Iowa public health professionals invited to share their COVID-19 response stories

Published on July 5, 2022

Researchers from the University of Iowa College of Public Health’s Prevention Research Center for Rural Health (PRC-RH) are partnering with the Iowa Public Health Association on a new study entitled “Harnessing Knowledge/Elevated Learnings: Iowa’s Experience Mitigating COVID-19.”

The study is asking Iowa public health professionals who provide frontline public health services to share their COVID-19 response experiences. Designed to assess and understand lessons about effective action around the state and areas that need improvement, the researchers hope that results will guide planning and response to the continued COVID-19 pandemic and future crises.

To participate in this study, visit this site and share your story.

According to Rima Afifi, professor of community and behavioral health and PRC-RH director, local public health professionals and organizations in Iowa responded to the pandemic with creativity and innovation, but the experience also proved to be challenging, demoralizing, draining, and harsh.

“This assessment is really an emergency preparedness initiative, uplifting both the incredible strengths and assets in our public health system and areas of challenge,” Afifi says. “We want to better understand the pandemic response at the local level which will then help inform and guide our thinking in the future. We want to learn about what went well and what didn’t.”

Afifi says the group has already had around 100 submissions with the goal of collecting 500 or more. “This is a really innovative approach to gathering data, and people have the option to write their story or record an audio version,” she says. “We’ve heard from a lot of people that have said sharing their experience in this project has been therapeutic.”

It takes approximately 15-20 minutes to enter a story and participants are welcome to submit more than one story. Participants will receive a “public health hero” t-shirt and entry into a drawing for a $30 Hy-Vee gift card.