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Cerro Gordo health department receives grant to empower future leaders in public health

MASON CITY – CG Public Health has received a $29,111 grant from Telligen Community Initiative (TCI), a private, Iowa-based charitable foundation. These funds will support the ‘Empowering Future Leaders in Public Health’ project which aims to increase public health internship opportunities, strengthen partnerships with colleges and universities to contribute to the public health field and educate area youth on public health careers.

“We are establishing ourselves as an Academic Health Department (AHD) to partner with colleges and universities to develop bi-directional learning opportunities. Thanks to the generous grant from Telligen, CG Public Health will be able to provide enhanced exposure to the work of public health departments.” said CG Public Health’s Director, Brian Hanft.

CG Public Health’s grant application was one of only 15 grants selected for TCI’s 2021 Iowa and Oklahoma-based funding cycle, which awarded a total of $676,430 in grants to nonprofit organizations in these states ($392,319 to Oklahoma and $284,111 to Iowa).

“The pandemic made clear the value of a strong and resilient public health workforce,” said Matt McGarvey, executive director of Telligen Community Initiative. “We are proud to support Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health as they find new ways to strengthen the current and future workforce in this important area.”

TCI works to support projects in the priority funding areas of health innovation, health care workforce development and access to care for the underserved. Since 2014, TCI has awarded more than $11.75 million to 286 organizations and projects in Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Colorado.

CG Public Health currently works closely with multiple Iowa colleges and universities for student rotations and joint projects and has set a goal to build these partnerships to become an academic health department, a place to bridge public health practice with academic students and research. The Department will offer a setting where students from all backgrounds can learn about health equity, understand the inner workings of a health department, and apply what they are learning in the classroom to real problems and challenges in the field.

“Public health departments employ a wide spectrum of professionals including nurses, environmental health specialists, health coaches, data and IT experts and health educators. We are excited to have the opportunity to engage with more students and to share our passion for public health with area youth.” said Alyse DeVries the Department’s Academic Coordinator.

With so many of today’s youth moving to larger urban areas for employment after college, CG Public Health is looking forward to providing opportunities to boost the local workforce by introducing public health to North Iowa youth and recruiting interns to support the Department’s vision of a safer and healthier tomorrow.

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