Every year, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) join to recognize the significant contributions our Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) make to public health. Our DIS are a crucial part of our work in public health.
DIS work across many program areas in public health; however, their primary focus is working with individuals diagnosed with HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia. DIS ensure that individuals diagnosed with these infections are connected to important resources, including medical care. DIS also work with persons diagnosed with these infections to ensure that anyone who may have been exposed is confidentially notified and has the opportunity to seek appropriate treatment and testing. DIS work tirelessly and overcome many obstacles to make sure their clients are educated regarding their diagnoses and facilitate access to needed resources. The role they play is more important than ever as Iowa and the rest of the U.S. experience increases in many of these STDs.
There are seven DIS who work for IDPH. Additionally, Polk, Linn, Scott, and Black Hawk counties have similar staff who perform DIS work within their respective counties. Our DIS work very well together and continually identify ways to maximize limited resources. In 2017, DIS in Iowa worked 19,000 cases, and followed up with an additional 4,000 contacts. Many, many thanks to our DIS for their tireless work and many years of service!