Community members are encouraged to post their health-related success stories to a new website launched Thursday by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and Kansas University Work Group for Community Health and Development.
At healthydouglascounty.org, users can track how well the county is doing toward meeting the objectives outlined in the 2013 community health plan, Roadmap to a Healthier Douglas County. Those five goals are to increase access to health services, healthy food options, access to mental health care, physical activity and job opportunities.
Users are asked to share what they've done to promote those goals. Examples include establishing a new walking trail, changes in vending machine polices, offering mental health first aid classes, expanding hours at doctors' offices and providing job training.
“We encourage everyone in Douglas County — organizations and individuals — to be part of this process by sharing their stories on the website,” said Dan Partridge, director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. “The broader the participation, the richer the data and the more we will understand the true impact of our collective efforts to improve our health.”
The site was developed in collaboration with the community health plan steering committee, which includes representatives from Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Douglas County Community Foundation, United Way of Douglas County, Heartland Community Health Center, Kansas State Research and Extension of Douglas County and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.
“This is a powerful tool to evaluate community change,” said Vicki Collie-Akers, associate director of health promotion research at the KU Work Group for Community Health and Development. “Healthydouglascounty.org is based on a platform developed by the KU Work Group that is used in communities around the world. We are excited to be able to put this tool to use in our own backyard.”