Have a Healthy Heart!

In this month when hearts are the decoration everywhere for Valentine’s Day, it is a good idea to think about your own heart.

After all, February is “American Heart Month,” a designation sponsored by the American Heart Association. According to Healthfinder.gov, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in the United States. Heart disease is responsible for one of every four deaths – but there are steps you can take to prevent heart disease.

Justin Swartz

Nurse Practitioner Justin Swartz from Truman Medical Centers staffs the Specialty Clinic at Swope Health.

At Swope Health, we take part in Heart Month by encouraging you to make healthy choices and manage your health to prevent heart disease. In coordination with Truman Medical Center,
Swope Health offers cardiology services in our Specialty Clinic, where Truman Nurse Practitioner Justin Swartz is all about preventive care for a healthy heart.

“Most of what I do is clean up after a heart episode has occurred,” said Justin. “But, ideally, if patients pay attention to the big five preventative steps they can avoid heart issues.”

The big five:

  1. Blood pressure control:  Keep that top number less than 100 and the bottom number less than 80.
  2. Cholesterol control:  Keep the LDL (the bad one) less than 100 and the HDL (the good one) greater than 45.
  3. Blood sugar control:  Justin likes the A1C test.  It is an average of your blood sugar levels over a three-month period.  You want that number to be less than 5.5.
  4. Tobacco control:  Smoking is linked to many heart ailments.  Just stay away from it or do everything in your power to quit.
  5. Fitness control:  You have to be active – walk, run, do yoga, bike, dance, swim – ANY physical activity will be a benefit to your heart.

28 days to a Healthy Heart

If you are not sure about your numbers, that is a good reason to find out. Make an appointment with your provider for a check-up to learn about your current health and ask about recommendations to improve your heart health.

Once you learn about heart health, we hope you will spread the word to your family, friends and everyone you love. Join us in providing encouragement to quit smoking, manage high blood pressure, add exercise to every day’s routine and make healthy food choices.

Call us at 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment and take steps toward a healthier heart. 

Additional Resources:

Healthy Heart

We are Greater than HIV/Aids

National Black HIV/Aids Awareness DayFeb. 7, 2019, is the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – a day dedicated to outreach and education about the disproportionate impact HIV and AIDS has among African Americans.

Swope Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wants you to have an opportunity to get tested for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Swope Health offers HIV/AIDS testing as part of routine healthcare. On Feb. 7, we will have a special table set up in the lobby at Swope Health Central to talk with clients and encourage testing.

“We recommend HIV/AIDS tests for everyone – adolescents and adults,” said Dr. Kenneth Thomas, Chief Medical Officer at Swope Health. “Once you know your status, you have the power to take steps to improve your health. Plus you help us prevent the spread of the disease.”

According to the CDC, in the United States, about 1.2 million people have HIV, and a disproportionately high number of that total – 40 percent – are African Americans. Further, about 14 percent of people with HIV are unaware they have the disease.

People infected with HIV can unknowingly spread the disease to partners and may need medical care for their own health. That is why testing is so important.

There are several types of tests available, but the most common examines a sample of blood for the presence of antigens or antibodies as a reaction to the virus. Most labs offer this routine test, or a rapid-screening version.

At Swope Health, if your test comes back negative, you can be confident you do not have HIV. If the rapid test is positive for antibodies, Swope Health providers recommend a confirmatory lab test to verify. With a positive test, your provider will talk with you about treatment options and will refer you to our partners at KC Care Health Clinic.

National Black HIV/Aids Awareness Day

Additional Resources:

Walk a mile in my shoes…

Rachel MelsonLet’s think about socks for a minute. You probably barely give them a thought, until one goes missing in the wash.

But for the people in our community without regular, permanent housing, those simple socks can make a big difference, says Rachel Melson, Doctor of Nursing Practice, who works in Swope Health’s outreach and Mobile Medical Unit (MMU).

