The Visioneering Wichita Health Alliance will present five priorities for "actionship" this morning, designed to improve the overall health of the community.
The five are access, obesity and diabetes, mental health, oral health, and health disparities.
The alliance's plan doesn't suggest specific steps but does note "opportunities for community action" and how the alliance will be involved. It will be presented at 8 a.m. at the Wichita Area Association of Realtors, 170 W. Dewey.
The Visioneering Wichita Health Alliance is one of 14 created as a result of the 2004 Visioneering Wichita process.
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By coming up with the health priorities, the alliance and other groups can start setting goals and creating a plan of action, said Jon Rolph, chairman of Visioneering Wichita.
"Something magical happens when different groups in our community collaborate on these issues," Rolph said. "There's just a higher return than when people work on it individually."
The alliance's plan focuses on "actionship," which it says "combines action and leadership." It notes that health disparities are part of all the other priorities and pledges support for four goals:
* Access to primary care providers who provide consistent, quality and affordable care.
The number of people without insurance has increased because of layoffs; even with national health care changes, an estimated 20,000 area residents won't be able to qualify for or afford insurance, the plan says.
It says it will work to support three existing efforts to increase access: a coalition of "safety net" clinics, a pilot program looking at ways to fund health coverage and a health information exchange.
* Increased physical activity and healthy eating, in workplaces, schools and elsewhere.
Increasing rates of obesity and decreasing rates of physical activity and healthy eating strain the health care system, the plan says.
It says the alliance will support the work of the Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita, the Wichita Business Coalition on Health Care and others to increase awareness of workplace wellness programs; will support policies that improve access to walking and bicycling; and will work with others to increase physical activity and healthy eating.
* Efforts that reduce the stigma of mental health problems and connect citizens to existing resources.
Mental health problems increase workplace absenteeism, affect academic performance and put pressure on emergency medical services and police departments, the plan says.
It says the alliance endorses the concept of a Mental Health Literacy Coalition of current providers to promote education about the signs and symptoms of mental illness and early intervention. It also says the alliance will help identify opportunities to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
* Community efforts to improve oral health.
Poor oral health is related to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other health conditions, and tooth decay is a leading cause of illness in children, the plan says.
It says the alliance will help the Wichita-Sedgwick County Oral Health Coalition build a broad community partnership to improve oral health, "including potentially pursuing a water fluoridation strategy."