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Public Health Sister City Program Connects Wichita To Tulsa

Alex Proimos, flickr Creative Commons

A group of health leaders and elected officials will be traveling to Tulsa in May to learn about that city’s public health department.

The visit is part of a new Public Health Sister City Program getting started in Sedgwick County.

Organizers picked Tulsa for the sister city program because it is similar in size and demographics to Wichita. The city also has an accredited public health department.

Becky Tuttle with Health ICT says the local group will learn about the Tulsa health department’s structure and core functions.

"We want to learn how their public health department and public initiatives are supported by their city and county governments," Tuttle says.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell, City Council Representative Janet Miller, and Health Department Director Adrienne Byrne-Lutz are part of the group making the trip. They’ll join local health leaders from the Medical Society of Sedgwick County, Wichita State University and others.

The site visit is the first component of the sister city program.

"We’ll also have a community gathering to be able to share what we’ve learned and how we will change the face of public health in our community because of what we have learned," Tuttle says. "We are putting all the information into a toolkit, and the toolkit can then be shared with any community within our state and then also across the nation who wants to engage in a public health sister city site visit."

Tuttle says Tulsa officials are expected to visit Sedgwick County in late summer or fall.

A grant from the Kansas Health Foundation is funding the sister city program.

A group of local health professionals created the “Coalition of Coalitions Building the Case for Public Health in Sedgwick County” campaign and organized the program.

Last summer, the Sedgwick County Commissioners cut more than $500,000 from the county health department’s 2016 budget.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

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