Researching to Improve Health

Telehealth SesionWe're constantly seeking solutions for health challenges, but sometimes those solutions can't be found in a lab. Instead, many solutions are found in communities confronting those health issues. That's why KU Medical Center researchers are in dozens of Kansas counties looking for the cures and preventive measures that will improve the health of Kansans, a process known as community-based research.

With the help of Kansas communities, KU Medical Center researchers study where Kansans live, work and play to find solutions to critical health issues, like cancer, tobacco use, and obesity, which cost Kansas thousands of lives and millions of dollars each year. The Institute for Community Engagement provides support to those researchers in identifying communities, collecting data and reporting findings.

Select a topic below to learn more about our research on that health issue.

Cancer +
More than 12,000 Kansans are diagnosed with cancer and 5,400 die from the disease, costing Kansas $1.6 billion in direct medical costs, lost productivity and premature death every year.

Health Care Services Research +
Improving individual health means enhancing access to, and the provision of, health care services. In Kansas, more than 600 preventable medical errors and countless inefficient procedures cost health care providers and Kansans money, time and lives every year.

Mental Health +
Each year, more than 54 million Americans are diagnosed with a mental disorder. Managing and treating these disorders can improve quality of life for the person diagnosed, their loved-ones, work colleagues and others.

Obesity, Physical Activity & Nutrition +
Nearly two-thirds of Kansas adults are overweight or obese, as are a quarter of Kansas adolescents. The obesity problem costs Kansas $657 million per year in attributable medical expenses. Factoring in lost productivity would put this cost even higher.

Pediatrics +
More than 700,000 Kansas kids rely on healthy lifestyles and healthy environments to ensure academic and future success.

Tobacco Use +
Roughly 3,900 Kansans die each year from cigarette smoking and 380 die annually from secondhand smoke. Nearly 2,900 Kansas pick up the habit each year. The annual direct and indirect costs associated with tobacco use in Kansas total $927 million.


If you are staff, faculty or a student at KU Medical Center interested in learning how the Institute of Community Engagement can assist your research, please email outreach@kumc.edu.

Last modified: Feb 17, 2014
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