Central Valley Health District continues the same focus in its 50th year

The health district provides a number of programs.

CVHD Building.jpg
Central Valley Health District is marking 50 years of service to Jamestown and Stutsman County this year. The district expanded to offer services in Logan County in 1977.
Contributed / Central Valley Health District

Editor's note: This story is advertorial content as part of the 2023 Jamestown Sun Progress Edition on "Business, Workforce, Retention."

JAMESTOWN — Central Valley Health District marks 50 years of service to Jamestown and Stutsman County this year with the same focus it has always had.

“Disease prevention is what public health has always been about,” said Robin Iszler, former unit administrator of the district. “It still is.”

Central Valley came about in 1973 when the positions of Jamestown city nurse and Stutsman County nurse were merged into a single department. In 1977, the district expanded to offer services in Logan County, which it continues.

With its long history, Kara Falk, current unit administrator of the district, said it is important for the community to understand the services it provides.


“We offer a lot of nursing services,” she said. “Community nursing, medicine setup, school nursing, school screening and environmental health programs like pool inspections and inspections of body art operations.”

Another key aspect of public health is emergency preparedness, according to Frank Balak, regional emergency preparedness and response coordinator at the district.

He said the planning done by public health became obvious during the recent coronavirus pandemic.

“The things we did in COVID were planned for well in advance,” Balak said. “COVID may be over but we are preparing for the next thing that may come down the line.”

Preparations are not limited to diseases.

“We take an all-hazard approach,” he said. “We prepare for natural and man-made problems. Everything from flooding, virus outbreaks, even hazardous materials.”

Balak said that emergency preparedness services are provided for an eight-county area in south-central North Dakota and provide a connection between local first responders and community care providers and the state agencies also involved with emergency service.

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For a flooding situation, for example, the district compiles lists of locations of people who might need specialized assistance if flooding occurs or roads are washed out.


“We prepare evacuation plans and other any other preparedness for flooding,” Balak said. “We assess the needs all across the region.”

Falk said that planning continued through the coronavirus pandemic although it was less noticeable to the public.

“Right now we are trying to figure out our new normal after the COVID focus,” she said.

Iszler described working at Central Valley Health through COVID-19 as “intense.”

Falk said the coronavirus pandemic made public health in general more visible in the community and across the nation.

“They had evidence of what we do,” she said. “We saw a community appreciation of what we do.”

Through the pandemic, Central Valley Health continued to provide its full list of services in the community.

Those services are provided by 24 employees.


Public health employees are eligible for retirement and health insurance benefits through the state of North Dakota, Iszler said.

Other benefits are determined by the Central Valley board, she said.

“We survey the employees every year,” Iszler said. “We find out from the employees what they want. If it is reasonable and doable, we consider implementing it.”

This has created a “family friendly” workplace, she said.

“Maybe we can’t pay as much as some employees,” Iszler said, “but we try to offer attractive benefits.”

Most of the positions at Central Valley are funded through grants.

“There is a risk we would have to lay off people if a grant ends,” Iszler said. “That hasn’t happened often and things have been steady since the 1990s.”

Currently, Central Valley Health District is not recruiting any additional employees.


Those workers continue to provide health services to the public of Stutsman and Logan counties.

“We make sure we have the supplies, organization and infrastructure that is needed whatever happens,” Balak said. “It goes unnoticed until there is a need.”

And they continue to provide more immediate services such as car seat safety, family planning, injury prevention, substance use prevention, Women, Infants and Children program, Women’s Way and vaccinations and immunizations in the community, Falk said.

Programs under the injury prevention category include school sports physicals and safe cribs for children.

The Women’s Way program provides pap smears and mammograms for women who can not afford the screening tests.

The Women, Infants and Children program provides nutritious foods for pregnant, breastfeeding women and young children in need.

Substance use programs address alcohol, tobacco and illegal substance use in the community and can include assistance in quitting tobacco use or preventing opioid overdoses.

The car seat safety program inspects car seats and provides assistance for those with questions about the installation and use of car seats for children under 8 years of age.


All of the programs offered by Central Valley Health are designed to meet the needs of the community, Falk said.

Those needs really haven’t changed over history and will probably gain importance over the next 50 years, Falk said.

“Health promotion and disease prevention are what public health has always been about,” Falk said. “It always will be.”

More information about Central Valley Health District is available at .

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