University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld, along with staff and faculty from the UI College of Public Health, recently visited Mason City in north central Iowa. The visit was part of a series of community forums organized by the College of Public Health’s Business Leadership Network (BLN).
Formed in 2011, the BLN reaches out to small and medium-sized businesses in Iowa communities to form collaborations around public health needs identified by local residents. To date, the BLN has hosted 15 community forums throughout the state, bringing together business owners, economic development leaders, public health officials, health care providers, local elected officials, agency and organization representatives, and university personnel to talk about local health issues.
“Our role is to facilitate conversations about these topics, encourage connections to address concerns, and provide education and resources whenever possible,” says Tara McKee, BLN coordinator.
The Nov. 4 Mason City forum focused on workplace health and safety, mental health, obesity, smoking cessation, and employer-employee relations. Past forum topics have included agricultural health and safety, cyber-bullying, health care reform, women’s health, and substance use.
“We do these forums with great anticipation and excitement that we’re going to bring people together in a community who might not actually be in a room together on a regular basis, and that they’re going to learn from each other as much as from us,” adds Sue Curry, dean of the College of Public Health.
Learn more about the Business Leadership Network community forums and community grant project at www.public-health.uiowa.edu/bln.