“So many of my patients are embarrassed by their feet and their socks, which may be the same pair they have worn all month,” Rachel said. “They have to walk miles and miles every day to get around and many of them experience foot issues because of that.”

Socks contribute to physical health and mental wellbeing, she says. For example:

  • In cold temperatures, it doesn’t take long for frostbite to set in – about 30 minutes in subzero temperatures. According to Intellicast records, Kansas City traditionally has at least three winter months registering temperatures below 32 degrees, the freezing point.
  • When socks get wet, they can breed bacteria, which can cause infection.
  • Individuals with diabetes are at greater risk of skin injury, infection and amputations, making it even more important to keep feet healthy and free of blisters or sores.
  • Clothing often conveys a feeling of self-worth. People are more motivated to seek support if they have confidence in their appearance. It’s harder to stand tall without clean clothes, socks and shoes.

Hypothermia Infographic

socks and hops

The annual Socks and Hops gala in November 2018 resulted in about 15,000 pairs of new socks donated for the homeless population served by Swope Health.

Rachel says she has seen socks make that kind of impact with homeless individuals.

“It is truly an amazing change in their mood when they are given a new pair of socks to put on instead of their old ones,” she said. “There is nothing like putting on a new pair of socks to make you feel just a little better about yourself.”

Those are the reasons why Swope Health makes such an effort with annual events like Socks and Hops to raise awareness of the need. The most recent event in November 2018 generated donations of more than 15,000 pairs of socks, including donations from corporate sponsors.

Corporate Sponsors

  • Sock 101 is a Kansas City-based custom sock manufacturer. The company designs socks for fundraisers, giveaways, employee gifts, trade shows and general retail. The company emphasizes fun and functionality, said Tosha Everhart, the Sock Boss (yes, that’s her company title) at Sock 101.
    SOCK101 Logo
  • Notes to Self, another Kansas City-based firm, has been a sponsor of the event since 2015. This company creates socks that deliver positive messages. Putting on the socks, the wearer sees a message – I am beautiful, strong, awesome, confident, courageous, joyful or amazing. The idea is to bring positive thoughts to mind while putting on socks.Since its founding in 2011, the company has donated more than 50,000 socks to women’s shelters and other homeless service providers.
    Notes to Self Logo
  • Another contributor to this year’s flood of socks was Bombas LLC, a New York City-based company that makes socks. For each pair of socks purchased, the company donates one pair to someone in need. Founded in 2013, the company has donated more than 10 million pairs of socks – including 10,000 pairs to Socks and Hops.The donated Bombas socks are specially designed for use by people who may not have easy access to laundry. The socks are made with an anti-microbial treatment so they don’t need to be washed as often and reinforced seams and darker colors give them greater durability with less visible wear.

Socks and Hops

The MMU and Socks

“We are kind of known for socks now,” Rachel said. “People seek us out to see if we have any to give.”

Every patient who visits the MMU is given a pair or two of socks on their way out. The MMU makes regular visits to homeless shelters throughout the Kansas City area, year-round.

“Every person deserves to feel good about themselves and to have the opportunity for health,” Rachel said. “The socks we give out are just another way we try to help our patients achieve health and happiness. Socks are often an overlooked part of our wardrobes, but to our patients, a new, clean pair of socks can help prevent disease and promote a sense of wellbeing.”

Swope Health always welcomes donations of new, clean socks and other items. If you’d like to help out, please visit the Swope Health Giving page to learn more, including how you can volunteer or purchase items from our Homeless Outreach Wish List.

New Year, New Look!

By Michelle Keller, Vice President, Community Engagement, Development & Outreach.

50th AnniversaryHello!  Do you see something different here today?

We have created a new look for Swope Health, at the same time we celebrate 50 years of service to our community.

The leadership team and Board of Directors agreed a new look would be an excellent way to kick off our next 50 years.

Why a new look?

As we reflected on our years of service, we also evaluated how we perform – our strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.

