The year Jenny Krapf, LPN, was hired as the Health Department Director for Glacier County, known in the past as the Glacier County Health Nurse, was right smack in the middle of the pandemic, August of 2020.
“It was difficult, I won’t deny that,” she admits. Krapf had been the Interim Director for two months prior to that, after Carol McDivitt retired. Krapf has had a pretty incredible job experience with the Glacier County Health Department. For the last 18 months, her work with the department has been non-stop as the pandemic took over our county, state, country and world.
“Overall, I’m probably not even aware yet of the experience and skills the last two years have given me. We worked hard and we worked a lot of hours. Until we were able to find some help, Holley (DeWitt) and I just survived the days. We got as much done as we could during the day, before going home to our families and spending the evenings on the phone finishing up. My kids will probably always remember that first summer-fall. They will tell you that I was always on the phone.”
But now, it is time for a change. Krapf will be leaving Glacier County today (Jan. 12) and a week after that she will be starting her new position at Glacier Community Health Center as their Clinical Quality Improvement Specialist.
While there is much to be sad about in leaving, she is proud of all she accomplished in her time as the Health Department Director.
“I am probably most proud of the relationships that have been built throughout the county and the new programs that will be implemented soon,” she said. “If the overall health of our community is going to improve, we need our various healthcare organizations, schools, etc. to work together. While that idea seems pretty simple, we all get busy with our own duties and priorities and often times work in silos instead of collaborating to tackle our hardest issues.”
Over the course of the last 18 months, Krapf said she has worked hard to build those relationships or strengthen the ones that existed. “Of course, there is still so much room to improve and continue to build. But I am confident the Health Department will continue to work on these relationships.”
One of Krapf’s goals was to find funding to not only hire more staff, but to retain them as well. The COVID funding their department received helped with that.
“We were awarded three new grants over the last month that I am very excited about,” she shared. “Two of those grants will allow us to hire another full-time nurse to work on sexually transmitted diseases and implement a new Family Planning program. The third grant we were awarded is from the Montana Healthcare Foundation. It will launch a Tribal County Crisis Coalition that will bring together resources from law enforcement, medical and behavioral health across Glacier County and the Blackfeet Nation. The overall goal of the Coalition is to foster a system of organizational alignment in order to quickly and appropriately link people to behavioral healthcare services following a behavioral health related crisis.”
For some time, Krapf has been interested in establishing a Family Planning program, but with a limited staff and resources that had been a reality at the health department, it just was not feasible. Due to some changes made in the program, Glacier County became a viable and qualified candidate for the Family Planning program. And thanks to the grants that will fund another nurse in the department, a Family Planning program can begin.
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