Iowa Department of Public Health
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: TOM NEWTON
The Environmental Health Capacity cooperative agreement has impacted environmental health practice in Iowa more than any other project has in the last 15 years. In Iowa Code, the local boards of health are responsible for providing the core functions and essential services of public health. This requirement, in conjunction with capacity-building activities supported by this project, provided an excellent opportunity to advance environmental public health practice. Major advancements were made through minigrants, training programs, identification and development of resources, and establishment of model programs. These advancements were facilitated by a grant workgroup made up of local and state environmental health practitioners committed to providing stronger environmental health programs in Iowa.
Goals and Objectives
The Iowa Department of Health (IDPH) established goals including the following:
- creating model environmental health programs using the competencies defined in the Environmental Health Competency project,
- educating the workforce about this framework as a way to structure and advance local environmental health programs,
- providing minigrants to local programs to strengthen self-identified weaknesses within this framework, and
- identifying available training programs that support immediate needs and making those programs available.
These efforts have resulted in an increased awareness of environmental health in both the local and state public health systems.
Products and Outcomes
Through capacity-building funding, IDPH provided
- twenty-seven minigrants ($258,162 total) covering 31 counties that supported efforts to increase the capacity of local programs to carry out the core functions and essential services of public health or improve staff competencies as defined by the Environmental Health Competency Project and
- fifteen training and education programs to 283 practitioners who demonstrated an improved understanding of the core functions and essential services after attending the program.
- With the help of the grant workgroup, IDPH created model programs, a resource manual, and other resources to help practitioners establish, maintain, and advance programs and personal competencies.
Impact to the Community
This program resulted in a workforce that is better informed, better prepared, and better educated. Sustainable projects have been created and implemented at both the state and local levels that will have a long-lasting impact on improving the capacity of local environmental health programs to deliver efficient and effective services.
Feedback from Customers
“The Northwest Iowa Sanitarians learned that we could provide quality educational opportunities in our region for a very low cost.”—Clay County
“This project made it more obvious than ever how important it is to have good data.”—Black Hawk County
“Overall the process that occurred is changing the face of our environmental health department for future generations.”—Warren CountyView Presentation [PDF - 589 KB]