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MASON CITY, Iowa - A North Iowa public health department has been awarded by the Public Health Accreditation Board for its efforts in the community.
The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health is one of 8 health departments nationwide earning an accreditation this week.
To be accredited, each department has to meet over 100 standards such as how services are provided and public communication, as well as leadership and work environment within the department.
Alyse DeVries, Public Health Strategist for Cerro Gordo County, says that she and the entire staff were elated when they received the news.
"I'm very honored that they chose us as an accredited site and glad that we could meet all of their high standards," DeVries says.
The process has taken over two years, something that DeVries says that the hard part is over.
"I feel extremely happy and relieved that it's over for the most part," DeVries adds.
The convenience of having an organization that educates and informs the communities they care about is something that Suzie Q Diner owner Troy Levenhagen is very grateful for.
"We need to have it. There are some people here that are first timers and don't know the rules and regulations. You have to your meat at a proper temperature, you have to use your sanitaries, you have to wash your hands. And for first timers, they need to know that stuff," Levenhagen says.
He also says that public health departments are vital for communities to thrive.
"If we didn't have this, we'd have a lot more illness and sickness than we do. We have a little bit now, and that's why they're out there - to keep this regulated," Levenhagen adds.
The Cerro Gordo Co. Department of Public Health is now one of two departments in Iowa to receive accreditation, the other being in Linn County, and is now one of over 200 nationwide to be accredited.