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A Message From Iowa CareGivers Board Chair

During uncertain and challenging times, we, residents of the state of Iowa, are fortunate to have several non-profit organizations committed to aggressively addressing a variety of individual and societal needs.  I am proud Iowa CareGivers is one of these organizations and it is my privilege to serve as chair of the Board of Directors.  

Caregiving has been part of the human experience since its beginning. In recent years, attention to caregivers -paid and unpaid - has continually increased.  It is estimated the paid caregiver workforce numbers between 60,000 – 65,000 in Iowa. We know that health and long-term services and supports (LTSS) employers across all direct care worker (DCW) settings continue to face worker shortages and high turnover. That in turn leads to a dramatic impact on DCWs themselves, their families and communities, employers, older Iowans, individuals with disabilities needing care or support and family caregivers.  The effect of these shortages is felt by all Iowans.

Iowa CareGivers exists as an independent voice serving the needs of those who work in direct care. Our  focus in 2021 will be to: provide education programs and supports for the direct care workforce and where possible include family caregivers; increase awareness and recognition of the essential role DCWs play in maintaining the health and well-being of Iowans; advocate for policies that place a high priority on more consistent and portable education and training as well as a streamlined system and infrastructure that supports this workforce; and conduct specific research needed to impact policies and/or practices pertaining to DCWs.  To accomplish these goals, we will need a strong board of directors willing to take on the challenges, a strong direct care professional council to keep us focused on critical worker concerns and additional seasoned advisors from both groups.   

The year ahead clearly provides us with multiple challenges. But with those challenges comes unlimited opportunities.  Now is the time we must focus our efforts and embrace, in creative ways, the opportunities before us.  “Excuses will always be there for us.  Opportunity won’t.” 

Sincere appreciation to all those who have joined us in recognition and support of Direct Care Workers and the vital roles they play in our society.  To those who as of yet have not, I challenge you to get engaged.  Now is the time! Direct Care Workers, consumers and our community are counting on us.



Maribel Slinde
Board Chair


Iowa CareGivers Welcomes 2 New Board Members

Iowa CareGivers is very pleased to announce that Scott Hartsook, Attorney, Hartsook Law Office and Julie McMahon, Retired, Iowa Department of Public Health join the Iowa CareGivers Board of Directors. Both embrace the Iowa CareGivers mission and bring vast experience and knowledge to our extremely hard-working Board of Directors.

From 1997 to 2018, Scott Hartsook was the Managing Attorney of the Legal Hotline for Older Iowans, a special project of Iowa Legal Aid that provides free legal advice to Iowans who are 60 or older.  Scott graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1977 and is a frequent speaker about Medicaid. He currently practices part-time in Des Moines, helping people with Medicaid and other elder law issues.

Julie Mason McMahon received her bachelor’s in science degree in Nursing from the University of Wyoming. Julie has devoted her career to public health.  Her work in public health began in Wyoming from 1969 to 1987.  Julie’s work in public health in Iowa began in 1987 and continued until her retirement in 2013 as a division director within the Iowa Department of Public Health.  In retirement, she has invested more energy into the work of Iowa Public Health Association, serves on Common Good Iowa’s Board of Directors and was a former independent contractor for Iowa CareGivers.  Julie has provided consultation focused on strategies that address issues and challenges important to the direct care workforce, i.e., public awareness, recruitment and retention, education and training, and compensation and wages.

2021 Board of Directors

Elisabeth Buck, Board Vice Chair

United Way of Central Iowa

Kim Downs, Board Secretary
Retired, Telligen
Heather Elammari 
Indian Hills Community College
Scott Hartsook, Attorney 
Hartsook Law Office
Jerry Jenkins, Jr., Board Treasurer 
Agency Owner, Farmers Insurance Group
Jim Knoepfler
Vice-President Administration
EveryStep Care and Support Services
Deb Madison-Levi
Affiliates Management Company | Iowa Credit Union League
Julie McMahon
Retired, Iowa Department of Public Health
Jim Miles-Polka,
P.E., Client Director
Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC
Josephine “Jodi” O’Donnell
Ames, Iowa
Maribel Slinde, Board Chair
Retired, WesleyLife Home and Community Services
Pat Steele
Retired, United Way of Central Iowa

2021 Board Advisors

Nancy Anderson, Advisor
Retired, Aging Resources of Central Iowa
Tom Carpenter, Advisor
Retired, Grefe & Sidney, P.L.C.
Dr. Robert Denson, Advisor
President, Des Moines Area Community College
Betty Grandquist, Advisor
Retired, Iowa Department of Elder Affairs and Iowa Family Caregiver Program
Anne Kinzel, Advisor
Iowa State University
Deanna Lehl, Advisor 
Retired, Family Nurse Practitioner
Ivan Lyddon, Advisor
Retired, Iowa Health Foundation

Charlotte Nelson, Advisor
Retired, Iowa Commission on the Status of Women

Shirley Sorenson, Advisor
Retired, Des Moines Area Community College