We identified four pillars to define our service to the community, and we re-imagined how we could show you our commitment, starting with our name. The new look should guide us into the future.

Appointment CardsFirst, the four pillars of our service:

  • Understanding: We relate to you, no matter where you are in your healthcare journey.
  • Invested: We’re committed to the communities we serve and the people who need care.
  • Accessible: Our knowledge, services and caring providers are available to everyone.
  • Skilled: Our staff delivers high-quality, expert care at every moment.

We worked with a professional branding firm, Native Digital, whose team challenged us with a question: If Swope Health was a person, what kind of person would we be?

We came up with three ideas: We would want you to think of us as a friend, counselor and advocate.

As a friend, we listen, care about you and work hard to have mutual trust. We speak your language.

As a counselor, we drive you to better understand yourself and to become the best you can be, through empathy, guidance and wisdom.

As an advocate, we are invested in your success and we boost you up so you can achieve your goals. We’re with you on your path to health.

Swope HealthAnd it’s that idea – a path leading to a healthier, happier life – that sparked the change to the logo.

We widened the bottom of the “S” to make it look more like a path, the flowing start of a journey. We also simplified the look of the lettering and made it less formal, more friendly.

Then finally, we jazzed up the colors! We want to be clean, bright and fresh.

You’ll see vibrant colors throughout our presence: pink and maroon, dark blue and light blue, dark green and light green.

All of this comes together in our new look. I hope this gives you a peek into our thinking and I hope you will see us in a new light.

Let us know how we’re doing in meeting our pillars and serving as your friend, counselor and advocate.

Comments always welcome – use the text box below or send an email to editor@SwopeHealth.org.

Mission Possible: The Best Champs Holiday Party Ever!

ScriptPro, a Kansas City-area company that provides pharmacy software, robotics and management programs, has taken on a new task this quarter.

ScriptProThe company’s employees, part of a program called Community Connection, are putting on a holiday party for the SHS Champs program.

“We love giving back,” said Erin Pagel, Manager of Strategic Pharmacy Services at ScriptPro, “and it’s important to our employees to give back locally.”

The Community Connection team surveyed the approximately 800 ScriptPro employees and found a passion for children’s needs, fighting hunger, supporting cancer research and caring for animals.

The team partnered with Harvesters, Kansas City’s community food network, in the first quarter of 2018; with PurpleStride, a non-profit that raises funds and awareness of pancreatic cancer, in the second quarter; and with KC Pet Project in the third quarter.

For the fourth quarter and the holiday season, the company looked for a way to support children in need. Since the company already had a connection with SHS – the  Swope Health Services Pharmacy uses ScriptPro products – it was an easy decision to host the party for the kids in the Champs program.

ScriptPro Planning Team

The ScriptPro-SHS planning team at an October meeting, from left: Joi Franklin, Electrical Quality Assurance Technician II at ScriptPro; Amy Kuhnlein, SHS Manager of Development and Community Affairs; Kristen Meschede, Customer Communications Manager at ScriptPro; Elgie Hurd, SHS Supervisor, CPRP; Tiffany Clinton, SHS Supervisor, CPRP; and Erin Pagel, Manager, Strategic Pharmacy Services at ScriptPro.

Champs is a monthly youth group for children aged 5 to 17 who are enrolled in the Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (CPRP), said Tiffany Clinton, Community Support Supervisor.

The program serves an average of 50 children each month with different life-skills topics and age-appropriate activities.

The children in the Champs program face numerous challenges, including physical and verbal aggression, impulsivity, maintaining focus in the classroom, suspensions, struggles with depression, and homicidal or suicidal thoughts, Tiffany said.

Some children are in the family court system and others have received inconsistent care with medication and treatment plans. Some have been hospitalized for mental illness and related issues.

“These kids face issues no child should have to face,” Tiffany said.

ScriptPro’s Community Connection team agrees, and intends to create a memorable and fun celebration for the Champs kids.

