Siouxland District Health Department is constantly reaching out to support residents and educating them about making their homes and environment a safe and healthier place to exist. You might be aware of services we provide in immunizations, water testing, food establishment inspections and WIC, but not the work we do for safe homes and environment. Many of you that are receiving this update, may not be aware of the work that was done in response to a boil order that affected a large segment of the metropolitan area. The voluntary testing of homes for the presence of radon has dramatically increased with the promotion that has been done with community partners. Identifying and creating safe routes in communities for children to walk to school, first off keeps our youngest residents safe, but also encourages them to be more physically active. SDHD Staff members also support local efforts to encourage young females to consider careers in the science area. Public Health is a science based practice and future workers in this area are vital to the work that we do. And of course we are always working to prevent unhealthy behaviors. Take a look at the work we did in cooperation with a group of local youth to audit the placement of tobacco products within retail establishments. Research has shown that this has an impact on young people's attitudes and use of these types of products. I want to encourage each and everyone of you to explore and identify how public health may touch your lives on a day to day basis. In one conversation with a local media person, they summed it up by stating "You're like one of the best kept secrets around." Help us spread the news by sharing this information with family and friends, or connect with us on social media. We look to keep you updated in anyway that we can. Have a great Spring! Kevin Grieme, Director
Tobacco Retail Assessments
Siouxland District Health Department is the current grant holder for the Iowa Department of Public Health Tobacco Prevention Grant. Over the last year we have partnered with students from the Sioux City Mayor’s Youth Commission to complete 57 Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings (STARS) within Woodbury County. A few highlighted findings from the assessments include: 100% of the retailers surveyed sold cigarettes (requirement to be assessed), 81% sold chew/snuff, 61% sold e-cigarettes and 6% sold hookah tobacco. Only 24% displayed graphic health warnings inside, while 59% had exterior advertisements for cigarettes. 14% of retailers had e-cigarettes placed within 12 inches of toys, candy, gum slushy/soda machines or ice cream, while 11% of retailers had cigarettes placed 12 inches or more from those items.
All the assessment data has been entered into the Iowa Mapper/Counter tools web page which allows local tobacco coalitions to further analyze results and to discuss possible evidence-based tobacco control policies that could be implemented. The tool also allows you to map tobacco retailers and their distance from schools and parks and to monitor compliance checks. Currently the Tobacco Free Siouxland Coalition is analyzing all the available data to see which evidence-based tobacco control policies could be implemented to prevent or decrease tobacco use in Woodbury County. (PHAB Standard: Assess, Community Engagement, Policies & Law, Evidence-Based Practices)
Safe Routes to Schools - PechaKucha
Angela Drent, Siouxland District Health Department (SDHD) Health Planner, had the privilege of speaking at the Iowa Safe Routes to Schools Conference in Des Moines this past January. She was able to show via a PechaKucha, all the work that has been accomplished within Woodbury County, regarding Safe Routes to Schools. PechaKucha is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each - mainly photos with limited text. This format keeps presentations concise and fast-paced. Angela shared information on the work that has occurred regarding coalition development, walking school buses, bike rodeos, bike safety education speakers, incentive bike and helmet safety programs and infrastructure improvements that have all encouraged more Woodbury County children to walk and bike to school. (PHAB Standard: Inform & Educate)
Radon Awareness Month
Every January Siouxland District Health Department (SDHD) partners with Mercy Medical Center, Unity Point St. Luke’s and the June E. Nylen Cancer Center to promote National Radon Action Month. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United Stated behind cigarette smoking. You can’t, see, smell or taste radon, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home. Radon is a breakdown product of uranium found in soil, rocks and water. Radon gas seeps into a house from the soil around and under the home; through cracks in the foundation, floors, or walls.
Short term radon test kits are available at SDHD for $7, but thanks to a generous donation from Mercy Medical Center the first 200 radon test kits sold during the month of January were available for $1. During January 2017, SDHD sold 644 radon test kits. This is up from 524 that were sold during January of 2016 and 181 kits sold during January 2015. Thanks to the partnerships listed above, members of the community are becoming more aware of radon and taking the steps to test their homes. Radon test kits are simple to use and inexpensive. If your home has not been tested for radon, stop by SDHD (1014 Nebraska Street) to purchase a kit. (PHAB Standard: Inform & Educate, Community Engagement)
Live Healthy Iowa - SDHD 10 Week Challenge
Siouxland District Health Department, along with 15 other businesses in the Siouxland area are participating in the 2017 Live Healthy Iowa - 10 Week Challenge, running from January 23 - March 31st.
