Tiffany Wilkinson

Tiffany Wilkinson
MPH, Division Manager, Communicable Disease Prevention and Public Health Preparedness
Kansas City, Missouri

Favorite Music

Rock/pop groups, like SafetySuit and its hit “Get Around This.”

Challenge

Every July and August, a flood of parents and kids run in to city facilities for immunizations required before school starts (largely for kindergarten and to meet CDC standards for 8th graders, but also to have a shot record available if an administrator or nurse asks for it). Up to 1000 kids come at the last minute to the health department on Troost Ave downtown, one of the few walk-in sites if you haven’t been able to get to a physician’s office. In short, a big jam. City authorities wanted a better way.

Solution

They applied for a fellowship from Code for America, an Oakland-based 501(c)(3) of self-described volunteer “government geeks” that aims to provide simple and effective systems for public services. Within two months, the city got three Fellows for nine months who acted as a digital services swat team (one coder, one graphic designer, and one project manager). From a “journey-map” analysis, they developed open source code using CDC’s algorithms to determine if a child is up-to-date or behind on shots. As a result, instead of needing nurses, a registration clerk could simply type info and find out; plus the system will be put in the cloud and made HIPPA-compliant.

Lesson for other cities

The process of journey-mapping, where 20 people from different areas of the department sit around a table to coordinate, really helped everyone come to similar points of view as to bottlenecks and answers. Open source will allow other cities access to the solution. Also, with this jumpstart, it was easier for health authorities to persuade the city manager to approve a permanent mini-IT team inside the health department rather than always having to request services from a centralized city IT department.

Tiffany’s Personal Background

From a small town in Iowa, Tiffany was pre-med at Graceland University in Lamoni, IA, got a master’s in public health at the University of Kansas, worked with Cerner Corp to develop public health applications, and has worked with the KC health department for more than 20 years.

Job

Supervise 65 staff who monitor, and protect city residents from, infectious diseases.

Additional Random Factoid

Avid tennis player.

Contact Tiffany!

tiffany.wilkinson@kcmo.org

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