Janesville68.6°

Cain to lead health department

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ANN MARIE AMES
March 11, 2009
— Karen Cain might have some learning to do when it comes to well water testing.

But she's got the influenza clinic part down pat.


Cain, the Rock County nursing director, has been appointed as the county's health officer. The county board is expected to approve the appointment Thursday.


As health officer, Cain will oversee the three branches of the health department: nursing, environmental health and health education, she said.


She looks forward to the challenge of the new position.


"I'm going to have a learning curve, particularly in environmental health," Cain said.


One of Cain's goals is to teach the public about how much the county's health department does.


"We have such a talented and professional staff," Cain said. "Most people don't think about us until there's a catastrophe. Then it becomes public health's problem."


The department provides a variety of services, including home visits for at-risk moms and babies, radon testing and education about health topics such as preventing falls.


Cain moved to Janesville in 1986 to take a position as a nursing supervisor. In 2001, she left that job and commuted to Rockford, Ill., where she taught at St. Anthony College of Nursing.


In 2006, she returned to Rock County as a nursing director.


Cain, a native of Stacyville, Iowa, has a bachelor's degree in nursing from Iowa University, a master's degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota and a post-master's certificate from Indiana University, she said.


Cain is slated to replace Dr. Joseph Schurhammer, who resigned in September. Schurhammer's salary was $88,400, according to the Rock County Human Resources Department records.


Cain's salary will be $86,600, according to county records.



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