Recognize public health contributions – Newton Daily News

This year’s public health theme is “Public Health is where you are”. Together we can make our communities healthier, stronger and safer. Now is the time to recognize the contributions of public health and to highlight the work of public health in its mission. The mission of the Jasper County Health Department is “to protect and enhance the health of Jasper County”. The governing body is the Jasper County Board of Health. The board of health is made up of five volunteer members, including a medical director. Current members of the Jasper County Board of Health are Margot Voshell, Chair; Dr. Andrew Cope, Medical Director; Mike Balmer, Donna Akins and Julie Smith. Jasper County Health Department works with community and clinical partners to prevent service gaps and provides coordinating referrals. JCHD is actively involved in many community coalitions that serve its mission.

The public health team has three full-time employees. Becky Pryor is the health care board trustee. She is a registered nurse with degrees in nursing and organizational leadership. She has worked in public health for 26 years. Pryor oversees the day-to-day operations of the Jasper County Health Department, including responsibility for public health emergency preparedness, community health needs assessments, grant management, as well as nursing duties, to n’ to name a few. Kristina Winfield is a Registered Nurse with a bachelor’s degree and 15 years of nursing experience. Both nurses are extensively trained to provide public health nursing consultation. Winfield focuses on immunizations, the tuberculosis drug program, and surveillance of communicable disease cases. Nurses are on call 24/7 for public health emergencies and have been cross-trained to perform many nursing jobs. Melissa Gary is the health department assistant. Gary has worked in Jasper County since 2003 and was previously a home health aide. She oversees the office, the Home Care Reimbursement Program and the Jasper County Safe Kids Program. She is also a certified car seat technician. The health department provides blood pressure and weight checks as needed. The past two years have been consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic and they have coordinated with all medical facilities to oversee the distribution of COVID cases, vaccines, PPE and test kits.

Jasper County Health Department believes there is no wrong door for community collaboration and referrals. They provide advice on resources, as well as community health education. They participate in a wide variety of community health fairs, education and promotion: Child Abuse Prevention, Bloodborne Pathogens, Stop the Bleed, Parent Cafes, Strengthening Families, Family Literacy, Free Condoms, Health dentistry and injury prevention. They have the Vaccine for Children program which serves children who meet the requirements.

The board of health contracts environmental health services to Jasper County to provide all wells, septic systems, tanning facilities, swimming pools, spas, and tattoo inspections. Many other outside agencies that provide services in Jasper County are required to report to the Board of Health, including MICA (WIC), EFR (Prevention of Substance Abuse and Gambling), I-smile, Programs maternal, child and adolescent health, etc. Public health is constantly changing and evolving with the needs of the community.

Public health goals for this year include moving into the new Jasper County Administration Building, completing the Community Health Assessment and Health Improvement Plan, completing the Distribution Plan of the COVID-19 vaccine, attending upcoming health fairs, planning and organizing public health emergency preparedness conducting drills with all health care organizations and law enforcement, verifying all school and daycare immunization records, utilizing COVID funds, including a large grant for COVID technology, including audio-visual equipment for the new conference room and internet and computer upgrades, collaborating with WIC clinics, building relationships with all health agencies, schools and social services, and expanding the co Jasper mt.

“We are happy to be on the cusp of COVID-19 and want to improve the health and well-being of Jasper County,” Pryor said. “Public Health is where you are” and the small but experienced public health team and Board of Health have a vision to improve the health of everyone in Jasper County.

For more information or to inquire about the Jasper County Health Department, please visit the website at jasperia.org or contact them at 641-787-9224 or [email protected]

About Elaine Morales

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