The GMR office is excited to announce that Allen College in Waterloo, IA has been granted a Health Information Outreach Award for its project, Iowa Public Health Research Center (IPHRC) at Allen College.
Due to the prevalence of underserved health communities, medically underserved areas, and remote rural conditions, Northeast Iowa has an especially intense need for programming that provides area health departments with research assistance and access. When we examine Northeastern Iowa as a whole, 40% or 10 of 25 corresponding counties are ranked 60+ out of 99 counties in terms of underserved health communities; 76% contain portions and/or populations that are considered medically underserved; and a substantial 72% of counties are rural. A shortage of health care providers within these areas and lack of access to services, whether because of distance or socioeconomic status, only intensifies these issues. In addition, 90% of health departments and health-focused nonprofits in these regions are not affiliated with a health organization. Subsequently, these entities overwhelmingly lack direct access to the literature, tools, and training needed to implement truly effective evidenced-based health initiatives.
Allen College’s Barrett Library will provide 25 counties in Northeast Iowa with no-cost equal access to library materials. Allen College’s IPHRC project librarian will be available throughout the funding period to respond to item requests; locate, assess, and share resources; answer questions; produce literature reviews; and collaborate with healthcare providers to find the best solutions for their needs. In order to ensure that everyone involved knows how to best navigate federal health information resources, programming will include training sessions for interested participants and train-the-trainer initiatives for library staff.
The overall goal of this project is to enhance area institutions’ ability to educate residents about health issues and provide innovative solutions to community health problems. Data will be collected and tracked noting the number of research requests fulfilled and a robust marketing campaign will support ongoing contact with participants.