Winnebago County Public Health offers many services to our citizens in our community.

We offer care to all ages, young and old alike. We are govern by the Winnebago County Board of Health

Winnebago County Public Health
216 South 4th Street
Forest City, IA 50436

Telephone: 641-585-4763 or 1-800-749-6235
Fax: 641-585-1788

Mission Statement: To promote healthy lifestyles and prevent disease and disability by advocating for the physical and mental health, and well being of all citizens in Winnebago County.

Vision Statement: Public Health is responsible to safeguard the community‘s health through assessment, policy development and assurance.

Values Statement: We believe disease prevention, human dignity with privacy and confidentiality, respect for individual choices, and access to quality health services are basic rights of all.

Chairman of the Board of Health: Dr. Twyla Ostercamp
Administrator: Julie Sorenson
Clinical Manager: Allison Rice, RN
Environmental Health: Ron Kvale

Other links:

Teen help line: 1-800-433-8336
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Poison control : 1-800-222-1222

Public Health Office
(641) 585-4763
[email protected]

Office Hours
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed. MAKE AN EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT. During or after an emergency, you won’t have time to search for supplies. There’s also a chance stores may not be open to fill even basic needs. An emergency supply kit, containing necessary items you would need for survival, should be prepared in advance. Keep the kit in an accessible place where you can reach it quickly in case of an emergency—whether you remain at home or evacuate to a safe place.

Supplies for Emergency Kit:

  • Prescription medications—watch for expiration dates
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries
  • Can opener
  • Bedding for each person
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Dust mask or cotton T-shirt for each person to help filter the air
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • A waterproof container—to store important documents such as drivers license, birth certificates, copies of medical prescriptions, insurance policies
  • Water ( at least one gallon per person for 3 days)
  • Food, at least 3 day supply of nonperishable food
  • Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, cortisone cream, Pepto-Bismol, tylenol

After assembling your kit:

  • Store the kit in a place known to all household members.
  • Review the contents of your kit periodically to make sure food and water are fresh and prescription medicines are up-to-date.

Develop a plan

Your family and close friends may not be together when an emergency strikes. You need to make a plan of communication to keep in touch.

  • Pick a place to meet and then choose a backup place outside your neighborhood.
  • Pick someone to contact in an emergency.
  • Be prepared to use a house phone or a cell phone.
  • Put a copy of all emergency numbers by every phone in your home.
  • Teach people living in your home how and when to use 911 for emergencies.
  • Ask a friend or family member living out of state to be a contact. Sometimes it’s easier to call out-of-state if local phones aren’t working.
  • Have a plan for what to do with and how to care for your pets.
  • Forms for your “Family Emergency Plan” can be found at

Kids, do your part to prepare…

With your parent’s permission check out this cool website with games and activities to help you and your family get ready for emergencies:

Winnebago County offers services for home care with experienced and qualified staff. Anyone can make a referral or ask for assistance!

Our goal: For you to remain safely in your home as long as possible!

What the nurses can do:

  • All skilled nursing provided under physician’s orders
  • Give special treatments
    • Change dressing to wounds/incisions
    • Injections
    • Catheter care
    • Colostomy care
    • Draw blood/laboratory tests
    • IV infusions and tube feedings
  • Evaluate and set up your medications
  • Assess skin condition
  • Send in progress notes to your physician
  • Vital signs and lung assessments
  • Maternal Healthy home visits
  • Assess safety conditions
  • Admit and care for you following hospitalizations
    • Teach disease process and assist communications with physicians
    • We offer Physical therapy, Occupation therapy and Speech Therapy in the home if ordered by your Dr.
    • Assess condition after surgery or hospital admission
    • Make the appropriate referrals and offer resources to assist you in staying at home
  • Supervise and set up Homecare aides and homemaker services

What the Home Health aide and Homemaker can do:

  • Homemakers are under the direct supervision of the RN
  • Provide personal care
    • Baths/showers
    • Shampoos
    • Assist dressed
    • Post –op exercises
    • Range of motion exercises
    • Assist with meal planning and preparation
    • Assist with ambulation
    • Assist with self cares
    • Light Housekeeping
    • Work with families and children- National accredited Healthy Families of America program and training

Equipment Loan Closet:

Winnebago County Public Health has the following equipment that we rent out free of charge for short term use.

