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Two Iowa doctors launch Mask of Wellness program

Two doctors in the Iowa City area — David C. Krupp, M.D., an emergency room doctor in Iowa City and Dr. Robbie Schwenker, PharmD, a community pharmacist — have launched Mask of Wellness, a free initiative designed to provide education and tools for businesses to operate in a safe manner during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses can sign up and self-certify at, pledging that they will take three simple actions to maintain the safety of employees and patrons of their establishments: 

  1. Masks – Worn by every employee in all areas of the work environment.
  2. Hygiene – Hand and surface hygiene practiced by ALL employees in conjunction with physical distancing when possible.
  3. Health – Employees attesting to no primary COVID-19 symptoms on a daily basis.

From the website, businesses will be able to download additional graphics, content and materials to promote the safety steps their business is taking as a COVID-Conscious business, in turn attracting customers and providing comfort and confidence to patrons. The ‘Mask of Wellness’ self-certification is provided at no cost.

As restrictions are being lifted in the majority of Iowa’s counties today, Dr’s Krupp and Schwenker devised the program to promote continued responsible behavior to allow for further openings while maintaining the health of the community. They plan to expand the program nationwide to promote social, physical and economic wellness.

“This is a win-win solution, reducing the chance of employees from spreading the virus in the workplace. In turn, your customers will feel more confident choosing a business that promotes a ‘COVID-Conscious’ work environment that prioritizes the health and safety of their customers and communities,” said Dr. Krupp. “Our collaborative efforts will play a role in preventing COVID-19 recurrent episodes with impact upon al elements of society. We appreciate your help to advance this endeavor fostering the health and the wealth of our community. The steps to take are so very simple and it all starts with a mask of wellness.”

Today Dr. Krupp and Dr. Schwenker, along with team of University of Iowa pharmacy and medical students, will be give out 300 free ‘Mask of Wellness’ packets to area restaurants.

The packets contain a letter of introduction as well as flyers, door clings, and information that the establishments can post at their physical locations as well as digitally on websites and social media.

 At Clay & Milk, we want to tell stories about the many ways entrepreneurs and startups are adapting and stepping up to combat coronavirus. Fill out this form to tell us your story and we will be in touch.

Two Iowa doctors launch Mask of Wellness program | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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