The health of Kansas families and communities requires investments in our children. That’s the idea behind Project LAUNCH, a program managed by the University of Kansas that’s helping Finney County children reach their potential.
Twenty years ago, a patient in Garden City or Salina might have faced hours of travel to Wichita for specialized medical care — or perhaps an even longer commute to Kansas City.
But today, technology has helped minimize travel by enabling telemedicine, where video conferencing equipment and other instruments can submit data electronically to providers hundreds of miles away. The University of Kansas Medical Center began working with these tools in 1991, making Kansas one of the first states with telemedicine.
Finney County was one of the Kansas hotspots for underage drinking in 2007. More than one-third of teens reported having a drink in the previous month, and nearly 19 percent admitted to binge drinking.
Since then, Finney County and 13 other Kansas counties have taken steps to counter the trend, and the University of Kansas’ Work Group for Community Health & Development was a partner from the start.
As Kansas faces continuing declines in groundwater, the University of Kansas has created a powerful new tool for those interested in the state’s crucially important High Plains aquifer system.
The Kansas Geological Survey at KU has launched the High Plains Aquifer Atlas, an interactive atlas featuring more than 70 maps — several animated or interactive — that can be used to investigate topics such as changes in groundwater level, water use and water rights, and climatic conditions.
Responding to the state’s increasing Somali-speaking population, the University of Kansas is now one of the nation’s first universities to offer Somali language training.
Matt Enyart and Kris Matthews recently spent 18 months traveling the state to train mental health professionals in Positive Behavior Support (PBS). Now, the two University of Kansas researchers are delivering a “PBS-to-Go Box” to 21 community mental health centers so practitioners can help children across Kansas.
PBS is an evidence-based practice that changes behavior and the environment where it happens — in this case, the challenging behavior of high-risk, high-needs kids who often end up in psychiatric residential treatment facilities.
For individuals with disabilities, assistive technology can be essential to living as they choose. But technology — wheelchairs, voice-to-text programs, or vehicle modifications, for example — can be difficult to obtain and very expensive.
Social workers provide crucial services in various settings, including community agencies, hospitals, and schools. But of the nearly 4,000 social workers in Kansas with the credentials to become administrators, clinicians, or supervisors, less than 1 percent live west of Wichita.