FINAL FOUR: Health Madness results

Health Madness

We said this at the beginning of Health Madness: we think every single one of the 64 prevention strategies (and, some that didn’t make the tournament, truth be told) is a winner.

But, wow. Color us yellow, because we are shocked (get it? color us yellow for the Wichita State University Shockers? Ok, moving on, then.) by the final two prevention strategies.

Without further ado, your two championship teams:

Complete Streets
Essential Mental Health Benefits

All tournament long, Smoke-free Bars and Restaurants skated through games, easily toppling each opponent. But not this time. By five votes, fans chose Essential Mental Health Benefits to advance.

The Complete Streets matchup against Essential Oral Health Benefits was close, too, decided by two votes.

Walk with us while we take a look at the two finalists.

Complete Streets
Implementing complete streets ensures safe roads for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.

Complete streets programs look at transportation as whole, and in no case is one traveler more or less important than another. The benefits of complete streets, according to Smart Growth America include healthier citizens, increased safety and a stronger economy.

Building complete streets is a highly customized effort. Planners must look at the size and layout of the city, the demographic and age of the citizens, schools and community buildings, and more. They can:

  • designate lanes for cyclists;
  • provide sidewalks and better crosswalks for pedestrians, including those with handicaps;
  • use various traffic tools like medians and road diets (reducing the number of lanes on a street) to decrease car speeds;
  • accommodate mass transit vehicles through thoughtful route planning and special bus lanes.

These are just a few ways to implement complete streets and make our communities more livable, healthier and more inviting to citizens and business owners.

Essential Mental Health Benefits
Essential mental health benefits address the lack of insurance options and support to keep your mind healthy. Such access will hopefully further the effort to support the treatment that many need, and increase facilities and professionals who provide this treatment, with an added benefit of possibly reducing – and hopefully, eliminating – the stigma of mental illness.

The brain is such an important organ, and a complex one at that; it’s critical that we demand better and affordable access to mental health care.

According to NAMI, one-half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. Despite effective treatments, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first onset of symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment.

Expanding mental health access by offering it as an essential benefit would help people get treatment earlier, a goal in preventing disabling mental illness.

So, dear voters, you have a difficult decision ahead of you. Which will it be?

The championship round is open for today only. Voting closes at midnight. Please share with your friends, colleagues and family members.


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HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at



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