There are many factors that shape health, including education, economic status and access to essential services, such as affordable housing and child care.
On Oct. 30, 2023, the United Way of Kaw Valley in collaboration with Communities Supporting Early Literacy community partners hosted a dynamic in-person event to reflect on these factors and drive meaningful conversation about health in Shawnee County. The Data Walk featured eight posters with local data about health regarding these factors and the importance of improving community health.
Improving these factors often requires a multifaceted approach that begins with mobilizing the community to act. During the Data Walk, participants met with other community leaders and offered new and challenging interpretations of the data. Attendees considered radical transformation that gets at the root of complex issues in Shawnee County. The group heard from organizers and supporters of the event, including Ed O’Malley, President and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation, who facilitated the event.
This was the second Data Walk in Kansas. The first was held in Cowley County and looked at issues surrounding child health. Data and analysis were provided by the Kansas Health Institute, which is also supported by KHF.
Support and funding for the Data Walk was provided by United Way of Kaw Valley, the Kansas Health Foundation and Topeka Community Foundation. The Kansas Health Institute conducted data analysis and developed the content for the Data Walk posters. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas State Department of Education and Child Care Aware Kansas also played important roles in providing data for the visual displays.