Academic Health Department

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

Benefits
The Academic Health Department is an academic-practice collaboration, which effectively pools assets of both institutions. The Health Department benefits from the knowledge and expertise that KU research provides; meanwhile, KU faculty and students are able to put their research into practice at the Health Department. The goal is to address the basic conditions that affect the health of the community:
  • Access to health services
  • Mental health
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Poverty
Community Health Forum
Pictured: Vicki Collie-Akers, faculty liaison for the Academic Health Department, talks about the community health plan during a community meeting at the Health Department.

Responsibilities


Vicki Collie-Akers, associate director of health promotion research at the KU Work Group for Community Health and Development, serves as the faculty liaison for the Academic Health Department. The Academic Health Department’s work includes:
  • Establishing a shared research agenda
  • Increasing support for participatory research on health issues in Douglas County
  • Supporting the implementation and evaluation of Douglas County’s first community health plan, Roadmap to a Healthier Douglas County (PDF), and working on the second community health plan.
  • Connect staff and students to meaningful learning and professional development opportunities

Accomplishments


  • Completed an assessment of barriers to active transport for older adults
  • Supported the successful application to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resulting in a funded Partnerships in Community Health grant
  • Completed a yearlong project with the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications to better understand branding of the Health Department
  • Conducted a performance management project to improve accessibility of clinic services with the Applied Behavior Science Department
  • Comprehensive Community Health Assessment featured by the Institute of Medicine in its "Evaluating Obesity Prevention Efforts: A Plan for Measuring Progress"
  • Project LIVELY program evaluation and recommendations for evidence-informed model.
  • Facilitation of Local Public Health System Assessment and report development.
Contact Information
For more information about the Academic Health Department, please contact Vicki Collie-Akers, Associate Director of Health Promotion Research in KU's Work Group for Community Health and Development, at 785-864-0533 or vcollie@ku.edu.