  • Walkers
  • Stool risers
  • Commodes
  • Crutches
  • Wheelchairs
  • Canes


This is determined when the RN makes a visit. An evaluation to set up services is free of charge. The nurse will determine what the cost would be, if any, according to your income and expenses. We do all the billing for you to your insurance. The following is how we are reimbursed.

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Private insurance
  • Billing to the state of Iowa
  • Billing to waivers
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Federal grants
  • Private pay for services by clients
  • No patient is refused service because of inability to pay

If you are interested or in need of any of these services, please call our office. 641-585-4763 or 1-800-749-6235

Tobacco Free Coalition of Winnebago County

“Promoting Benefits of Tobacco Free Living”.

Our goal as a tobacco free coalition is:
To provide education and support to individuals who choose to live smoke free.

Facts to consider:
If a person smokes a pack of cigarettes a day at the price of $6.00 per pack in a year they will have spent $2,190.00. That money could have gone toward:

  • Purchasing groceries.
  • Gasoline.
  • Pay for a semester of a college education for your child
  • Down payment for a car.
  • A nice Family Vacation.

To make a complaint of a smoke free air act violation:
Please Call: 1-888-944-2247
Or go to

Ready, Willing and Able!
Help is Here!!

  • Freedom from smoking classes available through Winnebago County Public Health: Please call : 641-585-4763 or 1-800-749-6235 for more information.

It’s free. It’s simple. It works. What are you waiting for?

JEL’s Out of State Friends

Where to Go to KnowWhat you Should Know

JEL’s In-State Friends

Just Eliminate Lies ( JEL)

When the Iowa Legislature created the Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control, they stressed the importance of youth involvement in reducing tobacco use among young people in Iowa. JEL, Iowa’s youth-led anti-tobacco program gives Iowa teens the true, unfiltered facts about the tobacco industry’s marketing efforts. JEL coordinates activities to fight the tobacco industry’s efforts to manipulate teens into using tobacco products.

JEL provides peer-to-peer education to youth across the state, promotes leadership at the local level, and implements events and activities across the state to engage youth in the fight against tobacco. The goals of JEL are to change the general social attitude towards tobacco use, raise awareness through education, create effective counter-marketing, protect the rights of all Iowans from secondhand smoke, and support cessation among the young tobacco user so they quit and encourage youth to never begin using tobacco.

JEL has grown to be one of the most powerful youth led organizations, having over 7,000 members and a JEL summit with over 500 youth in attendance.

To find out more about JEL and how you can get involved visit the JEL web site at for information.

Teens Against Tobacco Use (T.A.T.U.)

Everyday more than 4,000 kids try their first cigarette; and each day more than 2,000 other kids under 18 years of age become new regular, daily smokers. That’s more than 750,000 new underage daily smokers each year.
Tobacco use begins at an early age. Almost 90 percent of all smokers begin before the age of 18.The Need for Tobacco Education:Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) is a program that allows students ages 14-17 to mentor youngsters about the dangers of smoking. Research indicates that teens enjoy opportunities to positively influence their younger counterparts. Consequently, this mentoring also serves to reinforce their decisions to remain smoke-free. Evidence suggests that peer-led programs such as TATU are more effective in reducing tobacco use among youth.

The tobacco industry concentrates its marketing efforts on our nation’s children. They recognize that new smokers must continually be recruited to replace the nearly half-million who die annually of tobacco-related illnesses.

