When Political and Health Priorities Collide
No one expects a county’s overall ranking to improve overnight. “Where you are on the curve isn’t as important as which direction you’re moving,” Willems Van Dijk says. Wyandotte County was rated at or near the bottom of Kansas rankings for three years in a row and is likely to be there again when the state’s latest numbers are released this spring. Yet Mayor Reardon is hopeful that the measures he is taking will ultimately shift the course. County planners must now consider the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists as well as drivers when designing road improvements, he notes. And a newly remodeled supermarket has doubled the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that are available downtown. “There are a lot of polarizing issues in Kansas City,” he says, “but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see that doing all we can to improve the health of our community isn’t one of them.” That mapmaking visionary of epidemiology, John Snow, would be proud.