By Rachael Black, Project Coordinator, MICA
Anna-Maria Roache, of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), visited Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) on June 29th and 30th for its Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children (CPHMC) project sit visit. The scope of the CPHMC project covers two of MICA’s core counties, Marshall and Tama.
The day began with Anna-Maria meeting the key staff, Gloria Symons (Health Services Director), Sierra Stevens (WIC Coordinator), Rachael Black (Project Coordinator), and Grant Gale (Health Services Specialist). Anna-Maria was given an overview of MICA and its services, the Community Needs Assessment which was completed, and where we stood on our Community Action Plan (CAP). Then it was off for a tour of the Marshalltown area. We visited three corner/convenience stores which we hope to improve healthy food options and promotion, as well as several places in which we anticipate partnering to create Breastfeeding Friendly environments. We ate lunch at one such location and all agreed to not count that meal against our current diets.
After lunch we took some time to visit Albion, a small town near Marshalltown in Marshall County. Anna-Maria was surprised as we started back to Marshalltown, she turned around in her seat to look back on the small town and ask “wait, was that it?” It took less than two minutes to drive from one end of the town to the other. In fact, it took more time to dive to the town (ten minutes) than it did to drive through it. For our next stop we visited a healthy snack initiative which MICA already had established in partnership with a community wide project. This project is called Rodger University, a summer learning camp. We ended our first day with a tour of Hy-Vee, a local grocery store. Hy-Vee’s dietitian, Jenny Fisher, is a member of the coalition. Jenny is working with us to develop healthy store tours which will help educate families using WIC, and the community at large, as to healthier options when shopping.
On the second day we started off by going to Tama, the second county in our project area. Tama County is even more rural than the already rural Marshall. Tama’s population is just over two fifths the size of Marshall. We met with the Tama County Public Health and got a good overview of Tama and its health struggles and resources. Then we visited the Settlement, the Sovereign land of the Meskwaki Tribe. The Meskwaki tribe is a member of The Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, and is the only federally recognized tribe in Iowa. Then it was back to MICA’s central office for some much needed encouragement and guidance from Anna-Maria.