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Researching to Improve Health

We are 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.

About Our Research Initiatives

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.

More than 13,000 Kansans are diagnosed with cancer and approximately 5,300 die from the disease, costing Kansas $2 billion in direct medical costs, lost productivity and premature death every year. (Source: Kansas Cancer Partnership)

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

Mental Health
Nearly 1 in 5 Americans has experienced mental illness in the past year. Managing and treating these disorders can improve quality of life for the person diagnosed, their loved-ones, work colleagues and others. (Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Obesity, Physical Activity and Nutrition
Nearly two-thirds of Kansas adults are overweight or obese, as are nearly a quarter of Kansas adolescents. The obesity problem costs Kansas more than $1.3 billion per year in attributable medical expenses. Factoring in lost productivity would put this cost even higher. (Source: KDHE report)

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

Tobacco Use
Roughly 4,400 Kansans die each year from cigarette smoking and 400 die annually from secondhand smoke. Some 2,900 Kansans under 18 pick up the habit each year. The annual direct and indirect costs associated with tobacco use in Kansas total more than $2 billion. (Source: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids)


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, email us.

Institute for Community Engagement

University of Kansas Medical Center
Institute for Community Engagement

Mailstop 3013
3901 Rainbow Boulevard

Kansas City, KS 66160