Study finds significant differences in health care in Wyandotte County neighborhoods

By Mary Rupert, Wyandotte Daily

A multi-year study of Wyandotte County health has found that there is a significant difference in the level of health care depending on where residents live.

The Community Health Council of Wyandotte County and the REACH Healthcare Foundation commissioned the study, which was conducted by the Kirwan Institute of Ohio State University. Other support came from the Wyandotte Health Foundation and Kansas Health Foundation.

For several years, Wyandotte County has ranked either at the bottom or near the bottom of counties in the state of Kansas on the Robert Wood Johnson’s annual survey of health. According to the CHC, the Kirwan study addresses the “why” of being at the bottom of the health rankings. The Kirwan study says there is probably a link between social factors such as poverty and race, and the low health rankings.

For example, the study stated life expectancy was 20 years less in some eastern Kansas City, Kan., neighborhoods, and the infant mortality rate was 11.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in predominantly black neighborhoods, about twice that of other neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods with limited incomes also had poor health outcomes, the Kirwan study found. These neighborhoods also had higher use of hospital emergency rooms and had more patients who had to return to the hospital after being released from it, according to the study.

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The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established in 2003 as a center for interdisciplinary research at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.