March 14, 2013

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Kansas Health Matters

Kansas Health Matters Website Receives National Achievement Award

Eight-Agency Partnership Honored for Online Community Health Resource

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Health Matters website – a comprehensive online source of state-specific data and community health improvement resources – was selected to receive a Healthy Communities Institute Achievement Award. Kansas Health Matters was one of three winners, chosen from 22 national applicants, who received the award Wednesday, March 13, at the Association for Community Health Improvement’s national conference in St. Louis, Mo.

The Kansas Health Matters website is the collaborative effort of eight agencies called the Kansas Partnership for Improving Community Health (Kan-PICH). Since the launch of Kan-PICH in 2011, the partner organizations have worked together to create the website and promote it as a resource for local health departments, hospitals, policymakers, community organizations and others.

“The Healthy Communities Institute works with agencies and collaboratives in over 30 states,” said Deryk Van Brunt, CEO of the Healthy Communities Institute in Berkeley, Calif. “Each year HCI selects one of our Healthy Community Network (HCN) sites for national recognition as a leader in using data-driven systems and evidence-based promising practices to improve health. This year Kan-PICH took first place by establishing a statewide collaboration committed to improving the health of Kansans.”

The Kan-PICH partner organizations are the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved, Kansas Association of Local Health Departments, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Health Foundation, Kansas Health Institute, Kansas Hospital Association, United Way of the Plains and University of Kansas Work Group for Community Health and Development.

The Kansas Health Matters website is intended to help hospitals, health departments, community members and policymakers learn about the health of the community and how to improve it. The website provides local health data, resources, promising best practices, news articles and information about events related to important community health issues. Kansas Health Matters aims to support the development of community health assessments and community health improvement plans by hospitals and local health departments, but its content also is relevant for anyone interested in how to assess and improve the health of communities.

“The Kansas Health Matters website is the product of a unique public-private partnership,” said Robert F. St. Peter, M.D., President and CEO of the Kansas Health Institute. “It serves as a comprehensive resource for community health and provides more than just the data – it encourages meaningful work at the local, regional and state levels.”

“Kan-PICH’s leadership was innovative by giving every community in Kansas access to the latest health and quality of life metrics for their community and providing concrete steps (like the Community Tool Box) and evidence-based practices to help them build effective and sustainable interventions. HCI is proud to be a partner with Kan-PICH and looks forward to helping evaluate the impact of this excellent work in the years to come,” said Brunt.

In order to increase awareness of the Kansas Health Matters website among health department and hospital employees, Kan-PICH members incorporated website training into a number of current initiatives, including assistance for community health assessments. Additionally, local and state officials have been encouraged to use the website to increase evidence-based policymaking in Kansas.

“Kansas Health Matters has proven its value to local health officials and other professional groups throughout the state who have used the tool in gaining a better understanding of the health of their communities,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “The information on this website can help drive decisions and assist with collaboration in a variety of ways. The staff responsible for the work to launch, and now maintain, the site are well deserving of this honor.”

Kan-PICH is committed to the continued quality of the website through the use of survey information obtained from users of the website. The survey results and comments will guide further improvements and enhance the ease and value for the general public and those stakeholders working to improve the health and quality of life in their community.

“This website is a valuable tool, not only for hospitals and health departments, but for community leaders as well,” said Tom Bell, President and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association. “Kansas Health Matters will help anyone looking to identify and understand the health indicators in their community, as well as provide them with tools and resources to support health improvement efforts.”

The Kansas Health Matters website address is