Public Health:

What It Does for Your Community and You


Three Sessions: October 2, 9, 16

Time: Mondays, 1:30-3 PM

Location: Westminster Presbyterian Church, DM

Cost: $27

Class Limit: 100


The public health system provides vital services to Iowans. This class will give insight into some of those services by exploring the system’s history, organization, function, and challenges. Three topics will be presented by highly qualified employees of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), including the Director, a community health consultant, and the Medical Director/State Epidemiologist.


SESSION ONE: The Public Health System and How It Works

Time: Monday, October 2


The first session will discuss the history of our public health system and the Iowa Department of Public Health. Additional topics include the current working of the department in protecting Iowans against infectious disease; improving the health of children; licensing health professionals who promote public health; utilizing our federal, state, and local tax dollars for these purposes; several “hot topics”; and future challenges for keeping people healthy.


Instructor Gerd Clabaugh, Director of the IDPH for 13 years, holds a BA from Drake University and an MPA from Iowa State University. He has also been employed as Iowa’s Deputy Director and Health Policy Director. Gerd has worked with many organizations and committees involved with public health such as local boards of health, hospitals, and the Iowa Public Health Association.


SESSION TWO: Dealing With a Chronic Disease? Put Life Back in Your Life!

Time: Monday, October 9


In the second session we will learn about the IDPH program “Better Choices, Better Health,” which provides tools for living a healthy life with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma, and heart disease. In an interactive format including a trivia game, such topics as managing symptoms, working with a health care team, effective problem-solving, and better communication will be covered. The goal of “Better Choices, Better Health” is to provide support for normal daily activities and the emotions which may accompany chronic conditions.


Instructor Erin Olson, Community Health Consultant, has a BA in health promotion from Grand View and an MPH from Des Moines University. She works for the IDPH to coordinate the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program; she also promotes statewide initiatives to prevent childhood obesity.


SESSION THREE: How to Live a Long, Healthy and Mentally Sharp Life

Time: Monday, October 16


Our final session will explore the science behind living a long, healthy life and preventing cognitive decline and dementia. Dr. Quinlisk will also discuss the newest information on healthy diets, recommended amounts of exercise, and how to ensure the brain endures.


Instructor Patricia Quinlisk, Medical Director and State Epidemiologist at the IDPH, holds an MPH from Johns Hopkins and an MD from the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Quinlisk has been employed by the IDPH for 23 years. She was trained as a field epidemiologist in CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and is a professor at four universities. She is on the Board of Scientific Counselors to the CDC and is in a national working group to determine how to prevent outbreaks of mumps.




2500 FLEUR DR, DES MOINES, IA  50321 |  (515) 244–0631  |  E-MAIL US!


NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMATORY POLICY AS TO STUDENTS: Senior College of Greater Des Moines, Inc. admits students of any age, race, disability, sexual orientation, creed, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, disability, sexual orientation, creed, color, national or ethnic origin in administration of its policies and procedures.