Lee County Health Department receives multi-million dollar grant to further public health education

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 5:55 PM CDT
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FORT MADISON (WGEM) - With growing demand from the public to bridge the gap between healthcare and community resources, the Lee County Health Department has received a sizeable federal grant to create a new training program for health professionals.

The Lee County Health Department announced today that its receiving more than a half a million dollar grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The grant money will be used to create new training programs for future and current health professionals.

The Lee County Health Department has announced a partnership with Blessing Health Keokuk, Southeastern Iowa Regional Medical Center and Southeastern Community College (SCC).

“Southeastern Community College is very excited to partner with Lee County Health Department and area hospitals in the HRSA project for Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program,” said SCC Dean of Health Professionals Kristi Schroeder.

For a three year project period, the Lee County Health Department will have $547,302 of federal grant funds.

Community Health Program Director Emily Biddenstadt said the grant money will be used to help boost the academic training for health professionals that are currently working and those coming into the field.

“We’re going to be creating a certificate like program that focuses on community health work, community resources that incoming healthcare students and existing health care workers will be able to participate in,” Biddenstadt said.

The goal is to allow health professionals to learn from community resources for better patient treatment and referral.

“When they start their career in the healthcare world they’re going to be able to remember that the resources that are available to refer patients and help get them where they need to be,” said Biddenstadt.

Administrator Michele Ross said this is important for current professionals and the next generation of healthcare workers.

“I think they have a strong nursing program and so the students that come through there as well as other students that are interested in learning more about what public health is and community health work and the importance of community resources for people to be able to tap into when they need access to those,” said Ross.

Health Department officials said they will begin working on the curriculum and course plan within the next week.

They hope to have the first class of students learning the program by January.

There are still decisions needed to be made on whether the new course offering will be in person or online.

Those interested in receiving additional information should reach out to the Community Outreach and Development Project Coordinator Breanna Kramer-Riesberg at the Lee County Health Department.

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