For the party, the team will convert the activity rooms in Building C into a “Winter Wonderland,” with a Christmas tree and activity stations featuring cookie and cupcake decorating, ornament making, making and decorating goodie bags and other crafts.

The team’s plans include a Karaoke station, a snowman bowling game (think of a snowball knocking down snowman pins), and a station for temporary tattoos. A costumed Olaf, the snowman from “Frozen” movie fame, also will be at the party on Dec. 19, 2018.

There will be a photo booth, and kids can use the photos to create personalized ornaments to take home. The celebration will include a meal, as well as personalized holiday gifts for each.

ScriptPro Competition

Kaitlin Xouris, ScriptPro Digital Brand Strategist, is participating in ScriptPro’s Toy Drive for SHS Champs participants and Toys for Tots. There’s a competition at ScriptPro to see which member of the leadership team can bring in the most toys. In early December, Bill Thomas, ScriptPro’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, was in the lead over Lindsey McDonald, Director of Product Configuration Management, Field Operations, and Tony Goble, Vice President, Customer Service. The winner of the competition gets the honor of dressing as Olaf, the snowman from Frozen, for one day.

The ScriptPro team held a friendly competition among departments to see which could bring in the most toys for the Champs program, Erin said.

“We want to make sure every kid gets at least one gift, if not more,” Erin said.

Putting on such a celebration takes a lot of volunteers. Erin noted that the team is working in three shifts: the first has employees who are doing the advance work of creating craft kits, baking the cookies and cupcakes for decorating, and designing the decorations for the activity room.

A second shift will handle the transformation of the room and set up all the activities. And the third shift will host the party and then clean up after the event.

More than 30 employees signed up to participate in the first week alone.

“We are so excited to partner with ScriptPro for this event,” Tiffany said. “The amazing generosity and spirit of the ScriptPro team will help create a special holiday event for our kids.”

Would you like to support the Champs program? Donations are always welcome, either in cash or assistance with programming items – like hygiene kits, daily planners, or craft supplies. Contact Shantelle Wells (816-599-5252, SWells@swopehealth.org) or Jaclyn Powell (816-599-5243, jrpowell@swopehealth.org) for more information. 

Support Holiday Book Drive for SHS Kids

Barnes & Noble - Country Club PlazaThe Barnes & Noble Bookstore on the Country Club Plaza has named Swope Health Services as the recipient of its annual Holiday Book Drive.

This is the third time in four years Barnes & Noble has selected SHS to receive books donated by its customers.

All customers who visit the Plaza Barnes & Noble store, 420 W. 47th St., Kansas City, MO, through Dec. 9, 2018, are invited to purchase books for SHS children’s programs.

SHS will provide the books free to children of all ages who visit SHS clinics for healthcare and behavioral health services.

“In the past, we have worked with Swope Health and it’s been a great success,” said Joseph Harris, assistant store manager at the Plaza Barnes & Noble.

“We’ve had a lot of engagement from the community. We get really excited because it’s such a great cause. We’re happy to partner with Swope Health.’’

The book drive launched at the end of October and will wrap up at the end of the first week in December.  Joseph said the drive is on pace to produce more than 1,000 books.

“This is a wonderful program that provides books for our kids here at Swope Health throughout the year,” said Amy Kuhnlein, SHS Manager of Development and Community Affairs. “Books are used in treatments and as rewards for reaching milestones. Barnes & Noble helps us make KC a community of healthy readers.”

Customers can choose their own childhood favorites or select from SHS- or Barnes & Noble-recommended titles.

Polor Express Pajama PartyBarnes & Noble keeps a supply of recommended books at every checkout counter, making it easy for customers to select a book for the drive at checkout.

The SHS list was developed by professional therapists and counselors in the Children’s Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program, which works with children from ages 5-17 who experience trauma or behavioral health issues.

The reading list includes books featuring characters in similar situations and provides stimulus to work through challenges.

