Wichita Business Journal Data Walk: Rallying the Business Community Around Health Improvement

4 Min Read

Dec 04, 2023

By

Kansas Health Institute

Photo of group discussing data.

Local employers serve a vital role in the health of communities. People who work are more likely to have positive health outcomes, particularly when employed by businesses that prioritize the health and safety of their employees. Poor community health can increase health care costs, increase sick days, lower productivity and competitiveness and compromise business success and growth. Many factors shape health, including education, economic status and access to essential services, such as child care. Lasting impacts of inequitable historical policies, such as segregation, redlining, restrictive covenants and exclusionary zoning policies, have created inequitable opportunities to build wealth, particularly for Black community members.

On Dec. 1, 2023, the Wichita Business Journal, as part of their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit, hosted a dynamic in-person event to reflect on these factors and to rally the business community around health improvement. 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 community members, business leaders and other stakeholders to act. During the Data Walk, participants met with other community and business leaders and offered new and challenging interpretations of the data as well as unique ideas to get at the root causes of these complex issues in Wichita.  The group heard from organizers and supporters of the event, including Ed O’Malley, President and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation, who was the keynote speaker.

The Kansas Health Foundation and Kansas Leadership Center provided funding and support for the event. The Kansas Health Institute conducted data analysis and developed the content for the Data Walk posters.

This was the third Data Walk in Kansas. The first was held in Cowley County and the second was in Shawnee County.

Individual Wichita Business Journal Data Walk posters are available in the Documents & Downloads section.

Text versions of the posters for use with screen readers are available here

 

The Data Walk was an effective and engaging way to tell the story of many factors that shape health, including education, economic status and access to essential services, such as child care. During Wichita Business Journal’s Data Walk, participants in small groups viewed data posters and discussed underlying issues and creative policy and system-focused solutions.

Photo of Wichita Business Journal Data Walk participants.

Ed O’Malley, President and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation, was the keynote speaker.

Photo of Ed O'Malley

The participants also had an opportunity to hear from panelists Neha Batawala, Kansas Leadership Center; Jenni Heartfield, 6 Meridian;  Payton Morgan, Spirit Aerosystems; Marcus Phox, 6 Meridian; and Joseph Shepard, Lead for America.

Photo Panelists

Support and funding for the Data Walk was provided by the Kansas Health Foundation and the Kansas Leadership Center.

 

Photo of group discussing data at Wichita Business journal Data Walk

About Kansas Health Institute

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.

Learn More About KHI