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New Kansas Study Finds Inequality, Racial Disparity, Redlining and Infant Mortality

H.E.A.T: NEW 3 YEAR STUDY SHOWS INEQUALITY IN WYANDOTTE COUNTY, KANSAS Socioeconomic Limitations: Race, Redlining, Infant Mortality, Lead Poisoning, Length of Life and Healthcare Access


Kansas City, KS -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/06/2016 --A new study released by the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County (CHC) entitled H.E.A.T (Health Equity Action Transformation) will reveal problems related to health and health outcomes, race, poverty and multiple other socioeconomic limitations in Wyandotte County. The study, in cooperation with the REACH Healthcare Foundation, was performed by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, The Ohio State University. This report dives into the causes of high infant mortality rates and problems associated with poor access to affordable housing and routine health care providers, as well as historical records related to zoning and real estate issues like redlining. (Redlining is the practice of arbitrarily denying or limiting financial services to specific neighborhoods, generally because its residents are people of color or are poor) H.E.A.T also reveals why many are suffering from chronic heart disease and lead poisoning. The full report as well as videos of the study results are available to the public at

Going beyond health outcomes, the study materials provide insight into how and why these health outcomes can be improved through systemic changes, community involvement and engagement.

Key findings include:

There are 8 vulnerable populations in Wyandotte County, 30-45% of those of greatest concern are children.

Redlining and Opportunity Mapping: Historical maps and documents provide evidence of long term neighborhood disinvestment rooted in discriminatory housing policy.

Predominantly black neighborhoods exhibited the highest infant mortality rate (IMR) of 11.6 infant deaths per 1000 live births, more than double the IMR of predominantly white neighborhoods (4.9) and Hispanic neighborhoods (8.2). The Black IMR in Kansas has been more than twice that for whites over the last 20 years.

Length of life varies dramatically from one party of Wyandotte County to another. In many central Kansas City neighborhoods, the average age at death ranges from 59 to 62 years. In neighborhoods a few miles west, the average age at deaths jumps from 71 to 81 years.

Access to quality healthcare is a challenge: more than 74% of patients live between 5 to 15-minute drive time from the closest hospital. While to many, that seems like a drivable distance, considerable numbers of them don't have access to a vehicle.

Nearly half of Wyandotte County's residential parcels, through a combination of age and low assessed value, hold the potential for numerous health risks, one being lead poisoning due to presence of lead based paint.

"Wyandotte County Kansas has consistently ranked last out of 105 counties in Kansas for social determinants of health, we have one of the highest fetal infant mortality rates in the nation and the 12th highest murder rate," said Jerry Jones, executive director of the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County. "We wanted to know why, and what we found is startling. The answers lie within the pages of the H.E.A.T Report. I hope it makes people think," Jones added. The Health Equity Action Transformation (H.E.A.T.) project is the culmination of curiosity and commitment of the many partners who have worked tirelessly over the past three years to answer the question "why", and to provide a multi-view perspective of the health opportunities that exist (and where they do not exist) for the residents of Wyandotte County.

About CHC
CHC is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 community health collaborative of hospitals, safety net clinics, federally-qualified health clinics (FQHCs), mental health providers, public health departments, academic research institutions and health care funding organizations. CHC member institutions support the work of the organization on a pre-determined pledge that is renewed each fiscal year.

For more information, please contact Donna Young, Project Manager, at 913-980-8503 or