UI alum, Danielle Pettit-Majewski joins Johnson County Public Health as new director

Danielle Pettit-Majewski, a UI alum and previous Washington County public health director, is concerned about rising COVID-19 cases in Johnson County.


Gabby Drees

Johnson County Public Health Director Danielle Pettit-Majewski poses outside of Johnson County Public Health on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021.

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

Danielle Pettit-Majewski believes public health departments are the first line of defense in terms of keeping the public safe. Now, she is part of that defense in Johnson County, where she serves as the new public health director for the county.

The University of Iowa alum became Johnson County Public Health’s new director on Aug. 18, filling the seat previously vacated by Dave Koch.

Pettit-Majewski, who received both her bachelor’s in biology and master’s degree in public health from the UI, said she is excited to join the department, and that the position is a great opportunity to continue her career in Iowa.  

“I obviously went to school here, I went to graduate school here, so having the opportunity to work with the individuals in this department [is something I’m looking forward to],” Pettit-Majewski said. “And also be able to collaborate with the College of Public Health, and collaborate with the University of Iowa.”

Johnson County has the highest vaccination rate in the state. Despite this, Pettit-Majewski said she is concerned about the rising number of cases the county is seeing. As of Sept. 21, Johnson County COVID-19 cases have increased by 17 percent in 14 days.

“I think about where we were a year ago, as a state, and that’s kind of the same trajectory that we’re on now,” Pettit-Majewski said.

Prior to coming to Johnson County, Pettit-Majewski served as the Washington County Public Health Director since 2013.

“My job is really to help support and implement, and also to be an advocate at the state level [and] at the national level because we really have an opportunity in Johnson County to be a leader, to move the needle for public health issues across the state,” she said.

Pettit-Majewski said her education at the UI helped her recognize that Johnson County Public Health learns from the community and is fluid in its goals.

Johnson County Public Health Educator and Public Information Officer Susan Vileta, who works with Pettit-Majewski, said Pettit-Majewski showed passion and excitement for public health in her interview for the position.

“She is very outspoken for public health,” Vileta said. “I think you’ll see her very visibly in the public.”

In an email to The Daily Iowan, Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan, liaison to Johnson County Public Health, wrote that Pettiti-Majewski’s main goal in her first few months is learning the programs and getting to know her staff.

“Danielle brings great enthusiasm and ideas to Johnson County Public Health. She is already hard at work setting the direction of public health for the next few years,” Sullivan said.  “Danielle is driven to improve the health of the people in this county, and I support her efforts.”