“Reading is magic,” said Tiffany Clinton, Supervisor, Children’s Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program at SHS.

“The kids can disappear into a story, into a new world, and sometimes it becomes a little easier to talk about the difficult stuff. These books offer hope and life lessons.”

Barnes & Noble, a national chain, encourages book drives at all of its local shops. In its 2017 book drive, Barnes & Noble helped deliver more than 1.6 million books to more than 650 local charitable organizations serving disadvantaged children across the country.

The Plaza Barnes & Noble has donated books from its Holiday Book Drive to SHS in previous years, providing SHS more than 1,500 books in 2015 and again in 2017. SHS volunteers will also help wrap presents at the store throughout December.

“We love our partnership with Barnes &Noble,” Amy said, adding SHS will distribute the books through its children’s programs and pediatric health care clinics.

SHS healthcare providers also use the books to help assess a child’s cognitive and physical development and talk with parents about the importance of reading to their children.

Research has shown that reading to young children produces benefits including increasing vocabulary, curiosity and memory and improving listening skills. The American Academy of Family Physicians describes a positive association with books and reading as a foundation for scholastic success.

You can support the book drive by visiting the Barnes & Noble on the Country Club Plaza, 420 W. 47th St. The store is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Dec. 24, the store is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Dec. 25, Christmas Day. The store reopens from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 26.

KCCAN! Supports SHS Champs

Here’s a big shout-out to KCCAN! (Kansas City Children’s Assistance Network), which has provided an $11,000 grant to the Champs program at Swope Health Services.

The Champs program is a monthly youth group for children ages 5 to 17 who are enrolled in the Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (CPRP), said Tiffany Clinton, Community Support Supervisor.

The program provides education on different life-skills and age-appropriate activities for an average of 50 children each month.

champs at work

Champs program members exercising creativity in an exercise, and some products from recent programs.

For example, an activity might include a community field trip, such as the October visit to a pumpkin patch for younger children or learning how to use the city bus system for older kids.

Topics are drawn from the Daily Living Assessment-20, a behavioral health care tool that measure aspects of daily life that might be impacted by trauma, mental illness, disability or behavioral disorder.

Programs are held after school, usually from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and often include physical activity.

The goal for all of the programs is to help participants develop skills in self-sufficiency, independence, and confidence to live meaningfully in the community.

The sessions use role-playing and behavior modeling in real-life situations. The programs might touch on topics like anger and emotions and include coping skills.

Participants are provided with resources to continue working on life skills at home. For example, a program on grooming and hygiene might provide the kids with soap, toothpaste and other supplies, while a program on time management might include a daily calendar and planner book.

“This grant will enable us to do things for the kids that we haven’t been able to do,” Tiffany said. “It will give us options to think outside the box and add to the activities we already have.”

KCCAN is a not-for-profit organization focused on funding programs that improve the quality of life for Kansas City’s children, especially projects related to meeting basic needs, education and wellness.

At SHS, the KCCAN funds will be used for the monthly programs starting in 2019 and will also support the annual Thanksgiving and Holiday celebrations for the kids.

“Our kids in the Champs program face numerous challenges, including aggression, difficulty at school, struggles with depression, even homicidal or suicidal thoughts,” said Tiffany.

“Some are in the family court system and others have received inconsistent care. In short, these kiddos are facing issues no child should have to face. We’re so grateful to KCCAN for their support. We know this funding will help us improve the lives of the children we serve.”

Would you like to support the Champs program? Donations are always welcome, either in cash or assistance with programming items – like hygiene kits, daily planners, or craft supplies. Contact Shantelle Wells (816-599-5252, SWells@swopehealth.org) or Jaclyn Powell (816-599-5243, jrpowell@swopehealth.org) for more information. 

 

Champs provides programs on nutrition and healthy eating and includes foods to take home…

Independence Clinic launches full-team initiative to tackle diabetes

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

The staff at Swope Health Services-Independence has launched an all-hands-on-deck initiative to identify diabetes in their patients, help manage the chronic disease, and most importantly, work to prevent it.

