Recent Collaborative Projects (2011 – 2012)


Local Governmental Public Health System Baseline Survey

Tanya Uden-Holman, UMPHTC PI, is a member of the Public Health Evaluation Committee, which was formed by statute in 2009 to evaluate the governmental public health system within the state.  Many states have initiatives in place to evaluate programs and services; however, few have assessed system-wide performance.  In order to get a better picture of the governmental public health system in Iowa, the Public Health Evaluation Committee developed a baseline survey to be distributed to local public and environmental health administrators.  Under the direction of Dr. Uden-Holman, a College of Public Health (CPH) PhD student worked on data analysis and presentation of the results.  The results were presented at the Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health in April 2012, and will also be included in the “Local Governmental Public Health System Baseline Report” to be released later this year.  The baseline survey is also an important source of information for gauging local public health department “readiness” for accreditation and pointing out areas where additional assistance is needed.


Accreditation Support Initiative for Public Health Departments and Organizations

Under the guidance of Dr. Uden-Holman, a CPH MPH student worked on a collaborative project with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) as part of grant they received from NACCHO.  The grant was to assist IDPH in developing its capacity to provide technical assistance about performance management to Iowa’s local public health departments.  The pilot project was conducted with three local health departments: one urban, one micropolitan, and one metropolitan.  Initial site visits were conducted with the counties to identify how they currently apply the components of performance management and identify gaps in the counties ability to meet the national standards; a second site visit was used to identify gaps and gather information for case studies.  Case studies were developed that included information about use of data for making program management decisions, quality improvement, and gaps in the ability to meet the national standards.  The case studies will be used to develop curriculum for local public health departments regarding performance management.


Competency Assessment for Workforce Development

Dr. Uden-Holman, Laurie Walkner (Director of Training and Education), and a CPH MHA student have been working on a collaborative project with IDPH to develop a workforce competency assessment for the state public health workforce.  The target audience is all IDPH employees (assessing basic skills across Tier 1, 2, and 3).  The goal is to use the assessment results to identify gaps in training, incorporate the results into individual performance plans, and influence the development of a statewide workforce plan.  Themes included in the assessment are PH101, communication, cultural competency, ethics and professionalism, security and confidentiality, and quality improvement.  Additionally, we have been reviewing training options that are currently available that would match each domain/theme area. This project will continue into the next project year as the assessment is incorporated into the LMS and piloted. The pilot will help determine if this tool is appropriate for use by local public health departments.  The assessment is also one of the elements that must be in place for state health department accreditation.


Shelter House

Dr. Mary Aquilino, UMPHTC co-investigator, and CPH students worked on two collaborative projects with Shelter House, a local residential facility for homeless individuals and families.  One project was a targeted needs assessment to determine the strengths and challenges of the facility and its services.  Under the guidance of Dr. Aquilino, students conducted focus groups and individual interviews with shelter residents, short-term users, non-users, and staff.  After data collection and analysis, the students submitted a report of their findings to the administrative staff of the shelter.  The second project involved working with homeless men with persistent mental health disorders.  The charge was to create sustainable stress reduction activities for this group.  The students and the residents identified four potential activities including animal assisted therapy, art therapy, cooking therapy and nature therapy. While the students were only able to begin exploration of each of these activities in the time allotted, some of the residents responded positively to the interventions.