WEALTH - Exploring Health Equity Issues in Kansas


Kansas WEALTH Overview

Reducing climate risks positively impacts our state’s Water, Energy, Air, Land, Transportation, and Health. The Kansas WEALTH project brings together partners working on a range of areas related to health equity issues in order to collaboratively identify opportunities to reduce risk and increase resiliency in the face of a changing climate.


In 2016, the Climate + Energy Project  (CEP) was designated by the Kansas Health Foundation as one of ten organizations to participate in a cohort that would improve the network of stakeholders working to address health equity in Kansas.  CEP formed a partnership with Kansas environmental organizations to explore health inequities caused by a changing climate.  The project is called WEALTH; an acronym that stands for water, energy, air, land, transportation, and health. The WEALTH partner organizations include the Kansas Rural Center, Kansas Interfaith Action, Kansas Natural Resources Council, Kansas City Chapter NAACPand Grassland Heritage Foundation. Read about the WEALTH partners below. While the partners will be exploring the impact on the Kansas community as a whole, the primary focus will be the impact of a changing climate on economically disadvantaged communities, communities of color, and the elderly.

 

Stay up-to-date on our project by checking back here often and by signing up to be on CEP's mailing list!


Want to know more? Contact CEP Assistant Director Rachel Myslivy at myslivy at climate and energy dot org OR CEP Program Director Jamie Hofling at hofling at climate and energy dot org.


Kansas WEALTH: Annual Day of Environmental Advocacy and Education

As a kickoff to the WEALTH project, WEALTH partner organizations co-hosted a day of environmental advocacy and education on water, energy, air, land, transportation and health policies in Kansas at the State Capitol. Approximately 200 Kansans gathered together under the State Capitol dome, approximately 45 of whom were Kansas legislators that spoke on the topics under the WEALTH umbrella. Find more in the WEALTH Day Summary here.

 

WEALTH Day 2017 built upon CEP’s long-standing practice of connecting Kansans to their legislators around energy issues. CEP and partners have co-hosted energy and environment advocacy days seven times in the last decade.

 

WEALTH Day 2017

WELF Day 2016 


These events expand and strengthen the network of environmental advocacy organizations and individuals across the state.

The Kansas Health Foundation Health Equity Cohort

In 2016, the Kansas Health Foundation convened ten Kansas organizations to improve the network of stakeholders working to address health equity across Kansas. The Climate + Energy Project (CEP)  is thrilled to be one of the ten Kansas organizations to receive a health equity grant from the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF)!


Through the health equity project, KHF seeks to improve the network of stakeholders working to address health equity across Kansas. The grant provides resources that will help grow the capacity of the organizations both individually and collectively so they can better integrate health equity into their work. In order to carry out this work collaboratively all of the grant recipients, including CEP, joined of a statewide Health Equity Cohort created by the Kansas Health Foundation. 

  • Children’s Alliance of Kansas, to implement advocacy strategies to reform the front-end of the state’s child welfare system;
  • Kansas Head Start Association, to build grassroots organizing and policy advocacy capacity among Kansas parents and engage parents in advocacy efforts to assure high-quality early childhood services;
  • Kansas Advocates for Better Care, to address health disparities and improve equity for older adults in Kansas;
  • NAMI Kansas, to promote more robust engagement of mental health advocates and partnerships with key policymakers to improve the quality of mental health services in Kansas;
  • Thrive Allen County, to convene rural health coalitions across the state and create a rural health network for the purpose of identifying problems facing rural communities, investigating their causes and seeking solutions;
  • Climate and Energy Project, to focus on the impact of environmental health on economically disadvantaged communities, communities of color and the elderly;
  • El Centro, to build a grassroots effort addressing the needs of immigrants and people of color who are affected by immigration issues;
  • ACLU of Kansas, to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system;
  • Seed House – La Casa de la Semilla, to build a multi-strategy movement for racial justice in Kansas by implementing racial justice strategies that emerge from communities of color;
  • Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, to provide cross-systems advocacy for children who are in the juvenile justice system, the child welfare system, or both systems in Kansas.

Meet our WEALTH Partners!

 
Combining the eco-systemic, public health, stewardship, and energy agendas of these partnering organizations will enable the Kansas WEALTH project to speak to a diverse community of Kansans and explore a range of issues caused by a changing climate as well as their effects on human equity in Kansas.


 
Natalie Fullerton is the Program Director of the Kansas Rural Center’s Community Food Solutions Initiative.  This initiative aims to increase healthy foods access and consumption in Kansas, recognizing that in Kansas, our own farms are a critical part of the solution.  Though this initiative Fullerton is helping empower Kansans to take the lead in advancing new and identified public policy and actions that better incorporate the state’s farms and ranches into the supply chain thereby improving Kansas’s economy community, environment, and health status.  Natalie has a master’s of science in Public Horticulture Administration and a bachelor’s degree in horticulture, both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  

Rabbi Moti Rieber has served as Executive Director of Kansas Interfaith Action and its predecessor organization, Kansas Interfaith Power & Light, since March 2011. A native of New Jersey, he has lived in Kansas since 2007. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. A life-long activist on peace, social justice, and environmental issues, Reb Moti brings a variety of pulpit, interfaith, and organizational experience to the work of Kansas Interfaith Action.
 
Reb Moti and his wife, Suzy, live with their three teenage children in Overland Park.
 

 

Kansas City Kansas Chapter of NAACP 

 

Richard Mabion was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. He served a 2-year tour of duty for the United States Army during the Vietnam Conflict (66-68). He graduated from college in 1971 with a BS in Education and a minor in Psychology, and spent the next three decades as a self-taught urban social engineer and businessman in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri.  Since 2006 he has worked as an independent community organizer in the environmental movement in Kansas City, Kansas. In 2012 he became Kansas Sierra Club’s first statewide Black Board member.  In 2014, after running on the environmental literacy ticket, The Kansas City, Kansas NAACP chapter elected him as their president.

  

 

Kansas Natural Resource Council


Larry E. Erickson, president of the Kansas Natural Resource Council, was born in Wahoo, Nebraska on October 8, 1938. He lived on a farm near Wahoo, graduated from Wahoo High School, and attended Luther Junior College in Wahoo. He received a B.S.Ch.E. and Ph.D. from Kansas State University while majoring in chemical engineering. He has served on the chemical engineering faculty from 1964 to the present.  In 1967-68 he conducted research in biochemical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.  Since 1985 he has provided leadership for hazardous substance research at Kansas State University.  He helps to provide leadership for the Consortium for Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, and the annual Dialog on Sustainability.


He is a member of First Lutheran Church in Manhattan and active in Lutherans Restoring Creation.
 

Kim Bellemere is the Membership and Education Coordinator for the Grassland Heritage Foundation (GHF) where she directs education activities related to tallgrass prairie preservation in Northeast Kansas.  She is also a co-chair of the Kaw Valley Native Plant Coalition and is a co-founder and former co-chair of the Kansas Women’s Environmental Network.  Kim came to GHF after a career in community health education and non-profit management. Although always concerned about environmental issues, she made the move to environmental education after starting a family and realizing she wanted to do more to protect Kansas’ natural resources. She has also been involved in several community projects in Lawrence, KS including founding an environmental education group and resource exchange for parents, co-founding and chairing the Monarch Waystation program at an area school, and serving on area non-profit boards.  
 
A lifelong Kansan, Kim truly understands the crucial role the native environment plays in our cultural and environmental heritage and the importance of preserving it for future generations.
 

Resources Section

Check back for webinars, articles, and links to research related to health equity as it relates to a changing climate!