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Jordan Wente '15 Creates Comprehensive Health Narrative

Posted by Jayce Koester ’16, Center for Small Towns on Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2013

Jordan Wente, ’15, Dodge Center, is working with the University of Minnesota, Morris’s Center for Small Towns (CST), Kandiyohi County, and Renville County to compile a comprehensive health narrative. This narrative will explore issues related to various health factors in the region, including demographic and economic factors. The final product will be used to help improve community health outcomes.

The goal of the Kandiyohi-Renville public health narrative is to gain a better understanding of the overall state of health in the area, including social determinants of health. The team hopes to be able to identify abnormal trends in the data and, according to Wente, “understand how the state of health has trended over the course of the last ten years.”

“This health report goes beyond describing and investigating current health issues prevalent to Renville and Kandioyhi counties,” says Wente. “It allows us to measure the effectiveness of specific public health campaigns. Furthermore, it stimulates discussion about greater underlying issues like education, rural poverty, and economic disparity...[which] are paramount when assessing the health of rural Minnesota.”

Wente has been working with Kelly Asche, CST community program specialist, to gather data and construct analyses for inclusion in the narrative. He has also spoken with local public health officials and key agents in the health industry. To create a truly comprehensive narrative, Wente is utilizing data from both the federal and state governments as well. He is collaborating with Engin Sungur, professor of statistics, and his team of statistics interns at the Data Services Center to find, compile, and analyze the large amounts of data collected.

When the final report has been compiled, it will be submitted to the Kandiyohi-Renville Community Health Board. Community and health officials will then have access to the data and research so as to identify the main issues affecting people’s health and develop plans to address those needs.

The University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) is a community outreach program that serves as a point-of-entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, k-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize the Center’s resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. Their mission is to focus the University’s attention and marshal its resources toward assisting Minnesota’s small towns with locally identified issues by creating applied learning opportunities for faculty and students.