120123_BHCPH 2024 Advocacy Priorities


Black Hawk County Public Health (BHCPH) joins with others in the community to build a strong foundation for healthy people and healthy communities. The Board of Health priorities are driven by our vision and mission as well as the community health improvement priorities of mental health & trauma and food insecurity.

Strengthen the Public Health Workforce through Sustainable Flexible Funding

Top photo: BHPCH staff
Left: I-Smile oral health screening.
Right: BHCPH employee takes a BP reading in the clinic setting.

Our duty in public health is to keep all Black Hawk County (BHC) community members healthy and thriving. This means we protect people from health hazards, promote healthy behaviors, and prevent disease. We can’t do this without a diverse highly qualified workforce trained to carry out the foundational capabilities of public health who are supported by modernized data systems.

In 2022, the Iowa Department of Health & Human Services received $33,000,000 to advance Iowa’s public health infrastructure. Local public health should have a seat at the table in discussions about how to ensure sustainable flexible funding for what matters most: the well-being of Iowans who live in our 99 counties.

Tooth Decay Impacts Learning

Square graphic with top navy banner. Text in banner: Children in BHC with Medicaid but did not receive oral or dental healthcare services in FY 23. Two circle graphs. 1st graph: 82% of children age 0-2. 2nd graphic: 50% of children aged 3-5.

33% of children screened by BHCPH had tooth decay in FY23. Left untreated, the pain and infection this causes can lead to problems in eating, speaking, and learning. When treated, learning and school attendance records improve.

Preventive services are covered for most kids through the I-Smile program. However, many children are not receiving needed treatment partially due to the limited number of dental providers who accept Medicaid.

Healthy People & Healthy Communities Require Investments in Mental Health

A box with three images with text. Image one: tents- text: 21% of people experiencing homessness in the U.s. have a serious mental health condition compared to 5.5% of all adults. Image 2 stock photo of gavel, balance of justice and a wood figure of parent and child. Text: 70% of youth in juvenile justice system have a diagnosabile mental health condition. Image 3: hands holding graphic of a head with a heart of puzzle pieces in the brain area. Text: In 2020, BHC adults reported that their mental health was "not good" 4.5 out of 30 days. 1/5 or about 20k live with a mental illness.

Good health is much more than just the absence of illness; it’s the overall state of well-being. This requires strengthening the foundational supports of our communities that lead to reduced crime as well as food, economic, and housing stability.

It is important to support the health of our community through continued improvements in the funding of mental health systems.

Housing Instability Impacts Well-Being

Graphic with two images related to housing. First Image is a red For Rent sign. 2nd image is a white house with red trim in a yard with fall leaves. Text: 58% of households in the 50703 Zip code pay more than 30% of their income for rent & have the lowest median income. (2015-2019). 35% of BHC housing units were not occupied by the owner of the property. (2017-2021). 13% of households in BHC spent 50 of more of their income on housing. (2017-2021).

Stable and affordable housing is an evidence-based way to support an individual’s well-being. Lack of stable housing worsens self-reported mental health for renters and homeowners and could result in unsafe housing conditions, trauma, eviction, and hoarding.

Funding programs that improve our lived environments will help address the root causes of poor mental health.

Follow this link to watch videos that illustrate our Vision & Mission.
Download the BHCPH 2024 Advocacy Priorities by following this link.