Henry County welcomes new Community Health Director
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
Patricia Sallee is settling into her new digs at the Henry County Community Health Department at Henry County Health Center (HCHC) and is looking forward to furthering many of the practices of her predecessor as the county’s Community Health Director.
Born in Mt. Pleasant, a former student of Southeastern Community College and Iowa Wesleyan, and a current resident of Louisa County, Sallee is no stranger to southeast Iowa.
“There’s just something about this area,” said Sallee. “This community really embraces public health and the nurses we have in the public health department are all really great.”
A labor of love for Sallee, she has been involved in the healthcare field for roughly 30 years, working in various capacities from bedside nursing to healthcare administration. Now taking the reins from former Community Health Director, Travis Johnson, Sallee says she’s finally landed in the position that she hopes will be where she spends the rest of her career.
Looking into the future, Sallee says Johnson laid a solid foundation in Henry County, and when it comes to HCHC’s transitional care programs, insists that the county is already ahead of the curve. In fact, she feels that while challenges lay ahead in healthcare, she says her department is working to meet many of those challenges head on.
“Home healthcare is expanding and we do live in a county with a large elderly population, so serving the needs of those folks is really important,” says Sallee. “Diabetes, obesity and smoking prevention is also a major challenge that we are facing, and it’s a challenge that a lot of counties are trying to address. The main goal I am looking at is how do we not only treat these issues, but also how do we work to prevent them all together.”
To combat these issues, Sallee says she and her staff are working on ways to get the nurses within her department into the public sphere even more, doing more public education on healthy living practices, and promoting regular vaccinations against the flu and other communicable diseases.
“It’s an exciting time to be in healthcare and I feel fortunate that the public health department has such great partnerships with the Henry County Board of Health and Healthy Henry County Communities,” she said. “I think these issues are all things that we can continue to tackle together as a team.”
Sallee admits that while her new position dominates much of her time, she says she makes time to be with her husband. In their free time, the couple love to bowl and bike together. Antique car enthusiasts, Sallee says she and her husband also enjoy attending the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion every year.
“I feel at home here,” she says. “I’m excited to get to meet and work with the people here, and I am very appreciative of how so many people have already been so welcoming to me. It has been great.”
The Henry County Community Health Department is located in the lower level of the Dialysis building on the HCHC campus. For more information on the Community Health Department, call 319-385-6724.