SDHD has 51 people (47 employees, 2 spouses, and 2 friends) participating on seven different teams. Team are weight only, activity only and weight and activity. Pictured above is one of SDHD's activity only teams.
Five weeks into the program SDHD teams had lost 125.7 pounds and had accumulated 54,867 minutes of activity.
Annually there is a also a Healthy Siouxland Business Challenge for the 10 week program, that SDHD staff oversee. This year 16 businesses are competing to lose the most total percentage of weight loss, and to accumulate the most minutes of activity. Who will win the traveling plaque this year? New businesses are encouraged to participate each year. Please contact us if your business would like to participate in the future. (PHAB Standard: Workforce)
Home Gardener Workshop
Funding through a NACCHO - MRC grant allowed Siouxland District Health Department to partner with Woodbury County Iowa State Extension to host a one-day home gardener training. Nearly 50 individuals from the area attended the training on March 6th at the Extension Office. Keynote speakers were Jan Riggenbach, a syndicated garden columnist and food writer for the Iowa Gardener Magazine, and Courtney Long from ISU Extension. A local panel of experts shared information on Up From the Earth, vegetable gardening, container gardening and other gardening techniques. Dinner, with local ingredients, was provided through Aggies, thanks to a sponsorship with Mercy Medical Center. To close out the day attendees participated in a growing together webcast entitled Growing and Harvesting Vegetables.(PHAB Standard: Inform & Educate, Community Engagement)
SDHD Responds During Sioux City Boil Warning
On March 6, the City of Sioux City notified residents that a boil warning had been put into effect for people located in the City's Grandview Pressure System lasting until 10 AM the next morning. The Grandview Pressure System is by far the largest of all the Sioux City water zones and supplies water to thousands of residents and hundreds of businesses. Upon being notified of the boil warning, SDHD staff quickly coordinated with City of Sioux City officials to ensure that information distributed to the public was consistent and accurate. Information about the warning and a map of the affected areas was rapidly added to the SDHD website, Facebook page, and Twitter accounts. Additionally, SDHD was concerned about licensed food establishments and notifying them so that they could evaluate whether or not they'd be able to provide safe water in their facilities. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals was able to blast out a notification to all the establishments in Sioux City. The message referenced our website and we posted a document that clearly detailed the steps that were to be taken in order for an establishment to remain open during this warning. Areas marked in yellow were impacted by the boil warning. (PHAB Standard: Investigate, Inform & Educate)
Health Department Staff Participate in Annual WINGS Conference
Representatives from Siouxland District Health Department (SDHD) participated in the 28th annual WINGS Conference held in Sioux City during March. WINGS is an annual career conference for eighth grade young women in Siouxland that encourages them to take classes and pursue careers in the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. WINGS is not actually an acronym, but instead serves to encourage participants to give their dreams WINGS.
The goals of the conference include encouraging young women to study STEM classes in high school to prepare them for college and to enter careers requiring skills in these areas, and to provide women as role models whose careers require STEM backgrounds. Students at the conference attend breakout sessions with resource women who share about their careers, participate in related activities, and hear a keynote speaker. The resource women include Siouxland women from various STEM fields such as architecture, medicine, finance, forensic science, veterinary medicine, chemistry, environmental health, and engineering.
The WINGS Conference planning committee is a partnership that includes representatives from the four Sioux City colleges, Siouxland District Health Department, and CF Industries. SDHD staff from the Environmental Health and Health Planning Divisions served as conference planning committee members, career resource women, and conference facilitators. This year the conference was held on the campus of Briar Cliff University. Jenna Rehnstrom from KCAU 9 News in Sioux City was the conference emcee and the keynote address was given by Dr. Heidi Nelson, Director of Clinical Education for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Briar Cliff. (PHAB Standard: Community Engagement, Workforce)
Hot Topics - Public Health in the News
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received questions this winter about the use of essential oils topically or being diffused in child care settings. Their answer is no, they should not be used. They also stress natural remedies or homemade products (think diaper ointments/creams) should not be used in the child care setting either, as they have not been tested by the US Food and Drug Administration. IDPH also states that if a child's primary health care provider (MD, DO, PA, NP) prescribes an essential oil treatment, the provider would still need to consider the liability of administering a non-regulated product and should explain to the parent the reason they can't administer it. If the provider decided to accept the prescribed order from the doctor the same medication administration requirements must be followed as for all prescribed or over-the-counter medications. To read the entire blog posted by Heidi Hotvedt, RN BSN, Healthy Child Care Iowa, IDPH click here. (PHAB Standard: Inform & Educate, Public Health Law)