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On June 14th, LISC brought together its commmunity organizers, the Wyandotte County Health Department and our research partners, the Dotte Agency, to kick off a new initiative to study the impact of community development investments on resident health. This work expands upon the Health Impact Assessment commissioned by LISC and conducted by Dr. Rick Suminski in 2012, in which the report found that “community development agencies such as LISC have increasingly important roles to play [in promoting resident health] since the data show physical activity is promoted when neighborhoods are more walkable and have greater aesthetic value.” The data also showed that “physical activity is promoted when an individual has strong ties to others, because other people serve as a resource for accessing health care, dealing with problems, and even exercising itself.”
To gain a greater understanding of ‘strong ties’ in the neighborhoods, LISC’s NeighborhoodsNOW agencies completed a door-to- door survey of ‘resident pride’ in 2017. Now, thanks to funding from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, LISC will be evaluating community development investments in five neighborhoods in KCMO and KCK with the help of the Dotte Agency, KU’s multi-disciplinary design collaborative engaging neighborhoods to shape the built environment in order to improve public health. At the recent meeting, participants were engaged in a mapping exercise to begin to identify investments and assets in their communities that will be used as starting points for the study and to engage a broader constituency of residents.