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Local Partners Committed to Improving Health and Wellness in Barton County

To help create a heathier, stronger community, The University of Kansas Health System Great Bend Campus is partnering with area nonprofits, health departments, schools and insurance providers to determine current health needs. The Great Bend community is encouraged to participate in open meetings to help develop an improvement plan.

“This groundbreaking public/private partnership reflects our commitment to improving the health and wellness of our community,” says John Worden, Great Bend Campus administrator. “This scope of work stays true to our mission of providing exceptional healthcare to all Kansans.

“Through collaborative community involvement and listening, we will identify priority issues and work to bridge existing gaps in healthcare delivery and resources,” Worden says.

The Barton County Community Health Assessment and Improvement Plan is being developed by the United Way of Central Kansas, Barton County Health Department, Aetna Better Health of Kansas, the University of Kansas School of Medicine and The University of Kansas Health System Great Bend Campus, with support from the Kansas Center for Rural Health.

“The Kansas Center for Rural Health is pleased to be part of the Barton County community health assessment and improvement process,” says Dr. Robert Moser, dean of the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Salina. “Rural communities face challenges at many levels when addressing community health needs and identifying how to prioritize addressing those needs.

“Improving community health will take a multisector and multidisciplinary approach to make progress,” Moser adds. “It’s important to not only prioritize interventions but to collaborate with local partners and have an ongoing evaluation process in place to monitor the impact of new programs or activities so adjustments can be made, and progress tracked.”

“We recognize that strong health outcomes come from strong communities and engaged community partners. We are pleased to partner with the Barton County community and so many incredible and engaged stakeholders to build a lasting and impactful improvement plan,” says Jane Brown, president and CEO of Aetna Better Health of Kansas. “We know working together, especially in our rural areas, is the best way to advance healthier, more resilient communities.”

Numerous local social service and medical leaders have been interviewed for their input and perspectives. In addition, the United Way of Central Kansas provided data that informed a community needs assessment completed by the Docking Institute at Fort Hays State University.

Focus groups and town halls are scheduled for the community to provide input. The public is invited to a town hall 6-7:30 p.m. November 28, 2022, in the Kansas Room (north entrance) at Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, 2920 10th St., Great Bend, Kansas. Light refreshments and appetizers will be served.

Once all the information and input have been gathered, the group will work together to develop an improvement plan and share with the community, along with action steps to address issues identified and share progress toward those goals.


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