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Public Policy Issue Forum on Broadband

Broadband Forum

April 30, 2021

I recently took part in the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s April Public Policy Issue Forum on Broadband. Along with my fellow panelists, we discussed the broadband divide and the effort to expand high-speed internet to underserved areas of our state. Like past Public Policy Issue Forums, our goal was education – discussing what the digital divide is and how broadband expansion can help. During this latest forum, I was joined by:

Bridging the digital divide through broadband expansion to rural and urban areas is not only a strategic priority for The Partnership, but an important issue for UnityPoint Health.

Bridging the Digital Divide

For many Iowans, broadband access is a key gateway for accessing care, especially when it comes to telehealth services. At UnityPoint Health, we have patients all across Iowa, in both urban and rural settings and ensuring all of them have access to the healthcare they need is critical. One specific example that stands out to me is the nationwide and statewide shortages of neurologists and psychiatrists. With broadband, we’re able to use technology like telehealth to bring these much-needed services directly to our patients who need it. Access to broadband is an important step to achieving health equity and putting all of us, regardless of whether we live in an urban, suburban or rural community, on more equal footing.

In addition to telehealth, the other panelists and myself discussed the importance of broadband not just across the business community, but in schools and more, as well as predictions for the future and technology infrastructure in Iowa.

You can watch the entire April 20 webinar below:


Read more about the Public Policy Issue Forum on Broadband and find future Public Policy Issue Forum dates here. The next one will take place Tuesday, June 15.

You can read about the February Public Policy Issue on Child Care here.

The Partnership's Public Policy team engages with local, state and federal officials to create public policy that generates economic growth, business prosperity and talent development in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Partnership is a nonpartisan organization.

Laura Smith

Laura Smith is chief information officer, senior vice president at UnityPoint Health. Previously, she held the role of vice president, chief information officer. She serves on the board of the Technology Association of Iowa.