The 2016 Fellowship in Kansas City

Code for America is partnering with Kansas City, MO to ensure every school-age child meets immunization enrollment requirements for their school. Kansas City provides 25K to 30K immunizations a year to thousands of vulnerable children with a heavy surge right before the school year begins. Currently many parents must wait in long lines just to receive a copy of their child’s immunization record, others fail to appear because of the long waits. School immunization records are often incomplete providing an unclear picture of the communicable disease risk within local schools. Internally, large crowds and additional traffic create staffing issues for the Health Department.

The project will develop a digital tool allowing individuals to search and access their own immunization records and receive reminders about upcoming immunization requirements. The project will consider the technology access barriers that the target population faces and ensure that the digital tools are feasible for their use. This tool will also aim to improve school record keeping so that vaccine preventable disease risks become known and preparation can take place. Overall, these features will improve the efficiency of the local Health Department so that they can focus on an array of necessary services. In developing the project, Code for America and Kansas City will also investigate how immunization services can help people get more general information about health care enrollment.

Meet the 2016 team:

  • Jessica Cole

    Kansas City (MO) Team

    Jessica is a builder and a civic organizer. She believes that technology, at its best, creates neighborhoods out of people. Most recently, she served as Director of Outreach at Panorama Education to b...


  • Rachel Edelman

    Kansas City (MO) Team

    Rachel is a product designer from New York. After earning a degree in graphic design, she joined BuzzFeed, where she cultivated interests in online communities and usability. Other interests include c...


  • Kevin Berry

    Kansas City (MO) Team

    Kevin is a full stack engineer who is passionate about making technology education more accessible. He has mentored Bay Area youth in coding and technology through community outreach programs. He also...


Team Leads: Marty Galutia, Strategic Planning and Quality Officer, Kansas City Health Department and Tiffany Wilkinson, Assistant Division Manager, Kansas City Health Department

Kansas City (MO) Seal

Code for America is selecting Kansas City for a fellowship for the second time, demonstrating that we are in sync with the approach of using digital and tech resources to make the city better for all. Because the fellowship this time will focus on using tech resources to improve health outcomes for children, it also is better for Kansas City’s future.

Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, MO

The 2013 Fellowship in Kansas City

In 2013, Code for America’s fellows Andrew Hyder and Ariel Kennan teamed up with Kansas City Kansas and Kansas City Missouri Mayor’s Offices to understand new opportunities for economic development. While their city contacts were extremely helpful, one challenge for the project was the fact that an administration change happened in Kansas City, Kansas during the course of the year. Nevertheless, city contacts David Rowe (Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Mayor, KCMO), John McGurk (Chief of Staff, KCMO), Ashley Hand (Chief Innovation Officer, KCMO), Jason Banks (Director of Business Access, KCK), Brett Deichler (Unified Government, KCK) and Chris Cooley (Director of GeoSpatial Services, KCK) worked alongside the fellows and helped set up 62 meetings with hundreds of community members.

In all of those sessions, a common theme the fellows heard throughout their interviews was that many of the city’s positive projects were being done in silos with little sharing of resources or information across disparate groups.

In response, the fellows hosted two roundtable meetings inviting close to 200 community members from the business community, NGOs and city government. The events fostered a number of new relationships. Additionally, the fellows worked on developer events including Hacking the Gigabit City, CityCamp KC and Hack Kansas City. The Hack Kansas City event alone brought out more than 80 participants and actually solidified the creation of the Code for America Brigade.

In addition to distillation and ideation from the community interviews and events, the fellows looked at the Google Digital Divide Study on Kansas City and saw that adults without web skills and internet access were at a disadvantage in obtaining city info or completing complicated tasks. The fellows set out to improve the basic web skills of those in the city (primarily business owners) in the hopes of creating a healthier community and a more prepared workforce.

The result was BizFriendly — an app that helps business owners learn new web skills and engage with their customers. Users log-in, follow a step-by-step lessons with dynamic feedback, connect to locals and teach others. Presented to the Cities as a minimum viable product in April, the app continues to add new users and lessons.

Beyond the app, Kennan and Hyder saw their fellowship year as an opportunity to use technology as the forcing factor for cultural change. While both Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri had city staff who wanted to embrace innovation, the collaborative act of app-building led to concrete discussions about shared data, open data policies and joint best practices. The duo coached a number of government stakeholders on the merits of releasing open data and even went so far as to help draft policy. A digital literacy app didn’t just help small businesses, it helped innovation take root in two great cities destined for bright futures.

To see digital innovation recommendations from the fellows on a regional and city level check out their resource post.

Community Partners:

  • Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Hall Family Foundation
  • Sprint
  • Cerner Corporation
  • Google Fiber
  • Hallmark Cards, Inc.
  • H&R Block Foundation

2013 Apps:

Meet the 2013 team:

  • Andrew Hyder

    Kansas City Team

    Andrew Hyder is a civic hacker who enjoys making apps and maps. He is the developer relations engineer at Code for America where he travels the world helping volunteers build useful technology for their cities. As a 2013 CfA Fellow in Kansas City…


  • Ariel Kennan

    Kansas City Team

    Ariel is an interaction and experience designer, most recently with ESI Design in New York. Her passion is where experience design meets scale – from the palm of the hand to entire cities. She has created mobile applications, websites, kiosks, media walls, institutions, and master planning for new communities...


Articles & video

  • Team Kansas City – Tumblr

    Sharing key moments and insights from the 2013 fellowship year working with Kansas City, MO, Kansas City, KS and Wyandotte County.

  • How Apps Help Kansas City Work Better – NPR

    Now for people who enjoy using technology, it might feel like there’s an app for everything. Some are mindless. I mean I’m a little embarrassed to tell you how much time I spend baking fake pizza on my mobile device.

The 2016 Kansas City Fellowship is supported by

the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Google Fiber