Iowa Department of Public Health
In order to increase the capacity of local environmental health departments IDPH focused on responding to needs identified by the workforce. In response to requests for more flexible funding IDPH offered a mini-grant program allowing local departments to implement programs that would improve upon the delivery of at least one essential service. In response to requests for training IDPH partnered with professional associations to provide regional training opportunities. In response to requests for technical assistance with policy and procedure development IDPH developed a “how-to” CD. Additionally IDPH worked to package many products developed in Iowa to be distributed on a national basis.
Minigrants have funded activities such as
- GIS equipment purchases,
- food-safety training for nonprofit organizations,
- sanitary district establishment,
- public education efforts, and
- policy and procedure development efforts at the county level.
Through partnerships with the Iowa Onsite Wastewater Association (IOWWA) and the Iowa Water Well Association (IWWA), 12 workshops were held in the first year of the project period. Three hundred eighty-five individuals participated in these trainings. In year two IWWA provided 6 classes for 130 individuals and IOWWA was able to purchase equipment necessary for the central training center as well as for regional trainings.
Twenty mini-grants totaling $201,993 have been awarded to local environmental health departments to improve on their service delivery. Mini-grant recipients have achieved results that can be replicated easily within the state or on a national level.
IDPH completed a policy and procedure development manual and a tool-kit for capacity building based on the ten essential services that could be implemented for little cost nationwide.
What Is Next
IDPH will continue to support local environmental health departments by providing training opportunities, technical assistance, and by emphasizing the importance of the delivery of the ten essential services.
IDPH has shown through capacity-building funds that it doesn’t take a lot of money to make a big impact. The need to do more with less is a national issue. IDPH has packaged products that focus on developing partnerships, using the core functions and essential services to shape environmental health practice, and developing a competent environmental health workforce