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Health

Leadership Void Causes Delay In Sedgwick County’s Health Assessment Process

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Abigail Wilson
/
KMUW

A group of health professionals is facing new challenges as it takes on work that used to be done by the Sedgwick County Health Department.

Health Alliance and its community partners are in the process of putting together a new Community Health Improvement Plan.

The Sedgwick County Health Department used to lead the process and provide the infrastructure, but due to budget cuts, it no longer has full-time staff designated for the job. The county completed a community-wide health survey last fall, and released the data to the Health Alliance group and its community health partners.

The data collected in those surveys helps determine the health priorities in the community and leads to the Community Health Improvement Plan, which is completed every three years and serves a roadmap for the major health issues facing county residents.

Chair of Health Alliance Becky Tuttle says the community health partners--including Via Christi, the United Way of the Plains, Wichita State University, and KU School of Medicine-Wichita--are committed to continuing this public health work, but are having a tough time filling the leadership void left by the county.

"Instead of having it be just a couple folks’ positions that was a really coordinated effort, now we’re going to have to figure out how we spread the work around the community and it’s going to be a challenge, but together we’ll make it happen," she says.

The group cancelled a meeting set for this week because more work still needs to be completed before the Community Health Improvement Plan can be developed.

The new plan was supposed to be launched in July. Tuttle now expects the roll-out to come at a later date.

“It’s vital that we have a plan so we now where we started, we know where we want to go, and we know that our actionable items are in a coordinated effort," she says.

The current plan expired at the end of 2015.

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Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

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