.

   “We created a work group in 2019 with local partners that continue to meet regularly,” said Wiedenhoff. JCPH has MOUs with 14 organizations and community partners.

   She said the goal is to have a plan for the county for the next 20-50 years, as well for the near future in the next five years.

   In 2020, JCPH kicked off the 5210 Healthy Choices Count program. The target audience are those in the workforce.

   JCPH formed a partnership with ECICOG, and were awarded a three-year grant, with the first installment being $30,000.

   “Our main focus will be projects in Olin and Anamosa,” shared Wiedenhoff.

   The 5210 grant works with schools and communities.

   JCPH has also been focusing on COVID vaccine equity and response.

   “It’s about making sure that people in minority groups receive the same opportunities to get the vaccine,” explained Wiedenhoff.

   Again, working with Fareway stores, they ran a three-month campaign of videos at the check-outs in both English and Spanish.

   “We’re reviewing our options and solutions to reach the underserved members of the community,” added Wiedenhoff.


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