Our 2019 health rankings: What do they mean for HCW?

It’s that time of year again!

 Every March, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings are released and we take a moment to reflect, with our many coalition partners, on HCW’s humble beginnings and the past year’s accomplishments.

 In 2009, WyCo ranked worst for health in Kansas according to the County Health Rankings. Joe Reardon, our Mayor at the time, challenged our community to act collectively to improve our dire health status. Thus, the Healthy Communities Wyandotte Coalition (HCW) was formed help us become the most improved county for health in Kansas.

 For a walk down memory lane, check out our new “Who We Are” page.

Fast forward ten years (that’s right TEN years!) – and while we are still ranked near the bottom,there’s more to our community’s story.

If you want to check out the full list and data sets, click here.*

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Lighting up the Jersey Creek Tunnel

Summer 2018

We have always known that the issues impacting our community will take a long time to change, which is why we no longer focus on how well we are doing compared to other counties. What matters more is how far our community has come from where we used to be.

 And we aren’t done yet.

Here’s how our active HCW teams are working to create a healthier WyCo:

  •  Your Tobacco Free Wyandotte Team has published a new 3-year tobacco control plan chock full of bold initiatives to continue decreasing WyCo’s adult smoking rate. Find it here: hcwyco.org/tfw

  • Your Infrastructure Action Team works to make it easier to be active by creating outdoor spaces that are safe for all users. To experience IAT-supported projects, ride along the 10th/12th Street bike lane or check out the new lighting on the Jersey Creek Trail tunnel.

  • Head over to the Policy Committee’s page to see HCW’s 2019 legislative agenda and to track all of the hard work you have done to advocate for health in WyCo.

Thank you for the work you have done to create a healthier Wyandotte County we are so thankful to be a part of this vibrant community.

The County Health Rankings are a great tool to remind us about the urgency of our work. But these rankings are complicated. They measure actual health outcomes, like how many people are in poor health or even die early. They also measure the qualities, or “factors,” of our community that make it harder for people to lead happy, healthy lives. They also show what many of us already know – that black and Latino residents experience worse health than white residents, like more children living in poverty. We know this is connected to centuries of discriminatory policies and practices that have targeted communities of color.

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Resist members met with Mayor Alvey

Summer 2018

 

Ready to do more?! Here is how you can work toward a healthier Wyandotte County today:

  •  Speak up for health! Check out the advocacy calendar for opportunities to share your thoughts with our elected officials (or even become one!)

  • Advertise FREE resources to help people beat tobacco addiction and get free NRT at participating pharmacies. Find out more at hcwyco.org/quitnow

  • Let your local government know what you’d like them to invest in, like improving parks in our community. Find the UG 2020 Budget Input Form here (submit by noon on April 5th!)

  • What would make your neighborhood a safer and more welcoming place to walk, bike, or use transit? Email jfriesen@wycokck.org to share your story!

  • Follow us on Facebook

*Interpret County Health Ranking trends with caution, methodology for many data points changes from year to year, making it difficult to fully interpret changes.

Bonus : Remember Dr. Pezzino’s discussion of WyCo’s 2018 County Health Rankings?

If I were to pick the single most worrisome element just on the health side it… would be the smoking rate - it’s a 23% smoking rate… and it’s less than half that in Johnson County… That is the rate that, as a country overall… we were experiencing decades ago like in the 1980s, early 90s… It’s like we left behind an entire population…

In March 2019, TFW was excited to find out that WyCo’s adult smoking rate dropped for the first time since 2011!

Stay tuned for more info!