Communities across the U.S. and internationally are working to improve population health to increase human welfare and decrease health care costs. There is evidence that indicators of population health, such as physical activity, nutrition and other health behaviors, vary geographically due to the structural conditions of local communities. Simply, some communities are healthier than other communities. Where we live imapact our health. An omnibus challenge to achieve population health improvement, therefore, is to facilitate change in conditions across in the numerous places where people live, learn, work, and play in a geographic area. This a multilevel whole-of-community dynamic system problem. Experts are learning how to help communities build healthy places.
We are a research and development group coordinated by Dr. David Dzewaltowski, a behavioral scientist who is a Professor of Kinesiology and Public Health Faculty in the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University. A central challenge for achieving population health improvement is to facilitate organizational change across sectors resulting in numerous places promoting health behavior where people live, learn, work, play, and seek care in a geographic area. We propose to fill this need by building on our past work on human-environment ecological systems theory, implementation science, and health behavior change in community settings. The research group has many collaborators including international population health experts, community agencies, and undergraduate and graduate students seeking B.S., Masters of Public Health and Ph.D. degrees.