Sedgwick County...working for you

Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners

A Word in Edgewise

By Commissioner Tim Norton

April 7, 2014

Monday I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion about the learnings and impact of the County Health rankings at an event hosted by the Kansas Health Institute.  Robert St. Peter, President and CEO of the Health Institute along with Mayor of Wyandotte County Mark Holland welcomed the audience of about 70 people before the formal presentation of the results.

The panel consisted of Joe Connors, Director of Public Health of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, David Toland, Executive Director of Thrive Allen County and myself.   It was facilitated by Jim McLean, director of the KHI new service.   We answered some general questions and gave our individual reflection and interpretations of the Health ranking results on the 29 dimensions that were measured.

Sedgwick County’s results changed very little from the year before.  Generally, we use the yearly results to bench mark and reflect on the work being done in our Community Health Improvement plan.   We set out five priorities several years ago:  Access to health care, Mental health, Oral Health, Obesity and  Diabetes, and Health disparities.  The information from the Health rankings give us data on our community and the 104 other counties in Kansas.

The rankings are determined by two measures:   health outcomes and health factors.   Health outcomes refer to how healthy a community is and health factors represent what influences the health of a county.   Our health department works with a number of coalitions, such as the Visioneering Health alliance and the Health and Wellness coalition to catalyze action around policies that will create environmental change.

I am dedicated and determined to understand the underlying factors and issues that affects the population health of Sedgwick County.   Understanding this kind of information and analyzing the data to guide policy decisions, community health plan focus and possible partnerships is critical to improving  our overall community health.  

Thanks for letting me get a word in edgewise.