The mission of the KU Work Group is: supporting community health and development through collaborative research and evaluation, teaching and training, and technical support and capacity building. The Work Group has developed widely used capabilities for community-based participatory research and for building capacity for community work, including through the Community Tool Box. Recognition of these capabilities led to official designation in 2004 as a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

IOM Obesity Evaluation Toolkit

Stephen Fawcett and Christina Holt consulted with the Institute of Medicine on creation of an IOM Obesity Evaluation Toolkit that “mashes up” resources from the Community Tool Box to support implementation.

Work Group's associate director presents Community Tool Box as a resource for supporting citizen engagement at UN event

Christina Holt, associate director of KU Work Group for Community Health and Development at the Life Span Institute, addressed the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City earlier this month. The Work Group is one of the only UN World Health Organization Collaborating Centers on community health in the United States. More...

Work Group supports community health assessment and improvement efforts

Vicki Collie-Akers and the Work Group team recently supported comprehensive community health assessment and collaborative improvement planning efforts in Douglas County and Geary County, Kansas. Learn more about how these communities deepened their understanding of local health issues and came together to develop plans for collaborative action.

KU Work Group awarded CDC REACH grant

Hispanics are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes compared to non‐Hispanic/Whites (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014), and they are 2 to 4 times more likely to experience cardiovascular disease (Cusi & Ocampo, 2011).

The KU Work Group in partnership with the Latino Health for All Coalition has been awarded a CDC Reach Grant for a project titled, “Health for All: Healthy Places that Promote Health Equity among Latinos in Kansas City, KS.” This project seeks to promote healthy behaviors and reduce risk for disparities in chronic disease by creating or strengthening community spaces and places for Latinos to access healthy foods, opportunities for physical activity, and high-quality and culturally-appropriate services for chronic disease management. Project strategies include increasing access to healthy foods at restaurants, corner stores, concession stands and vending machines, as well as community design improvements that encourage walking, biking or running for physical activity. This project builds on a more than five-year history of collaborative work to assure conditions in which Latinos can be healthy in Wyandotte County. More…

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grants $250,000 for KU's Community Tool Box

Talk about timely. In 1995, when the Internet’s popularity was soaring, the University of Kansas Work Group for Community Health and Development launched the Community Tool Box website — a free resource to help communities at home and abroad improve health and development. 

Since then, the Community Tool Box has burgeoned. The website now includes 7,000 pages of resource materials in English and in Spanish. In addition, the process of translating and culturally adapting the pages into Arabic is about half completed, and efforts are underway to translate all of the website into Portuguese, French, Chinese and Russian. More...

New leader announced for the Work Group

Vincent Francisco has been selected to oversee the leadership team at the KU Work Group for Community Health and Development, one of 14 affiliated research centers of the University of Kansas Life Span Institute. He will also hold the Kansas Health Foundation Professorship in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He will assume both positions upon the retirement of Work Group founding director Stephen Fawcett on Aug. 14. More...

Research team helps WHO make sense of Ebola response efforts

In the midst of the chaos that is the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, researchers from the KU Work Group are partnering with their colleagues in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Regional Office. Together, they are developing case studies to help understand what has worked in those areas of Liberia where the spread of the Ebola virus disease has waned.

“We will use the case studies to better understand what activities and interventions are associated with reductions in new cases of Ebola, because in a disaster environment, it is very difficult to make sense of what is going on, and to what effect,” said Stephen Fawcett, Kansas Health Foundation Distinguished Professor and the center's director. More...
Related: Lawrence Business Magazine article

Work Group researcher wins early-career award

Jomella Watson-Thompson, assistant professor in applied behavioral science and associate director for the KU Work Group for Community Health and Development, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement for Early Career Faculty.

The Lynton Award, given annually by the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, recognizes one pre-tenure or early-career faculty member who connects teaching, research, and service to community engagement. More...

KU Work Group, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department launch Academic Health Department

The University of Kansas Work Group on Community Health and Development and the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department have launched an Academic Health Department, the first in Kansas and one of only a few in the country.

The KU Work Group is a longstanding partner with the Health Department, most recently in facilitating the recent Comprehensive Community Health Assessment, but the Academic Health Department takes the collaboration a step further. “We hope to ultimately create a shared research agenda with the Health Department,” said Vicki Collie-Akers, assistant research professor, who leads the KU effort, “to merge our goals with theirs.” More…

Evaluation of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's Together on Diabetes Initiative

The KU Work Group serves as the national evaluators for the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's Together on Diabetes initiative, a $100 million, 5-year initiative which targets adults in the United States that are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes. The KU Work Group developed a customized Online Documentation and Support System to provide the Foundation and its Together on Diabetes grantees with real-time information about how projects are progressing toward their goals and objectives. The Work Group supports grantees and leaders of the Together on Diabetes initiative to reflect on the progress being made, identify and consider changes occurring in the community, and determine what impact the changes may have and what can be adjusted and improved. Program evaluations, success stories, and lessons learned will be communicated through grantee reports, case study books, presentations and publications. More...

KU Work Group engaged in national study of childhood obesity prevention programs

The KU Work Group serves as a scientific partner in the National Study of Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs. Funded by several NIH Institutes, CDC, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this five-year study is examining what works in community-level efforts to prevent childhood obesity. More...

Learn more about the Tool Box.
RT @leadershipvicbc : How do you evaluate a community initiative? Some great tools at via @KUWorkGroup

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