Improving health and well-being is a top priority for communities across Kansas. One innovative example of how Kansas counties can mobilize community members to improve health comes from Cowley County.
Health is shaped by many factors, including type of job, economic status, level of education and access to healthy foods and transportation. The availability of data, evidence, guidance and stories has further broadened understanding about health in communities. Improving the factors that shape health often requires a multifaceted approach that involves mobilizing the community to act, considering the impacts of policies on health, working across sectors and elevating voices of individuals with lived experience.
On November 29, 2022, Legacy, A Regional Community Foundation in Cowley County, in collaboration with RISE Cowley and USD 470 Early Literacy Initiative, hosted an innovative and groundbreaking Data Walk event to engage community partners, including frontline service providers, nonprofit directors, city/county/state officials, school district officials, private philanthropies and passionate community leaders, in a meaningful conversation about improving the health of children in their community.
The Data Walk was an effective and engaging way to tell the story of children’s health by using data. During Cowley County’s Data Walk, participants in small groups walked around a room, viewed data posters, and discussed underlining issues and creative policy and system-focused solutions. The participants also had an opportunity to hear reflections from the full group, facilitated by Ed O’Malley, President & CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation.
The Kansas Health Institute worked closely with Legacy leadership to conduct data analysis and design of the Data Walk posters. The following organizations provided funding and support for the event: Kansas Health Foundation, Pathways to a Healthy Kansas — an initiative by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Kansas Association of Community Foundations and the Charles S. Mott Foundation.
To learn more about this initiative, please visit Legacy Foundation – Cowley Kids DATA.