About the Project


Phase I


In the Fall 2012 Semester, the students of Political Science 310 - Health Policy at Grand Valley State University, set out to think about the overall health of our community in Kent County, Michigan.  Our work was largely guided by two books selected for the course:














In this phase of the project we develop summary scores for each of Kent County's 128 Census Tracts based on the work of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institutes's County Health Rankings.   UW's Population Health Institute reminds us that where we live matters and health is much more important than merely having a means to pay for health care be it publicly (Medicare/Medicaid) or private health insurance.  Their work, focused at the county level is designed to help communities create solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy using a number of key health and socioeconomic variables.  Many of the measures or indicators of health were modeled on those developed by County Health Rankings.  The key difference in our work is that we are seeking to provide clues about the health of the communities within Kent County.


The team members responsible for this work:


• Alex Ansell

• George Bradley

• Jenea Chesnic

• Carly Durham

• Shelby Kucharski

• Brittani Marshall

• Ashley Miller

• Simon Minyiel

• Crystal Nakamura

• Chloe Pakalnis

• Zack Redwood

• Miranda Zeqiri



Phase II


As the topic of economic mobility became a flash point in 2014 beginning with President Obama’s State of the Union Address, students in the 2014 Fall Semester Public Administration (PA) 495 – Community Analysis class turned their attention to exploring the concept of inequality within Kent County, Michigan.  We read The Ghost Map to guide our analysis:















In the Ghost Map, Steve Johnson chronicles Dr. John Snow and the Reverend Henry Whitehead’s actions to solve the riddle of the 1854 cholera epidemic in London.  The book is a lesson in how groundbreaking theories are developed as much as how faulty ideas can persist.   In particular, we borrowed upon the lessons from Snow and Whitehead on how scientific understanding and multidisciplinary thinking are needed to identify, quantify and ultimately solve the problem of inequality faced within our communities.


The team members responsible for this work:


• Mindy Atton

• Sarah Bevier

• Rolando Bocanegra

• Emma DiCello

• Jonathan Erickson

• Paula Kirwin

• Michelle Michailuk

• Madison Murphy

• Camille Nofsinger

• Tumora Roberston

• Courtney Schafer

• Samantha Shields

• Jared Taylor

• Alex Trinh

• Nathan Voorhees



Do you have a comment or question about this work or website?  We'd love to hear from you!