For Immediate Release
June 8, 2012

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Voices for Health Equity Project Announces Winners

First Video Posted to CHE Website, Other Winners Added Biweekly

TOPEKA, Kan. – In early February, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Center for Health Equity (CHE) invited communities to share their stories about what they are doing to reduce health disparities. The Voices for Health Equity project is the first in a series of “storytelling” events that will help the Center for Health Equity showcase how local communities identify health disparities and describe what is being done to reduce differences in health status and promote equal opportunities for better health.

Some groups within communities have a greater burden of disease and poorer health than others. Health disparities are caused, in part, by the conditions in which we live, learn, work and play. Poverty, lack of health care, pollution, unsafe streets and violence are some of the things which impact the health of many Kansans because they get in the way of making choices for better health. CHE’s mission is to promote and improve the health status of all Kansans through shared leadership and collaboration across the public health system in order to reduce identified and emerging health disparities among racial, ethnic, tribal and underserved populations.

“Center for Health Equity has collected stories about what Kansas communities are doing to promote health equity because stories help us weave together cultures, generations and time,” said Aiko Allen, Director of the Center for Health Equity. “The act of preserving and sharing stories helps us to be stronger individuals, families and communities because they are real reminders of the joys and hardships and how we attain healing and balance in the midst of it all.”

Winners of the first cycle of KDHE’s Voices for Health Equity project:

Each winning organization, listed above, will become digital stories featured on the Center for Health Equity website throughout the summer. This week, we feature the Heartland Community Health Center (HCHC) in Lawrence. HCHC identifies diabetes as a health disparity in their community. The digital story tells how diabetes affects an individual and family in Lawrence as well as how the clinic is engaged in promoting equity in diabetes prevention and treatment for community residents. To see the winning video go to www.healthequityks.org.