Want to Quit Smoking? Learn about Quit2Live³

Quit2Live3Researchers at the University of Kansas have uncovered a paradox about smoking and African-Americans.

About 15 percent of African-Americans are smokers, a number that is about the same as non-Hispanic whites. Although African-American smokers generally smoke less – 13 cigarettes a day compared to 17 a day for non-Hispanic whites – African-American smokers experience more smoking-related disease and death. (See information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Why?

That is the question at root of more than 20 years of smoking research by the KU Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, performed in partnership with Swope Health.

So far, the research has led to the understanding that African-Americans metabolize nicotine more slowly, so the chemical tends to stay in the body longer, noted Nikki L. Nollen, Ph.D., a professor at the KU Cancer Center in Cancer Control and Public Health. Other factors like menthol cigarettes and stress also contribute to why African Americans experience more smoking-related disease and death.

These factors mean that African-Americans may also need different forms of treatment to stop smoking.  There are currently seven FDA approved medications for quitting smoking.  If one treatment doesn’t work, another may be needed, she added.

Tricia Snow

Tricia Snow, Project Director of Quit2Live3, with a breath analyzer used to measure chemicals in exhaled air, part of the data captured in the program.

To find out the best ways to support smoking cessation for African-Americans, Dr. Nollen is leading a new study called Quit2Live3. It is the third in a series of clinical trials or research to answer complex questions about treatment for stopping smoking. It also is a continuation of the “Kick It at Swope” research partnership launched in 1999 at Swope Health with more than 3,000 African-American smokers participating.

The research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

The KU research team Project Director Tricia Snow is now looking for 392 African-American smokers who would be willing help answer a new research question:

If a quit-smoking medication is not working, is it better to continue on the same treatment in hopes that it will start working, OR is it better to switch to another medication in hopes that the new medication will work better?

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE

To participate, you must be an African-American cigarette smoker, age 18 or older, who currently smokes from five to 30 cigarettes a day and are interested in quitting. You must be available for six office visits as Swope Health Central over the course of six months.

If you meet the qualifications, visit https://www.swopehealth.org/quit2live/ to provide some basic information and express interest in the study. There is no cost to participate and you will receive compensation for your time if you qualify.

“You have to be ready to try to quit and you’ll have to do some work,” noted Tricia, “but there is probably no better way to quit smoking. You’ll have support, education and medication.”

HOW THE TRIAL WORKS

Tricia SnowThe researchers will screen applicants for the program. Candidates must not be under substance abuse treatment within the previous year, and must be medically eligible.

When you are accepted into the program, you will be randomly assigned to be part of a group. One group of 196 participants will receive a nicotine patch and enhanced care smoking-cessation counseling throughout the course of the 24 weeks. A second group of 196 will start on a nicotine patch and enhanced care, then, depending on how well they are doing on the medication, they may be switched to one or two other quit-smoking medications (either buproprion, also known as Zyban or Wellbutrin, and/or varenicline, which is also known as Chantix).

Researchers will take regular urine samples throughout the trial to analyze the effectiveness of the medications and look at chemicals from cigarettes that are present in the body.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU

If you qualify for the program, you will receive information and care designed to help you quit smoking. You’ll receive more than four months of a quit-smoking medication – either the nicotine patch, Chantix or Zyban. There’s no cost to you for any of the treatments.

If you complete the six-month program, you can receive up to $320.

The counseling will help you build a plan for quitting, Tricia said, including steps like setting the quit date and building a support network.

“You’ll be helping us find the most effective method of treatment to help African Americans quit smoking,” Tricia said.The results of this research will help build scientific knowledge and provide important lessons in treating nicotine addiction in African Americans, she said.

“And we’ll help you learn how to live life as a non-smoker,” Tricia added.

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT THE PROGRAM

The program has worked for others. Elvin, a former study participant, said: “Quit2Live is a great program! They explain everything in detail. They make you feel welcome and are a great support system in helping you to quit smoking. I recommend this study to anyone who wants to quit.”

Another former participant, Carmen, said, “I would like to thank Kick It at Swope for changing my life. I had a wonderful support coach who made it easier than I could have imagined. I’ve smoked for 20-plus years and was able to quit in just six days! Now smoke-free for six months. Thank you!”

Are you interested in quitting smoking? Visit https://www.swopehealth.org/quit2live/ to see if you qualify.

Stop Exploitation of Vulnerability

Russ Tuttle

Russ Tuttle, president and founder of the Stop Trafficking Project, is also the director for “Be Alert” program, which educates and empowers students and guides adults from awareness to action. He is also leading a series of programs for healthcare workers at Swope Health.

When Russ Tuttle gives a presentation on sex trafficking, he enters the room like a man on a mission. Which he is.

