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Sedgwick Co. Group Releases Community Health Survey Results

Deborah Shaar
Medical Society of Sedgwick County Executive Director Jon Rosell

A group of health professionals is taking the lead on developing Sedgwick County’s next Community Health Improvement Plan.

The first step came on Friday when the group released the findings from health surveys conducted last year.

The Health Alliance group presented an overview of the results from health assessments completed by county residents and leaders of area health systems and agencies.

"We’re using not just someone’s opinion, but we’re using real data to help shape the actions and directions that we are going to be pursuing in the next several years. It’s very important," says Jon Rosell, executive director of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County.

He says the information collected from the health assessments will be combined with community input to determine the major health problems in the county.

Some areas of concern include access to health care, lack of funding for the public health department and how unemployment and violent crime factor into the health of the community.

“It gives us an opportunity to be able to prioritize where we spend our time, energy and resources," Rosell says. "When we all do that in a collaborative and cooperative way across the community we really increase the opportunity to make measurable improvements in the health of our community.”

The group plans to release the new Community Health Improvement Plan in July.

About 60 people attended the meeting on Friday, including local doctors, leaders of health agencies, city council members and a representative from the mayor’s office.

The Health Alliance took over the community health assessment process and the Community Health Improvement Plan after the Sedgwick County Health Department lost the lead position for the program due to budget cuts.

Rosell says the community needs to have more discussion on a fundamental question that he calls a core issue.

“What is the role of our city and county government in promoting and protecting of its citizens? I think there’s a very significant role that both of those entities should be playing," he says.

Of the four assessments completed, the results from the health system assessment identified four areas of concern:

  • Access to health care
  • Lack of funding for primary education
  • Lack of funding for the public health system
  • Environmental support for positive health behavior

Community partners such as Via Christi, the United Way of the Plains, WSU and KU School of Medicine-Wichita formed a steering committee to guide the health assessment process.
The county-wide health assessments are done once every three years.

The 2013-2015 Community Health Improvement Plan focused on five priorities:

  • Access to health care
  • Obesity and diabetes 
  • Oral health
  • Mental health
  • Health disparities.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.