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Select Tama County Empowerment for national site visit

September 9, 2010
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald
TAMA NEWS-HERALD - Lori Johnson, Tama County Early Childhood Iowa Empowerment director, has been notified by Shanell Wagler, State ECI (Early Childhood Iowa) director, that Tama County has been selected as one of the sites that the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services (NACRHHS) wanted to visit.

“We were pleased and excited to have been one of the selected counties that this committee of rural experts wanted to visit”, said Johnson. Iowa and Linn County are also featured in their two day site visit schedule.

On Sept. 16, NACRHHS will arrive at the Tama County ISU Extension Office. The Tama County Speaker Panel will include Joyce Legg, Tama County Public Health & Home Care, Royce Hickie, Mid-Iowa Community Action and Cindy Skopec, Area Education Agency 267. They will be presenting about their provider meetings and how they collaborate together to assure families are able to access and receive services needed without duplication.

The committee will tour Kids Corner Day Care facility that currently provides preschool scholarships, respite scholarships and services for hard to serve children.

Jill Herink, Meskwaki Settlement High School Principal will give a presentation of their school.

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Iowa County Director, will share their preschool initiatives and their Millersberg School Project.

On Sept. 15, the NACRHHS will be meeting in Amana. Charles Bruner, Child & Family Policy Center’s Executive Director and former Iowa Senator, will speak on early childhood development place-based initiatives in Iowa. Shanell Wagler, Director of Early Childhood Iowa, will present information on new initiatives on Early Childhood Iowa including the private sector initiative.

NACRHHS is a 21-member citizens' panel of nationally recognized rural health and human services experts that provide recommendations on rural issues to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Committee’s Chair is former Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove and the Vice Chair is former Tupelo, Mississippi Mayor Larry Otis. Local Iowa members include Donna Harvey, Waterloo; Todd Linden, Grinnell; and Maggie Tinsman, Davenport.

The Committee was chartered in 1987 to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services on ways to address health and human service problems in rural America.

The Committee’s membership includes private and public-sector members reflect wide-ranging, first-hand experience with rural issues -- in medicine, nursing, administration, finance, law, research, business, public health, aging, welfare and human service issues. The members represent expertise in the delivery, financing, research, development, and administration of health and human services in rural areas. Several members are involved in training rural health professionals. Others are representatives of State government, provider associations, and other rural interest groups.

Each year, the Committee produces a report for the Secretary on key health and human service issues affecting rural communities. The Committee meets three times a year to inform the report. The first meeting is held in early winter in Washington, D.C. The Committee then meets twice in the field (in June and September). The field visits include ongoing work on the yearly topics with some time devoted to site visits and presentations by the host community. The Committee provides a report with recommendations on the topics for the Secretary by the end of the year.

In addition to the report, the Committee may also produce white papers on select policy issues. The Committee also sends letters to the Secretary after each meeting. The letters serve as a vehicle for the Committee to raise other issues with the Secretary separate and apart from the report process.

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