He talks fast, telling story after story full of pain and suffering. He rattles off statistics, illustrating his tales with images, infographics and videos. He always comes back to the pain sex trafficking produces, and how it can be stopped.

Russ, president and founder of a not-for-profit organization called the Stop Trafficking Project, works every day to spread information about the issue of sex trafficking of minors in Kansas City. He is delivering a series of programs to caregivers at Swope Health, helping caseworkers and other healthcare professionals learn about the problem and how to intervene.

Through the “Be Alert” program, Russ and his organization deliver presentations to schools, churches, law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers and community groups. He estimates 5,280 students and 3,100 adults have participated in one of the Be Alert student assemblies held between January and March 2019. He has reached more than 40,000 students since the program started in 2015.

Russ’s Be Alert program delivers messages of awareness and prevention. He believes that when students, parents, caregivers and the community are educated and empowered, there is a fighting chance of making a positive impact.

What is trafficking? “Human trafficking is always the exploitation of vulnerability,” he says. This is a phrase he repeats throughout his talk, encouraging the class to say it with him as a way of driving the point home.

How can trafficking happen? It starts with a child who feels alone, can be manipulated, lacks self-esteem, or perceives they are unattractive or different. The trafficker earns a moment of trust and then gains control of the child.  The control might be a compromising photo followed by threats of telling parents or distributing the photo at school, he said. From there, the demands escalate and the child feels trapped, self-blaming, depressed or hopeless.  The traffickers prey upon those feelings, deepening a bond with the victim.

Sex Trafficking infoDoes it happen here? Yes. Based on his surveys of area students, Russ said 26 percent are engaged in activities online that make them vulnerable to predators. Additionally, 75 percent of students surveyed have seen pornography, including some as young as age 8.  Pornography is presented as “training” to vulnerable kids, he said.

Who would exploit a child for sex trafficking? Russ said it could be a family member, boyfriend, employer, friend of the family, or a stranger. He noted the influence of social media makes it easier for children and teens to encounter traffickers who disguise themselves to earn the child’s trust. The common disguises:

  • Pretender: one who acts like a boyfriend, father figure, big sister
  • Provider: one who offers clothing, food, cool items
  • Promiser: one who talks of future gifts, travel, a new lifestyle
  • Protector: one who offers physical power or intimidation to help
  • Punisher: one who uses violence or threats to take control

Why does it happen? “There are sex sellers willing to sell kids because there are sex buyers for those kids,” Russ said, noting the problem may be larger than the numbers indicate.

“Since this is the crime hidden in plain sight, many domestic minor sex trafficking – or DMST – cases don’t show up as that officially,” Russ said. “They often become abuse cases, domestic violence, or more often than not some kind of child pornography case. Part of the reason for the porn charges is because the images are almost always shared in DMST, but also because the penalties are more strict. And it’s easier to prove in court and takes less time to investigate for law enforcement.”

United States Trafficking NumbersWhat can I do? If you suspect a child is being abused, please take action:

To learn more about the issue of sex trafficking of minors:

Visit Sex Trafficking Intervention Research Center, University of Arizona: includes resources and training materials for parents and teens

Hidden in Plain Sight

Russ Tuttle

Russ Tuttle, president and founder of the Stop Trafficking Project, is also the director for “Be Alert” program, which educates and empowers students and guides adults from awareness to action. He is also leading a series of programs for healthcare workers at Swope Health.

Kansas City has a problem, but it is one you might not have heard about. Russ Tuttle wants to change that.

The problem is sex trafficking of minors. It happens when vulnerable children are exploited for sexual abuse, typically by an adult posing as a caregiver, protector or trusted friend offering acceptance or support.

Russ, president and founder of a not-for-profit organization called the Stop Trafficking Project, works every day to spread information about the issue in Kansas City. He is delivering a series of programs to caregivers at Swope Health, helping caseworkers and other healthcare professionals learn about the problem and how to intervene.

“As a healthcare provider, Swope Health is a ‘mandatory reporter’,” said Sabrina Holliman, Compliance Officer. “That means associates are obligated to report any concerns of abuse and neglect.”

“We train our associates that if they have suspicions of abuse, even if they’re not sure, it’s better to report it and do so quickly,” she said.

Human Trafficking Hotline

Associates report suspected abuse using an incident report form or calling the Human Trafficking Hotline, which coordinates with the appropriate law enforcement agency. An additional report goes to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, if the patient is under the care of the Behavioral Health department.

Swope Health also has recently added posters in all restrooms with information about human trafficking. They include important phone numbers for victims to call for help.

“We want our patients to feel safe in coming to us,” she said. “We care and we can help.”

