Health report identifies areas of strength, improvement in Shawnee Co.

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 9:58 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A new community health report has identified areas which Shawnee Co. could improve upon as well as health benefits in the county.

The Shawnee County Health Department announced on Wednesday, March 29, that the 2023 County Health Rankings have been released and Shawnee Co. now ranks in the lower range of counties in Kansas for Health Outcomes and in the upper middle range for Health Factors. The 2023 rankings collected data for 104 of 105 counties in Kansas.

The rankings, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, analyze elements that impact the overall health of a community. Areas ranked include lifespan, quality of life, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

SCHD said it incorporates these rankings into the local Community Health Needs Assessment process as well as in the development and analysis of the Community Health Improvement Plan. Communities also have the ability to use the rankings to find and gather support for local health improvement initiatives.

“The County Health Rankings provide a wonderful snapshot of how we compare to other counties in Kansas; highlighting that where we live, work, learn and play has an impact on our health,” said Teresa Fisher, Director of Shawnee County Health Department. “There continues to be a lot of momentum around improving the overall quality of life here in Topeka and Shawnee County as you can see with many of the improvements of our Health Factors. The Health Department will continue this work by looking for opportunities to effectively collaborate with new and existing partners in furthering the improvement of the health in our community.”

SCHD noted that the rankings found the following areas of strength in the county:

  • Access to exercise opportunities
  • Overall clinical care
    • Ratio of population to Primary Care Physicians
    • Ratio of population to Mental Health Providers
    • Mammography screening
    • Flu vaccinations
  • High school and some college completion
  • Low unemployment rates

The Health Department also said the rankings found the following areas which could be explored in the county:

  • Adult smoking
  • Adult obesity
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Air Pollution

In May, SCHD indicated it will partner with Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods to host the annual County Health Rankings: A Community Conversation to provide a breakdown of the rankings with a peek into the future to create awareness and improve the health of residents.

To see the full rankings, click HERE.