The program is the brainchild of Dr. Naiomi Jamal, who holds both a medical degree and Master’s degree in public health.

“I am always focused on prevention,” said Dr. Jamal, noting that the clinic serves a high number of patients with hypertension, obesity and diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Diabetes is the No. 7 cause of death, and the No. 1 cause of kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness, Dr. Jamal said.

In addition, one in three people have pre-diabetes, and 90 percent of them do not know they are at risk, she said.

“To a large part, diabetes is preventable,” she said. “We are working to create an environment to do that.”

The initiative at the Independence clinic begins with a specific diabetes checklist used with every patient to look for early signs of those three dominant diabetes-related issues: kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness. At least once a year, all patients are asked to complete lab tests to evaluate kidney function and receive a foot screening.

toolkit_badge_NovDiabetics are also predisposed to infections such as pneumonia and influenza. Their vaccination status for both these conditions is updated and monitored at every visit.

Starting in November, the clinic will add one more exam: an annual eye test to capture images of each patient’s retina. Those images are then examined by an optometrist for abnormalities linked to diabetes.

“In every visit, we try to make sure we are not missing anything,” said Dr. Jamal.

A second component of the initiative is counseling. In addition to medical treatment, patients are offered personal sessions with a chronic disease counselor and group visits with a trained and certified diabetes educator.

These small group sessions – 10 or fewer patients and their family members – are held every six to eight weeks at the Independence clinic. Topics include a detailed explanation of diabetes, insulin and medications, and steps to take to better control diabetes with diet and exercise.

Dr. Jamal has seen the group sessions produce results. She recalled one patient who had been under care for about a year but had difficulty controlling her diabetes.

The patient reported to Dr. Jamal that she was taking her medications, but in reality, she wasn’t. When she came to a group session, she encountered another woman from her neighborhood who talked about how she had been able to manage diabetes – using the same regimen the patient was prescribed.

“That peer interaction did something,” Dr. Jamal said. “My patient decided she, too, could be successful, and she started taking her medication.” That patient now has been able to control her diabetes.

The diabetes initiative has been operating for nearly a year in Independence, and as checklists are completed on more and more patients, the results are starting to show promise.

This includes higher rates of diabetic foot exams, vaccinations, renal disease screening, and overall diabetic control (compared to the same period last year, before the program was introduced).

NDPP-prevention

“This truly is a team effort,” Dr. Jamal noted. Starting with Patient Service Representatives who schedule and remind patients, to nurses and medical assistants who review patient histories in pre-visit sessions, to clinic staff who print out flyers and educational materials, counselors who educate and providers who diagnose and treat – all play important roles in reaching patients and encouraging the changes that drive results.

In 2019, this checklist approach – with lessons learned from Independence – will be rolled out across all SHS clinics.

“It is so very difficult to make healthy choices,” Dr. Jamal noted, “but we can make it easier.” For people who are diagnosed as pre-diabetic, lifestyle changes can frequently mean avoiding medication. “Prevention is possible,” she added.

There has never been a better time to come in for a checkup, at Independence or any of the Swope Health Services locations.  “We want to see you,” Dr. Jamal said. “We want to partner with you to help you achieve your health goals.”

In this month of diabetes awareness, it’s a good time to make an appointment for an examination. Call 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment. SHS can help prevent diabetes in some cases, and if you have diabetes we can help with medication and education, including nutrition guidance, to lessen its impact on your life.

Mark Your Calendar: Treat Town, Oct. 31

The annual Swope Health Services Treat Town for safe Halloween trick or treating will be held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31. The event is free and open to the public.

For this event, the 23rd annual Treat Town, SHS Central Building C is converted into a spooky Halloween extravaganza, with lots of places for kids to show off their costumes and collect toys and treats. Community organizations also participate, offering information along with their candy and treats for the tricksters age 12 and under.

