Iowa Public Health presents to supervisors

Berdette Ogden, regional community health consultant for the Iowa Department of Public Health, gave the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors a prevention about the various responsibilities of the board of health Monday after the regular board meeting.

Ogden said that the board of health handles ?all public health matters.?

Supervisor Dick Reed said that Jefferson County had 18,000 residents.

Ogden said that the Iowa Department of Public Health monitored public health for all of those residents.

She told the board that everyone in the room had been touched by public health, whether it was through the use of antibiotics, immunizations, drinking pasteurized milk or even the act of washing their hands.

?Hand washing has made a huge difference over the last 100 years,? Ogen said. ?If you brushed your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and [fluoridated] water, rode a bus, used a seat belt ? that?s public health. When public health is working well, you don?t even see it.?

Ogden said that Iowa is a decentralized state, and that the Iowa Department of Public Health does not directly employ any local department agencies in public health.

?I serve as the liaison between the Iowa department of public health and the local boards of health. As liaisons, we provide technical assistance to those boards,? she said. ?For local public services grants, those are state funded allocations that we distribute to local boards of health to administer public health services. Those, we do monitor the utilization, and we have contracts with all 99 counties in the state.?

She explained that the county supervisors? role is to appoint members of the local boards of health, who are knowledgeable in health care, and to also appoint licensed physicians to oversee those boards.

?It?s important to have a licensed physician ... if you have an outbreak, like H1N1 with a limited amount of vaccine, a physician would prioritize who would be receiving that,? Ogden said.

Also in attendance at the meeting was the county?s local BOH medical director Michael J. Greiner,  county public health administrator Chris Estle; Iowa Rep. Phil Miller and county sanitarian Dan Miller.

?[Supervisor] Dee Sandquist invited Rep. Miller to observe the meeting and see what the county goes through in regard to fulfilling state laws and regulations that are handed down,? Dimmitt said during an interview today. ?We also wanted him to see the difficulties that public health is facing due to funding issues.?

Ogden said that county supervisors also approve the BOH?s annual budget. However, how it is spent outside of the supervisors? control.

?Every elected official, we set their budget, but how they appropriate that funding is outside of our control,? Dimmitt explained. ?Although Estle isn?t elected, Iowa law provides that mechanism for public health.?

Ogden said that there were 10 essential services that public health provided, which are: to monitor health status to identify community health problems; diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community; to inform, educate, and empower people about health issues; mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems; develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts; enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety;

link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable; assure a competent public health and personal health care workforce; evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services and to research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.

?It was a nice presentation,? Reed said. ?You covered the bases.?