Board of Health
Public health in Polk County and the activities of Polk County Health Department are governed by the Polk County Board of Health/Board of Supervisors, which appoints members to the Board of Health Advisory Committee. The Board of Health Advisory Committee provides guidance to the Board of Health/Board of Supervisors and also has powers to make decisions on disputable issues such as air quality, environmental, and animal control. Decisions made by the Board of Health Advisory Committee on actionable items can be appealed to the Board of Health/Board of Supervisors.
Polk County Health Regulations and Ordinances
Unless otherwise agreed upon by the Committee and noticed pursuant to Iowa Code §21.4(1), meetings of the Board of Health Advisory Committee shall be held at 8:30 AM on the 3rd Friday of each month in Room 120 of the Polk County Administration Building, 111 Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA.
Attention: Heather Flaherty
1907 Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314
Term Expires: 12/31/2022
Dr. Jennifer Olson
Dr. Jennifer Olson is a board certified family physician that practiced for 25 years in Carlisle, IA. She became the President of MercyOne Central IA Medical Group in October 2021.
She was trained here locally with her undergraduate degree from Grand View University and her medical degree from Des Moines University.
When not working, her focus is on family, friends and yoga.
Thomas (Tom) Newton
Tom Newton joined Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield as the Vice President of Network Engagement January 31, 2011.
Newton, former Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), is responsible for engaging Wellmark’s provider community – working with hospitals and physicians to better understand their business challenges, developing new programs, and building a strong foundation of quality health care in Iowa and South Dakota.
Newton holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental planning and political science, and a master’s degree in public policy, both from the University of Northern Iowa. He is also a graduate of the State Health Leadership Institute, a program of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Term Expires: 01/01/2024
Term Expires: 12/31/2022
Reylon is the Nurse Manager for Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. In 2005, she became the first female fire chief for the city of Pleasant Hill. Located just east of Des Moines, Pleasant Hill responds to approximately 650 calls per year and is a provisional paramedic level service. Pleasant Hill gained national attention in 2002 as EMS Magazines’ Gold Award winner for volunteer service of the year. Reylon has taught a variety of EMT classes, and is currently holding a paramedic class through DMACC. Reylon was named the American Red Cross Hero of the Heartland in 2004 in the fire division and most recently was chosen one of one hundred Great Iowa Nurses for 2005.
Anne Bacon began her work as executive director of Red Rock Area Community Action Agency in May of 2015. Soon after, the agency merged with the Des Moines Community Action Agency to form IMPACT Community Action Partnership. Anne is a passionate social justice advocate with a keen focus on the issue of poverty.
She received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Iowa and a Masters of Public Administration from Drake University. She has also completed over 30 credit hours in Community and Economic Development at Pennsylvania State University. Her professional experience includes work within the Community Action network, the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and Bidwell Riverside Center.
Anne and her family make their home in Ankeny, Iowa.
Term Expires: 12/31/2022
Public Health Professor
Des Moines University
Term Expires: 1/1/2024
Simon Geletta, Ph.D.
Dr. Geletta is a professor in the Department of Public Health at Des Moines University, where he teaches health care analytics courses such as basic research and statistics, community research methods and geographic information systems for health care professionals.
Over his tenure as a faculty member at DMU, Dr. Geletta has collaborated with local, regional and national public health and health care-focused institutions in initiating and conducting a number of population-based health studies, including the Statewide Asthma Programs Evaluation project (conducted in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health), the Administrative Turnover and Quality of Nursing Home Care in Iowa project and the Iowa Healthy Links statewide project (conducted in collaboration with the Iowa Department on Aging and the National Coalition on Aging), and the Polk County Churches and Barbershop Based Blood Pressure Screening project (conducted in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Human Rights, Polk County Department of Health, the African American Leadership Council and American Heart Association).
Before joining DMU, Dr. Geletta worked at two Medicare Quality Improvement Organizations (QIO) – Primaris (the Missouri QIO) and Telligen (the Iowa/Illinois QIO). His work at these QIOs involved translating established medical guidelines into quality-of-care measurement algorithms, and analyzing clinical and Medicare claims data for the purpose of health care quality evaluation and monitoring.
Dr. Geletta has a master of science degree in computer information systems (MSCIS) from Boston University, and a master of science degree and a Ph.D. degree in rural sociology from the University of Missouri – Columbia.