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that at least 100,000 U.S. children are exploited in prostitution every year. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 72 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2018 in Missouri, the latest report available. Of those, 53 were sex trafficking cases.

“There are sex sellers willing to sell kids because there are sex buyers for those kids,” Russ said, noting the problem may be larger than the numbers indicate.

Law enforcement officials know that demand drives sex trafficking, Russ said.

Sex Trafficking infoSome evidence:

  • In 2009, a law enforcement sting operation in Kansas City advertised young girls for sex and drew more than 500 calls in the first 24 hours.
  • Children’s Mercy Hospital ranks in the top 5 percent in the volume of sexual assault victims seen each year in the U.S.
  • The Arizona State University’s Sex Trafficking Intervention and Research Center, which serves as a national source for research and intervention training, in a 2013 study estimated that 14.5 percent of the male population in the Kansas City region age 18 or older participated in online shopping for sex.

If you suspect a child is being abused, please take action:

To learn more about the issue of sex trafficking of minors:

In our next blog: Learn more about how vulnerable children are exploited by sex traffickers and what you can do to help prevent abuse.

Celebrating 50 years and more – put these events on your calendar!

Swope Health is celebrating 50 years of service in Kansas City. The party is about to heat up with a series of events in July, August and September – plus other community activities, too.

Mark your calendar and plan to be with us at these events:


JULY


KC Public Health and Safety Fair 2019July 13, 2019
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The 13th Annual Kansas City Public Health & Safety Fair

Swope Health will support the 13th Annual Kansas City Public Health & Safety Fair at Arrowhead Stadium Founder’s Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 13.

This free event is sponsored by Missouri Sen. S. Kiki Curls, in partnership with the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, the Black Health Care Coalition, Kansas City Missouri Police Department, RideKC, Truman Medical Centers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The event features health screenings, immunizations, student sports physicals, food and giveaways of bicycles and helmets and more. Free transportation is available.

See the event website for details: www.healthandsafetyfair.com. You can also download the event flyer (PDF).

The event is designed to raise awareness of health disparities in the minority community. The event encourages preventive care, physical activity, healthy eating and cooking habits, and more.


Swope Health Northland ClinicJuly 19, 2019
9 a.m.
Open House and Ribbon Cutting Celebration at the remodeled Swope Health Northland Clinic

Swope Health will hold an Open House and Ribbon Cutting Celebration at the remodeled Swope Health Northland Clinic, 2906 N.W. Vivion Road in Riverside, Missouri, 9 a.m., Friday, July 19.

Join us for tours of the new facility starting at 8:30 a.m. and again right after the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Enjoy light refreshments and meet our providers and team.


Swope 50 Year AnniversaryJuly 27, 2019
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Swope Health Birthday Bash

Join us for the Swope Health Birthday Bash, at Swope Central, 3801 Blue Parkway, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27.

Everyone is invited to this free party, featuring carnival games, music, dancing, arts & crafts, food, vendors and information booths and, of course, birthday cake!  Parking is available at the Mazuma lot just east of Swope Health Central.

“This is our chance to say ‘Thank you’ to all of our clients and the community,” said Michelle Keller, vice president for Community Engagement, Development and Outreach. “We can’t wait to celebrate with you.”


 AUGUST


KCPSEF_Logo_VerticalAugust 3, 2019
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Summerfest

Children of all ages are invited to celebrate and prepare for the start of the new school year at Summerfest, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, August 3.

Swope Health will participate in the event, which spreads over two square blocks at the Kansas City Public Schools Board of Education Park, 2901 Troost Ave.

The event features live entertainment, athletic competitions, educational games and free food.  Students can register for a free backpack, school supplies and a T-Shirt, and can visit with teachers and principals of the Kansas City Public Schools at the event.  The celebration is sponsored by the Kansas City Public Schools Education Foundation.


NHCW 2019 logoAugust 4-10, 2019
National Health Center Week

Swope Health recognizes National Health Center Week, August 4-10, 2019, with a series of community events. The National Health Center Week celebrates the role centers like Swope Health perform in the community – providing high-quality healthcare, improving health outcomes and narrowing disparities in care. Nationally, health centers provide care to more than 28 million patients.

At Swope Health, Wednesday, Aug. 7, will be Patient Appreciation Day. Working with United Healthcare, we will offer healthy treats for all.

On Friday, Aug. 9, there will be a special barbecue luncheon to raise funds for the homeless program. Stay tuned for additional activities in the community throughout the week.


SEPTEMBER


Swope Golf TournamentSeptember 16, 2019
50th Anniversary Golf Tournament

Are you a golfer? Here’s your chance to practice your swing while celebrating at our 50th Anniversary Golf Tournament.

