Iowa public health leaders honored with national awards

October 24, 2020 – Des Moines

The American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Council of Affiliates (CoA) honored two Iowans as national public health leaders at their 2020 Awards Reception on Saturday, October 24, 2020. The CoA represents the body of 53 state and territorial affiliates of APHA.

Dr. Amy Hockett of Linn County Public Health is the 2020 recipient of the Innovation in Public Health Award.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and immediately following the August Derecho, Dr. Hockett utilized her epidemiology, Geographic Information System (GIS), and Tableau expertise to quickly develop tools which were critical for decision-making by Linn County Public Health staff, local jurisdictions, community partners and the public. Specific to the Derecho, Dr. Hockett quickly convened with cross-sector partners to develop a needs assessment survey which was distributed to Linn County residents through a variety of methods, which allowed health and social service organizations to quickly identify and respond to resident’s needs. Again, Amy utilized technology systems to effectively design data collection and linkages to community partners to ensure residents basic needs such as housing, food, and medication were met. In her nomination letter, Kaitlin Emrich states, “Without the development of these innovative technologies and techniques, the response by Linn County Public Health would not have been as robust as it was.”

Lina Tucker Reinders, Executive Director of Iowa Public Health Association, was named the APHA Affiliate Staff of the Year.

Tucker Reinders has been a consistent voice promoting public health evidence and equity in decision-making related to the COVID-19 pandemic, responding regularly to statewide and national journalists. The mission of IPHA is to unite and strengthen the voice for public health in Iowa. IPHA Board member Rachel Schramm writes, “She is a visionary for our region’s Public Health 3.0 strategy – preparing our workforce for what is next including the development of a state health equity taskforce, encouraging the board to adopt a statement on racial injustice and actions to follow suit, as well as creating partnerships with the community that extend far beyond the reach of ‘traditional’ public health.”

Additional nominees from Iowa include Shelley Horak, for her research in hope as a determinant of health; Deborah Thompson, for her leadership in public health advocacy; the Iowa Immunization Coalition, for their efforts to protect the health of Iowans through vaccination.

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