Early Weeks in Jones County

by Andrea Lenartz

This summer, I am working at Jones County Public Health, located in Anamosa, Iowa. Jones County is located in eastern Iowa with a total population of a little over 20,000. The public health department is currently staffed by two employees and is responsible for various programs and partnerships, which work to improve the health of the community. Jones County Public Health is also involved in health education and disease outbreak investigation.

The primary project I will be working on this summer is the Community Health Needs Assessment and Health Improvement Plan (CHNA-HIP), which is due in January 2021. I will be assisting in identifying focus areas for the community and collecting primary data from various groups (i.e. general public, school teachers, law enforcement, community organizations, etc.).

I am about three weeks into my internship with Jones County Public Health, and thus far, I have completed various activities in preparation for data collection. I created questions about several health topics (i.e. mental health, maternal health, drinking water, immunizations, etc.) and am in the process of editing these questions to create comprehensive surveys customized for the various community groups. I also began compiling county, state, and national data on numerous health issues to see how Jones County currently compares to other areas. In addition, I’m in the beginning stages of organizing focus groups to supplement the surveys and gather the public’s thoughts on more open-ended questions.

Another project I am working on outside of the CHNA-HIP is creating a catalog of services offered in Jones County, as there is currently no single publicly available document from which the community can access this kind of information.

At the completion of this internship, I hope to have thoroughly completed primary data collection and entry for the needs assessment, and also have facilitated outreach and engagement across the county.

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