WHO WE ARE
The Beloit Public Health Initiative (BPHI) is an undergraduate organization that was founded in the Fall of 2011 by Ian Hedges. He wanted to utilize the time and passion of students to address the high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the Beloit community. Rates of STIs in Beloit are alarmingly high compared to the rest of Rock County and Wisconsin, and they are especially high in people ages 15-29. Because BPHI consists of a group of driven college students, we can readily relate to the mindset and challenges presented by this target population. BPHI could not exist without the support and assets of the Beloit community.
The Beloit Public Health Initiative is dedicated to improving the general health, and particularly the sexual health of the Beloit community.
The Beloit Public Health Initiative strives to serve the people of Beloit by building lasting connections with community members and organizations. In doing so, we aim to create an empowered and culturally competent environment surrounding sexual health, in which individuals can protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections and access key resources without fear of stigmatization.
In 2011, Ian Hedges founded the Beloit Public Health Initiative (BPHI) with five Beloit College students as an effort to raise awareness in the Beloit community about the impact of sexually transmitted infections and HIV. Today, BPHI serves as an outreach organization that focuses its efforts on improving the sexual health of 15-24 year olds in a culturally competent manner.
Before starting BPHI, Ian had engaged in health planning efforts in the District of Columbia and researched HIV and sexually transmitted infections with sex workers in Valparaiso, Chile. As founder and coordinator, Ian's experience in public health, advocacy, research and outreach brought BPHI to the forefront in fighting HIV and sexually transmitted infections within the Beloit community.
After leaving BPHI as its head coordinator, Ian stepped into the role of Healthy People Coordinator at the District of Columbia Department of Health, where he contributed significantly to the strategic planning efforts regarding health outcomes in the District of Columbia. He also assisted in the Department of Health’s legislative affairs in areas around LGBT health, health professional shortage areas, and end of life care. Ian then served as the Special Assistant to the CEO and Medical Director of the American Psychiatric Association and volunteered as a team leader with HIPS, a harm reduction organization dedicated to reducing the spread of HIV in the District.
In 2015, Ian moved back to the Beloit area, and is currently the Executive Director of Health Net of Rock County, Inc.