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Healthy Communities Wyandotte: Recommendations for a Better Future

By Caitlin McMurtry | October 25, 2011

Healthy Communities Wyandotte is a countywide initiative to involve local leaders and residents in improving the health of people in the community.

HCW got its start in 2009 when Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Joe Reardon and Joe Connor, director of the Wyandotte County Public Health Department, convened community leaders and researchers to discuss health data that ranked Wyandotte County last in the state for overall health.

In June 2010, Mayor Reardon and the Public Health Department convened agencies and organizations to discuss top health concerns. Their input, and that of county residents, formed the starting point for the HCW initiative.

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Recommendations for a Better Future

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Since November 2010, local leaders and residents have been working together to tackle the health concerns of people who live, work, attend school and operate businesses in Wyandotte County. At HCW’s highest level, the Steering Committee has met monthly to establish overarching goals and timelines and to coordinate the crafting of recommendations for a healthier community. Committee members from government, health care, education, community development, faith-based programs and nonprofit organizations form the backbone of the initiative.

More recently, five Action Teams — communications, education, environmental infrastructure, nutrition and health services — have united residents, experts and community leaders in brainstorming ideas for local improvements in each area. The recommendations they created are meant to provide a road map for how Wyandotte County leaders can address issues that have a direct impact on the well-being of people in the community.