A new Community Health Improvement Plan for Sedgwick County will be implemented in January.
The Community Health Improvement Plan, or CHIP, provides a list of long-term strategies to address priority health issues in the community. Health concerns such as infant mortality and access to clinical care were identified through a countywide assessment.
Becky Tuttle, chairwoman of Health Alliance, says the plan will help guide public health policies and actions over the next three years.
"We tried to take steps to make sure that when we were developing the Community Health Improvement Plan, we engaged as many partners as we could so that we could identify what was already happening and how we could continue to support and develop that work," Tuttle says. "In some cases, it is new work and things that we haven’t really addressed before."
Dozens of health advocates met over the past nine months to analyze health data and develop the plan.
"Some things we did identify. Diabetes and obesity always kind of rise to the top, and some of those issues; also mental health issues; also tobacco, which was not in our previous Community Health Improvement Plan," Tuttle says. "Also infant mortality was another issue that really rose to the top that wasn’t in the plan before."
To address infant mortality, the plan recommends ensuring all families have a safety-approved crib upon hospital discharge as a way to reduce the rate of sleep-related infant deaths.
The Health Alliance was a driving force behind the 2017-2019 CHIP for Sedgwick County. The group collaborated with community partners such as the Center for Public Health Initiatives at Wichita State University, Health ICT, The University of Kansas School of Medicine – Wichita, Medical Society of Sedgwick County, National Alliance on Mental Illness – Wichita, United Way of the Plains, and VIA Christi Health.
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