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Health

Wyoming Medical Students To Survey New Communities

A stone building called Old Main on the University of Wyoming campus in the summer
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Wyoming medical students that are part of the WWAMI UW School of Medicine program, will travel around the state for a new survey. Students will interview at-risk and underrepresented communities in public health in August. The goal is to engage communities in their own health care solutions.

The students will survey four communities in Wyoming that the university has pinpointed as at-risk and underrepresented in public health. Those include low-income residents, seniors, rural residents, along with ethnic and racial minorities.

Anders Van Sandt, a University of Wyoming regional community development specialist, said questions will revolve around trust in organizations, the health care decision-making process and general involvement in the public health sector.

Van Sandt said the ultimate goal is to empower communities to become engaged in their own health improvement decision-making.

"Their decision-making process, you know, if they've attended meetings, how they engage in public conversations, and see how certain changes in the communities have either made it harder or easier to participate. And then we also ask them about trust in different organizations," said Van Sandt.

Once answers to the questions are collected, the next step is to take that information and work with the public to create strategies for improvement.

"This will increase local support for local solutions, decrease the cost of blanket policies and strategies that just don't fit every community and hopefully improve health outcomes across the state, regardless of what that community looks like," said Van Sandt.

This is the first phase of a three-part Unlocking Community Health Access Together grant. It is one of the projects selected as the grand challenges initiative created by the University of Wyoming.

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