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Release: Immediate

UI receives grant to develop communication tools for Healthy Iowans 2010

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa has received a $50,000 federal contract to help meet the information technology needs of Iowa's public health professionals involved in Healthy Iowans 2010, a statewide effort for health promotion and disease prevention.

The UI was one of 13 sites nationwide selected as part of "Partners in Information Access," a joint project of the National Institutes of Health, the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the NLM's National Network of Libraries of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and the National Association of County and City Health Officials. More than $650,000 in contracts were awarded to improve public health groups' access to information services and technology.

UI researchers and administrators from the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences (HLHS) and the College of Medicine will work with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to identify and address the information needs of public health workers involved in the planning, writing, disseminating and support of Healthy Iowans 2010. Ed Holtum and Kara Logsden from the HLHS, and Paul Pomrehn, M.D., UI associate professor of preventive medicine and environmental health, will lead the project. The project will provide ongoing support to the Healthy Iowans 2010 Work Group, the committee responsible for planning and writing the Healthy Iowans 2010 document. The project also provides training and support for community groups who are developing Healthy Iowans 2010 plans on local levels.

Healthy Iowans 2010 is the state's contribution to Healthy People 2010, the federal government's national public health plan coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. First organized in the 1990s as Healthy People 2000, the plan calls for each state to contribute ideas and initiatives for improving the health of all Americans.

The Healthy Iowans 2010 plan will cover nearly two dozen areas of public health promotion, including physical activity, tobacco use, family planning, nutrition, cancer, mental health and immunizations and infectious disease. Each topic will have its own team with 10 to 40 members, led by a facilitator from the IDPH and a team leader. The teams will work to identify public health problems in each of the areas and develop intervention strategies to address the problems. Their efforts will culminate in a Healthy Iowans 2010 plan that will be included in the national Healthy People 2010 plan and will shape public health planning and interventions for Iowa in the next decade.

"This funding will provide the Healthy Iowans 2010 group with information technology resources and training, as well as better ways to gather and share information," Holtum said.

The project will provide access to health information resources at the HLHS for all Healthy Iowans 2010 team members; develop a Healthy Iowans 2010 Web site; establish listservs to facilitate communications among team members; provide connectivity to online resources for public health professionals and the public; and provide technology training to team members. The project also will create a Healthy Iowans 2010 display, which will be exhibited at public health meetings around the state.