One of our core values at The Signal Center is to increase health equality across Iowa and beyond. Our staff recently presented on a new policy that will help to increase access to health care statewide. The Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health, April 11-12, in Des Moines, Iowa. Alongside representatives from the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health (CPH) and National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice (NRC), TSC’s Mayra Martinez presented on the newly established Community ID Project.
About the Community ID Program
Many Iowa residents still have difficulty accessing local services, including housing, transportation, and healthcare. A significant fraction of the population lack access to identification–that is, 11% of U.S. citizens do not possess a government-issued photo ID.
Certain groups are more likely to lack identification, most notably African Americans (25%), elderly persons (17%), Latinos (16%), and low-income persons (15%). Not possessing a driver’s license or state ID creates a barrier to certain public services. Lack of ID can make it particularly difficult for vulnerable populations to use health-promoting resources such as free medical clinics. The Johnson County Community ID project offers a solution to overcome some of these barriers. Approved in April of 2015, the program provides residents with a government-issued photo ID that they can use to access services.
The Community ID Evaluation Project
Alongside Roz Smith, research associate from the UI NRC, and Xiomara Santana, student in the UI CPH, TSC’s Mayra Martinez presented the findings of an ongoing follow-up study to the Community ID Program.
An evaluation was conducted in which ID applicants were surveyed both before and after receiving the Community ID. Participants in the survey–those who had applied for and received community IDs–described a largely positive outcome. Among those in Johnson County using their Community ID as their primary form of identification, 84% of people had their IDs accepted when presented. Participants also reported a positive outcome in regards to accessing health services: the Community ID helped a number of persons access health resources such as urgent care clinics, the University of Iowa Mobile Clinic, and the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic (FMC).
What Is Next for The Community ID Project in Johnson County
Undergraduate students working on the Community ID Project in Johnson County have identified an opportunity to promote the ID among international students, who comprise over 11% of the student body at the University of Iowa. Having valid identification is a concern for some international students, many of whom have to carry important documents such as visas and passports on a daily basis. The Community ID could provide these students with a safe and locally-accepted alternative form of identification to be used in the Johnson County and UI communities. A Community ID registration clinic is being organized for the fall 2017 UI International Student Orientation.
The Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health
The Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health provides a meetingplace for Iowa health care workers to share professional knowledge, innovation, and development. The conference brings together public health experts from both state and local venues to present on health care initiatives both local and nationwide. The 2017 conference took place on April 11-12 at the Airport Holiday Inn in Des Moines, Iowa.