New MCPH Administrator Excited About Challenges, Opportunities For Agency
The new administrator for the Mills County Public Health Office brings a unique background to the position.
Kiernan Scott comes from a family with ties to the southwest Iowa medical community and she brings years of hands-on experience working in the community with children and families.
Before taking on the MCPH administrator position in December, Scott worked for Healthy Housing Omaha, a non-profit agency that works to ensure every child has a safe and healthy living environment, “regardless of their zip code.”
“I was working in housing for children and families, reducing triggers for asthma, lead poisoning prevention,” she said. “I was working primarily with children and families from low-income areas.”
A graduate of Marian High School in Omaha, Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. While in college, she worked in early childhood education, working in a variety of areas ranging from teaching to nutrition. She eventually worked her way up to the position of vice president of operations for an early childhood company.
She began her professional career commuting to Chicago on a weekly basis where she was in charge of franchising for her employer.
“I really loved housing and working with the hospital systems,” Scott said. “ “And community partners around the social determinants of health and making sure that just because a child is born in a certain zip or area, or their family isn’t of a certain economic status, that it doesn’t affect their health outcomes, which really in turn affects their future success.”
Scott said she’s looking forward the challenges and opportunities her new job with MCPH presents. She commended the work of the agency’s staff, including nursing coordinator Lorri Greiner, for their work during a time of change and transition.
“Lorri Greiner has done a great job as interim (administrator) and the board of health has done a great job of getting everything in this leadership transition very stable and up-and-running,” she said. “It’s been great to be able to come in and not have to put out any fires. Just kind of learn and see everything that’s going on. I think there’s a lot of room for growth in a very positive way.
“Getting to know Lorri and getting to know the board of health, I realized how unique this department is. All of the various things they do and the support they have from the board of health, the supervisors and a county that is really looking to grow.”
Scott noted that one of the first big tasks at hand will be facilitating a public health needs assessment in Mills County along with the Iowa Department of Public Health.
“That will really be my focus – just making sure we get a really quality survey out and we get a really good turnout so that we can get that community feedback on areas of need or growth,” she said. “Things they would like to see from public health because we really are here to serve the residents.”
The assessment process will begin later this year and carry over into 2024.
Scott’s mother and grandmother are nurses in Montgomery County so she’s familiar with the area and the unique health-related challenges in rural communities.
“My mom is a nurse practioner at Montgomery County Memorial Hospital,” she said. “We’ve always had conversations about the differences between urban health and rural health. I think there are new challenges and things to learn.”
Scott and her husband Lucas have two children, Eli (7) and Ryker (2).