Effective Solutions:

The TATU program transforms teens from consumers to consumer advocates. They learn to recognize the tobacco industry’s efforts to target them as the next generation of smokers.
Teens learn the vital role they will play in education children on the dangers of smoking
Empowered with this new knowledge, the teens take their anti-smoking message to schools throughout their community.

TATU teens have been involved in advocacy issues in their own communities, which have broadened their roles as youth leaders and role models.

In elementary and middle schools, high school youth presentations are a refreshing departure from the traditional lessons taught by adults.

Kids, here are some great games you can play! Go to:

HEALTHY FAMILIES WINNEBAGO COUNTY: Winnebago County Public Health offers an exciting new Nationally Accredited home visiting prenatal and parenting program free of charge funded through Winnebago Empowerment.

Prenatal home visits:

  • Information on diet
  • Developmental progress
  • Support to young parents
  • Tips on self care
  • Nurturing ideas
  • Preparedness for baby’s arrival
  • Fetal development

Postpartum and infant/child home visits:

  • Learning games
  • Video’s
  • Immunization information
  • Diet
  • Developmental screening
  • Budget
  • Self care
  • Support to young parents
  • Tips on discipline
  • Setting up family goals
  • And much more
  • Levels of home visits are set up with the families, making it convenient for them and what their needs are, giving them the knowledge and confidence to be a good parent and role model.

Other links:

Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
Crisis Intervention services: 641-585-1050

Immunizations are very important in keeping your infant, child and yourself healthy. Winnebago Public Health offers the following vaccines:

  • Dtap
  • MMR
  • Td
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella- chicken pox
  • HPV
  • Hib
  • Polio
  • Seasonal Flu shot
  • Pneumococcal
  • Meningococcal

Immunization clinics

  • Required immunizations for day care and school are offered at Winnebago County Public Health.

We offer daily clinics, call for an appointment at: 641-585-4763 or 1-800-749-6235

Communicable Diseases

The Communicable Disease Control Program provides ongoing surveillance and control of significant infectious diseases, such as meningitis, pertussis (whooping cough), e-coli, and hepatitis. Our staff works with medical providers, hospitals, and laboratories to:

  • Detect and report cases of significant infectious disease.
  • Investigate the circumstances of each case.
  • Provide pertinent information to families and communities.
  • Recommend and implement measures to control the spread of disease.
  • Provide infection-control training to community agencies and organizations.

The population of Winnebago County is highly mobile, which increases the probability and the spread of communicable diseases in our communities. In addition, many newly emerging diseases (e.g., hepatitis C, hantavirus) have contributed to the complexity of disease surveillance and control in Winnebago County.


Tuberculosis Control

The spread of tuberculosis (TB) remains a serious concern among members of our community. Our staff is responsible for:

  • Detecting new cases of tuberculosis.
  • Investigating the potential source(s) of the illness.
  • Ensuring proper medical care and treatment of the patient.
  • Providing screening and follow-up to other individuals who may have been exposed.
  • Providing technical assistance and consultation to community health care providers and other agencies or institutions.
  • Implementing the State Medication Program — Providing free TB therapy for all latent TB infection and suspected and active cases for persons who reside within the State of Iowa


Winnebago County offers the following wellness services:

  • Free Blood Pressure checks at our office.
  • Radon Kits
  • Seasonal flu shots
  • Foot clinics: Assessment of your feet by an RN and nail cutting.
    • Monthly – call office for appointment
  • Immunizations
  • Brochures on many topics

If you are interested in any of these wellness services, please call our office at 641-585-4763

Manager- Ron Kvale

Environmental Health offers many services:

  • Answer questions
  • Water tests for your private well.
  • Issue well drilling permits
  • Plug old wells and help with the cost.
  • Reconstruction of well and help with cost
  • Time of transfer and help with the paperwork.
  • Answer septic system questions
  • Septic systems. Call for more information
  • Radon test kits

Education programs

  • Where do we get our well water?
  • How does my septic system work?
  • How do I make my home a healthy home?
    • Offers tips on home safety
    • Environmental concerns