A new report indicates Iowa’s public health funding increased 9% during the pandemic.

The non-profit Trust for America’s Health released the report. Nadine Gracia, the non-profit’s president and CEO, says federal pandemic aid helped many states increase public health funding and it’s important state and federal lawmakers invest more to address issues beyond COVID.

“The public health needs of communities continues to increase,” she says. “We see increases in chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, which are leading causes of death and as well as leading drivers of health care costs.”

Gracia says increased funding can also help address workforce shortages in health care and update outdated data systems.

“It’s difficult to hire a workforce and maintain that workforce if you don’t have reliable and sustained funding for public health, whether it’s to respond to an infectious disease, like monkeypox, or efforts to be able to address some of the chronic conditions that we also see in communities,” Gracia says.

The Trust for America’s Health report found the state’s public health budget was $116 million for the fiscal year that started July 1st of 2020.

(By Katie Piekes, Iowa Public Radio)