Shawnee Co. seeing improvement in 2023 County Health Ranking

The 2023 county health rankings are out for Kansas, and experts in Shawnee County say overall health is improving.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 11:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The 2023 county health rankings are out for Kansas, and experts in Shawnee County say overall health is improving.

With data collected from 104 counties in Kansas, this year’s data shows Shawnee county ranked in the lower range of counties in Kansas for health outcomes at 79 and in the upper-middle range for health factors at 45.

“So health outcomes really look at the quality of life and length of life here in our community and so that’s where our ranking did dip a little bit but however, it’s nice to see that a majority of measures that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) actually measures that look at health outcomes, we actually either improved or stayed the same so what that means for our community is we’re still making progress,” says Craig Barnes, Division Manager for Shawnee Co. Health Dept.

That 45th ranking is the highest Shawnee County has received in over a decade.

“I think that’s a major kudos to the community health partnerships that are happening in this community looking at strategic interventions to improve the quality of life. Our health behaviors is in the top 20 rankings for the state of Kansas and that is the first time that has ever happened. So I think that again is a kudos of the great work that is happening in our community and so subsequently when you see health factors increase and improve subsequently then you see health outcomes improve afterward,” says Barnes.

While adult obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, and adult smoking are areas that still need more improvement, flu vaccinations and the ratio of primary care physicians are moving in a positive direction.

Clinical care is what we score extremely high in for the county health rankings. We have great clinical services here in our community, and access to clinical services. We have two great regional hospitals here in our community, we have a qualified health center so regardless of your status in the community whether you are low-income or high-income clinical care is readily available in our community,” says Barnes.

Barnes says the rankings highlight that where we live, work and play has an impact on our health.

“One of the really important things to realize when it comes to improving the health of the community is that the work cannot be done alone and so it’s not just the work of the health department, it’s not just the work of the hospitals, but it’s the work of everybody,” says Barnes.

To see the complete list of county health rankings click here.