There’s music and dancing, provided again this year by Battery Tour, featuring AY MusiK, the founder and leader of this popular Kansas City-based community-focused music festival band.

Last year, more than 1,500 children and their parents came to Treat Town. For many children, Treat Town was their first-ever trick-or-treat experience – warm, safe and fun with plenty of toys and treats. No tricks!

Please plan on joining us for Treat Town!

Treat Town

Participants at a recent Treat Town at SHS all filled their bags with candy, toys and treats!

Join us for the 4th installment in Swope Health Services’ Leadership Speakers Series

As part of National Community Health Center Week, Swope Health Services will host a luncheon and panel discussion for healthcare leaders on Friday, August 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center.

This year’s topic is Coordination and Collaboration in the Face of Risk: Responding to Missouri’s Opioid Crisis.

Our panelists will discuss their organization’s role in addressing the opioid crisis while offering leadership lessons for responding to challenges that require coordination across multiple agencies.

In doing so, attendees will learn strategies and tips for breaking down silos and working more effectively in cross-functional or interagency teams.

About our Panelists

Dr. Rex Archer serves as Director of Health for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to serving on the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) of Directors and Chairing PHAB’s Accreditation Improvement Committee, he is a past president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Dr. Archer has served on numerous national committees involved with public health. He is responsible for safeguarding the public health of nearly half a million residents and a daytime population of almost one million people.

Andrea Buford is the Clinical Director for Behavioral Health at Swope Health Services where she has worked for the last 20 years. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a passion for serving the entire family system and the community at large. Ms. Buford manages SHS’ Imani House SUD Treatment Facility, coordinates Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) services for all SHS clients and is working on the cross-functional team charged with integrating primary care and behavioral health services. She also is exploring the feasibility of offering telemedicine to those with a need for opioid use disorder treatment.

Vince Ortega is the executive director of COMBAT, a community funded organization that strives to ensure a strong, safe community for its residents free from the dangers of illegal drugs and violent crime through the use of prevention education, treatment services and support of the criminal justice system. Mr. Ortega spent 30 years with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, rising through the ranks to become Deputy Chief of Police before joining the COMBAT staff in early 2009. He holds a Master’s of Public Affairs degree from Park University in Parkville, Missouri.

Dr. Rachel Winograd is a Research Assistant Professor at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) – University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL). Her clinical, research, and program development interests have revolved around alcohol and drug use, consequences, and treatment. Dr. Winograd is the Project Director of Missouri’s State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant (Opioid STR) and the Missouri Heroin-Opioid Prevention and Education (MO-HOPE) Project. Her primary focus is on expanding access to effective, evidence-based medical treatment and harm reduction strategies for those most in need of care for opioid use disorders in Missouri.

Background Information on Opioids

Nationally, 90 people die every day from opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And, the American Society of Addiction Medicine estimates that about 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids.

The Kansas City metro area ranks roughly in the middle of the pack in opioid prescriptions and concentration, as measured by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Swope Health Services offers medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, providing suboxone, a prescription medication also known as naloxone, which works by blocking the opioid receptors in the body.

Some common questions:

  • What are opioids? Broadly, the term covers prescription pain relievers, including the synthetic drug fentanyl, as well as illegal drugs like heroin.
  • How did we get to an opioid crisis? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the problems began in the 1990s with the pharmaceutical companies marketing of prescription opioid pain relievers. Providers began prescribing them more at greater rates until it became clear in opioid overdose deaths that the drugs were highly addictive.
  • How bad is it? It’s the deadliest drug crisis in American history. The New York Times reported: “Overdoses killed more people last year than guns or car accidents, and are doing so at a pace faster than the H.I.V. epidemic at its peak.”
  • How do we address the crisis? Nationally, new programs promote greater access to treatment and recovery, and availability of overdose-reversing drugs. Just this summer, the state of Missouri began the creation of a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.