Iszler retires after 34 years with Central Valley Health District – Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN – The outgoing unit manager for the Central Valley Health District says his career has been very rewarding as he tries to keep the public safe and healthy.

“There are so many people I have to thank to the community and Central Valley Health staff and all the people I’ve met over the years,” said Robin Iszler. “…I look forward to my next adventures.”

Iszler retired after 34 years of service at Central Valley Health, where he was the unit manager for 17 years. His last official day was December 29.

Iszler said he’s seen a lot of growth in Central Valley Health over the past few years. He said many programs have been added, including tobacco prevention, emergency preparedness, substance use prevention, environmental health regulations, car seat laws, and health improvements such as healthy eating, walking, and diabetes prevention.

“I think it puts Central Valley Health in a much better position than when it first started,” said Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County commissioner and former county emergency manager and 911 coordinator.

Kara Falk took over as unit manager of Central Valley Health on December 19.

Starts at Central Valley Health

Iszler began as a family planning secretary at Central Valley Health in 1988. At the time, computers were in their infancy and she was hired because of her computer knowledge, she said. He said that family planning was one of the first programs to move towards computer data collection and that he was responsible for setting up the program and entering the data.

In 1991, she continued to work with Central Valley Health on billing and insurance while enrolling in the nursing program at Jamestown College, now Jamestown University. Iszler has always been interested in science and medicine.

“While I was working here, I saw what people were doing for nursing and community health nursing, and that intrigued me,” Izler said. “My two choices were to become a science teacher or a nurse, so that’s the path I chose.”

After graduating from Jamestown College, she became director of the family planning and Women, Babies and Children program for Central Valley Health. Over the next 11 years she founded the Women’s Path, which provided women with breast and cervical cancer screening.

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After Sharon Unruh retired, she became Central Valley Health’s second unit manager in history in 2006.

Handling key events

Iszler said that during his 34 years at Central Valley Health, the health unit had survived three major events: the 2009 flood, the H1N1 and coronavirus pandemic that started in the US in 2010.

During the floods of 2009, Central Valley Health assisted by providing first aid stations during sandbag efforts and took steps to help answer community members’ questions.

“We set up a call center and used it with Robin’s help when we converted a medically developed software package for call centers into flooding,” Bergquist said. “Then we advertised that phone number and people called that number instead, and all inquiries from the public were directed there. … in 2009 it was a huge help. It was only used at the time, but it was definitely successful.”

Bergquist said the biggest project he has worked on with Iszler was during the coronavirus pandemic. Iszler said he asked Bergquist to mediate through Zoom in scheduling meetings that bring together clinics, hospitals, school districts, UJ and law enforcement.

“It was always a team effort with him,” she said. “He always tried to bring everyone to the table to find the best solution.”

Iszler said past experience has helped guide Central Valley Health’s response to COVID in 2020. He said setting up an emergency operations center and emergency preparedness planning during the flood in 2009 helped Central Valley Health prepare for the coronavirus pandemic. He said that an emergency operations center should be established during the coronavirus pandemic.

H1N1, a type of influenza A virus, began in the US in 2010, and Central Valley Health had to set up mass vaccination clinics in the community to vaccinate children, he said. This will give Central Valley Health valuable experience in recent years.

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“We knew what to do and we knew what supplies to bring,” he said, referring to the Central Valley’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. “We knew how to get people involved quickly, so these are some of the things that prepared us for this. We were also trained in emergency preparedness and communication, so we held press conferences early in the pandemic. We needed to get local information to people.”

Iszler said the Central Valley Health District is a quiet partner in the community, whose name no one has heard of when it protects the public and where everyone is healthy.

“What’s important to us is that we’re there to keep the community healthy, and you might not hear much about us,” he said. “What we saw in the pandemic was when we needed to get ahead of an emerging threat. However, we must put our skills to work on how to stop what is happening, how to prevent people from getting sick.”

Iszler said working as a public health nurse is very different from being a nurse in healthcare.

Central Valley Health is located in the middle of the state’s Southeast Central Region, working with eight counties and seven health departments on Women’s Trail, family planning and emergency preparedness, among other areas.

She said public health nurses need to be flexible, creative and patient because change happens slowly, can react quickly at times, and has the ability to solve problems.

“Community health nurses have to meet people where they are in the community,” she said. “When we’re in the hospital, the nurse has more control over that person’s health at that moment, but we can go and visit them when they go out in public and when they return home. But when we go, there is no one to make sure that the person is taking their medication correctly and not falling.”

She said public health nurses need to build trust with people and get to know them over time.

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“I hope through education and modeling people change their actions,” he said.

Iszler said he is proud of the many achievements he has achieved throughout his career. In 2009, Central Valley Health became one of 13 US health departments selected as beta testing sites for public health accreditation. He said Central Valley Health was the first health department in North Dakota to receive a public health accreditation designation in 2015.

Iszler said one of her favorite parts of her job was writing grants and implementing new programs. For example, when Central Valley Health receives federal government funding to prevent breast and cervical cancer, it will work with the North Dakota Department of Health on how that funding will be implemented in the community.

“It still comes back to having someone in the community who knows where the clinics are, can reach out to women and then find the right people,” he said. “You have to get into these communities to truly provide the services.”

He also said he is proud to have applied for and received nearly $500,000 in grant funding for a sidewalk built by Jamestown High School along 12th Avenue Northeast, improvements to the pickup and drop-off area at Jamestown Middle School, and signage for elementary schools. improve security.

He said he always checks for funding and projects that can help improve health outcomes, even if some grants are smaller.

Working to improve mental health

While retiring, Iszler said he would work with Central Valley Health on a limited part-time basis in education to improve mental health. Trained as a trainer to teach adult and youth mental health first aid.

He said the program teaches community members how to respond to others with mental health problems. The Jamestown Public School District has taught a class for teachers but also plans to teach youth at schools in Jamestown and other rural communities how to help each other.


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