Finney County earns national health grant

GARDEN CITY, KS– Finney County is one of only ten counties in the country receiving a grant to study behavioral health as a way to improve the community.

After being recognized for its outstanding partnerships in the community, the Finney County Community Health Coalition was awarded $70,000 from a Michigan State University study.

“Garden City traditionally has a long history of agencies working together,” said the Coalition’s Executive Director Verna Weber. “And because of that we’re successful in determining what the community health needs are.”

To further impact the community, the study asks the coalition to focus on behavioral health.

“Behavioral health is just the way you and I behave, in a community setting, in a private setting,” said Social Scientist, Debra Bolton. “We use data to look at assets and needs in the community.”

The study will look at schools, churches, trends in physical activity and more to gauge how the people of Finney County behave, and what types of programs and initiatives they can benefit from.

“That’s what we really hope to do, is to get together a tool kit that agencies can use,” said Weber.

The toolkit should be ready by the end of 2014 and the county will use that information to better the community, hopefully creating new programs and earning more grants.

“We’re just really trying to get people to understand data and how to take away something from that data,” said Bolton.

The coalition will work closely with KSU and St. Catherine’s Hospital to gather information over the next nine months.  They plan on having all of the information available to the public through a website or online database.

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