Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy

The Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy (IIPHRP) based in the College of Public Health fosters inter-disciplinary collaborations by bringing together researchers, public health practitioners, citizens, community leaders, private partners and policy makers to help shape public health policy. By bringing together the best of what we know, the IIPHRP creates better population health in Iowa, and across the nation.

This newsletter highlights a few of the exciting IIPHRP initiatives including information about two upcoming Executives-in-Residence, practicum student activities, the INVEST Health initiative, and an overview of the Policy Fellow program. In addition, you will find information about our work on a public health data needs assessment.

To find more information about the IIPRHP, please go to our recently launched website at the following link http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/iiphrp/


The Iowa City INVEST Health initiative is planning strategies to improve the built environment, especially housing, in low-income neighborhoods that also reduces disparities in asthma, depression, and behavioral health conditions in children and adults among low-income families and under-represented groups. The Iowa City project is currently collecting information from residents and service providers through focus groups, individual interviews and survey’s. This information will help us understand specific strengths and challenges regarding healthy living in each designated focus neighborhood.

Simultaneously, the Iowa City initiative is convening a group of committed stakeholders to collaboratively develop housing projects and service programs that will improve neighborhood health. The long term goal of INVEST Health is to develop a pipeline of potential projects, in partnership with specific neighborhoods by December 2017. This information along with compiled data, will be presented to a variety of potential funders for their consideration.

INVEST Health is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Reinvestment Fund. More information about INVEST Health can be found at http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/invest-health/

Meet the INVEST Health Practicum Students....

We are happy to host two CPH students who are completing their practicum through work with the INVEST Health initiative. Students are developing survey's, working with stakeholder committee's, developing focus group processes and co-facilitating focus groups. These activities will yield rich information from three specific Iowa City neighborhoods and will be used to develop strategies to impact neighborhood health.

Amanda Kahl

Amanda is an Epidemiology student completing her practicum through the INVEST Health initiative. Amanda has been busy developing a survey for residents and is compiling data from many sources that will help showcase the need and build the case to finance programs in three selected neighborhoods. When asked about her practicum experience Amanda says, "as a research assistant I don't have a direct impact on communities, so the best part of this practicum is being able to give back, and hopefully, improve the overall well-being of the community".

Natalie Debernardi

Natalie Debernardi is an Occupational Medicine Resident working toward her MPH in Occupational and Environmental Health. As a practicum student, Natalie is assisting in the development of a resident survey. In addition, she is interviewing key stakeholders in targeted neighborhoods to better understand the services, supports and resources that are available (or not) to neighborhood residents. Natalie is working to organize focus groups and identify local neighborhood advocates who have a desire to improve health and housing in the neighborhoods.

Meet our upcoming Executives-in-Residence

The College of Public Health’s Executive-in-Residence Program, integrates senior business leaders into the life of the college and provides unique opportunities for experts to interact closely with students and faculty. While the college hosts many external practitioners as visiting lecturers and conference participants, Executives-in-Residence foster long-term relationships with the college and help to shape and execute new strategic initiatives. The program is a mechanism for business and community leaders to participate in the college’s three-part mission: education, research and community engagement.

Jennifer Musick

Dr. Jennifer Musick, is the original founder of Health Solutions and serves as President and Chief Health and Wellness Officer for the company. Health Solutions provides tools and resources for employers and individualized health coaching for employee's. Dr Musick will be at the College of Public Health on March 6, 2017.

Jennifer’s background as a clinical pharmacist and wellness visionary has been key to the development of Health Solutions’ unique strategic approach to developing strong client and participant relationships resulting in meaningful health and financial outcomes for their customers. Jennifer received her Pharm D from the University of Iowa in 2001 and completed a Community Practice Residency at the University of Iowa in 2002.

Students and faculty will have the opportunity to meet with Jennifer during her Executive-in-Residence activities on March 6, 2017. Please email Vickie Miene (vickie-miene@uiowa.edu) to reserve time to meet with Jennifer.

John Casko

John Casko is the Vice President of Business Development for IDx. As an imaging software company, IDx develops medical diagnostic tools to diagnose diseases of the eye such as diabetic retinopathy. John will share his expertise with us on April 26, 2017.

Mr. Casko brings over 20 years of experience in technical enterprise sales to IDx. Since 2001, he has specialized in early stage and seed level technology sales and business development, leading a variety of emerging technology companies – focused on everything from semantic search to electronic patient diaries, to circuit board assembly optimization. John holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business.

Join us at the College of Public Health on April 26, 2017 to meet John. Email Vickie Miene (vickie-miene@uiowa.edu) to reserve your time.

2016-2017 Policy Fellows

The IIPHRP's Policy Fellow Program creates opportunities for primary faculty to enhance skills for translating public health research into practice and policy. Faculty who desire additional opportunities to inform practice/policy change, who want to incorporate policy impact into their research portfolio, who aspire to lead activities such as convening a panel of experts or developing impact materials and who want the opportunity to interact with stakeholders should consider applying to the program. The 2016-2017 Policy Fellows are working on a variety of topics including modernizing cancer reporting, changing guidelines for newborn screening in the NICU, and increasing bicycling safety. For more specific information about the fellows and their projects, please see the links below.

Public Health Data Needs Assessment

The IIPHRP has been contracted by the Iowa Department of of Public Health to conduct a data needs assessment which will determine how the IDPH can better meet the needs of stakeholders. The purpose of the needs assessment is to understand the data needs of a broad range of stakeholders both internal and external to the IDPH.

Stakeholders include local public health practitioners, researchers, educators, elected officials, health departments and IDPH staff. This assessment will investigate the utility of tools available to the Department to share data, along with the data needs of users including datasets, indicators, types of analysis, and preferred data displays needed by stakeholders to best complete their work. Surveys have been developed and focus groups are occurring now in various communities through the state.

The results of the assessment will help the IDPH identify strategic areas to improve and expand data access both internally and externally to the Department, including, but not limited to, the Iowa Public Health Tracking Portal. Graduate research assistants Nichole Nidey and Joy Woods, pictured below, are providing valuable assistance and insight to this project.

IIPHRP Leadership

Sue Curry, PhD

Dean, College of Public Health

Distinguished Professor of Health Management and Policy

Director, Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy

University of Iowa

Vickie Miene, MS, MA, LMHC

Deputy Director, Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Health Management and Policy

University of Iowa