Shauna Callaway, the Poweshiek County Public Health Nurse, couldn’t be more pleased with the efforts of residents, businesses and communities across the county who are putting their best foot forward in the fight against COVID-19.
“Our local communities are doing amazing work – social distancing is being practiced and creative new ideas are being discussed and implemented every day,” said Callaway, who has been in healthcare for 27 years. “Our Community Partners have been planning, discussing and taking actions to keep our citizens safe and healthy.”
Callaway noted that schools, daycares, local businesses, long-term care facilities, colleges, the hospital, medical clinics, EMS, fire departments, sheriff’s office, Grinnell Police Department, city and county governments all have action plans and are taking steps each day to mitigate the spread and prepare for what is ahead with every changing update related to this virus.
As public health director, Callaway oversees public health and health promotion and wellness activities for Poweshiek County. This includes the immunization program, communicable disease follow-up, mother/baby health, HCA program, healthy adult clinics, free clinic, Diabetes Prevention Program, Health Promotion Activities with Community Partners, Corporate Wellness, Medical Loan closet and the PWA Fitness Center.
“Public health in Poweshiek County is a department within UPH-Grinnell Regional Medical Center, so we work very closely with the hospital, the Board of Health, Emergency Management and Community Partners,” she said.
Callaway said we have all seen the impact this pandemic is having across the country and around the world.
“There are no exemptions to its spread, so we all need to do our part to slow its course,” she said.
Callaway said social distancing is imperative for everyone in an effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Every citizen must take responsibility to absolutely stay home if sick but also to shelter at home if possible -only leaving home for essential tasks and work, if unable to do from home,” noted Callaway. “This is not only protecting yourself, when you stay home, but also protecting those around you, including your household contacts as well as the community at large. Please take every precaution possible, including frequent hand hygiene for at least 20 seconds, keeping a distance of 6-foot if you must go out and disinfecting items that are frequently touched.”
As Poweshiek County Public Health Director, Callaway works directly with the Iowa Department of Health and our community partners to ensure they have the education and supplies they need to keep those they serve safe and healthy.
“We have a direct role in detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases, therefore we complete investigations and surveillance related specifically to the COVID-19 confirmed cases in Poweshiek County,” she said.
On a daily schedule, Poweshiek County Public Health provides education to our Community Partners, collaborates in planning strategies, answers phone calls, triage symptoms, makes referrals and receives personal protective equipment donated by the communities.
“Public Health provides a service and a resource for those who live and work in our county,” said Callaway.
In spite of the battle against COVID-19, Callaway said her workday is a blessing as she has an amazing opportunity to support the individuals and communities of Poweshiek County while collaborating with a network of Community Partners who care about the health and well-being of its residents.
“These days my time is focused on COVID-19,”she said. “Most of my meetings are virtual, I do try to get information out through local media, including radio and the papers.”
A Conrad native, Callaway holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and social work from Allen College.
“I have been a nurse for 27 years in home health, obstetrics and long-term care with most of my years spent in nursing leadership,” she said.
Callaway had been working in the UnityPoint Healthcare system, so she knew the values of the organization.
“This opportunity in leadership and service presented itself and I knew it was right,” said Callaway. “We all have a path and I know this is my path - this is where I am supposed to be.”
Callaway and her husband have three children.