The event will be held Monday, Sept. 16, at the Hillcrest Golf Club, 8200 Hillcrest Road, Kansas City, Missouri.

The event is open to teams of four or individual players for a sponsorship fee. The event includes contests in driving and putting, as well as food, games and special “goodie bags” for all participants.

The best part:  all proceeds from the Tournament will go to the Swope Health Patients In Need fund.

Find more details and register at Swope Health Golf Tournament.

 

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<categories: SH events, Our Community>

Swope Health Artist Featured in 9th Annual Expressions Art Exhibit [VIDEO]

Artist Antwan PettisSnakes and spiders give most of us the creeps, but for Antwan Pettis, they are his inspiration and reason behind two of his passions: art and gardening. For those brave enough to come face to face with a snake, you’ll want to check out his artwork now on display as part of The Whole Person’s  9th Annual Expressions Art Exhibit.

Antwan participates in both the gardening and arts programs as part of Swope Health’s Adult Day Program. Here, he finds safe, supportive outlets for his energy, creativity and curiosity.

Kansas City Young Audiences

One of his images – a close-up illustration of the deadly puff adder snake – was recently selected by a panel of art experts to be included in the exhibit at Kansas City Young Audiences, 3732 Main St., Kansas City, MO. The exhibit showcases artists with disabilities, celebrating their abilities and unique talents.

The show adds diversity to the Kansas City arts community and introduces audiences to art that otherwise might not be presented. The ninth annual exhibit will run at various locations throughout the community through February 2020. Antwan’s art, like the others on display, is available for sale after the show ends.

Swope Health Arts Program

In the arts program, part of the Adult Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (CPRP), led by Carolyn Graves, Community Support Specialist, Antwan learned a variety of techniques for drawing and working with markers, pastels and chalk. Combining his love of snakes, spiders, insects and reptiles with his art, he found a productive way to fuel both passions – as exemplified in his work in the exhibit.

Pettis Puff AdderWhy a puff adder?

“I think it’s a very fascinating snake because of its patterns and its dual venom,” Antwan said. “It looks just like the rocks and debris it lives in. And it is both hemotoxic and neurotoxic.” Antwan explains that the snake’s venom attacks the blood as well as the nervous system of its prey. He learned about puff adders and related snakes in school, and is quick to note that he is always learning more.

Volunteering at Lakeside Nature Center

As a volunteer at Lakeside Nature Center for the last six years, he frequently works with birds of prey and wild animals. His goal is to become a reptile rehabilitator – one who works with injured reptiles.

Part of his learning process involves personal research. He enjoys visiting area woods with his friends, where they look for snakes in the wild. If he finds any, he identifies the species and its gender, he measures it and estimates its age, and takes a picture. He keeps a detailed record of his findings.

His interests in gardening also ties back to his fascination with insects and reptiles. When he learned that a friend’s rhinoceros iguana enjoys vegetables, he decided to take his share of eggplant and tomatoes from the Swope Health Day Program’s garden to the iguana.

Drawing Comic Books

In addition to his interest in reptiles, he also draws comic books, sometimes featuring mythological beasts like Cerberus or the Hydra.  Antwan said he always enjoyed drawing and began developing his skills in high school under the attention of a caring art teacher.

Lenise James, Community Support Specialist, notes that Antwan has exhibited artwork before, at the Creations of Hope Gallery in Topeka, part of the Valeo Behavioral Health Care Center, as well as at the Midwest Ability Summit, an expo for the metro area organizations serving people with disabilities and older adults, as well as families, caregivers and healthcare professionals. He has also exhibited and sold items at the Swope Health Holiday Mart.

You can find more examples of artwork produced by Antwan and other participants in the art program at Swope Heath Services, 3801 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, Mo., on exhibit in the main hallway of Building C.

Child Abuse Prevention: All Children Deserve Great Childhoods

National Child Abuse Prevention

National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, while promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families.

At Swope Health, you can find events each week in April – all designed to increase awareness, provide education, and offer support and resources to prevent child abuse and neglect. Here is the rundown of activities:

Week 1

National Child Abuse Prevention: Blue PinwheelsFind blue pinwheels in front of Swope Health Central on Blue Parkway in Kansas City, Mo. Since 2008, the pinwheel has been a symbol for the “Pinwheels for Prevention” campaign.

“These pinwheels represent the great childhoods all children deserve and the prevention efforts that help them happen,” said Margaux Lemmones, Clinical Supervisor for Children’s Therapy and Adolescent Substance Use Disorder.

Friday, April 5, is the National Go Blue Day – a day to wear blue as a reminder of the importance of taking action to prevent child abuse. At Swope Health, staffers wearing National Child Abuse Prevention T-shirts will gather for a group photo, standing together to support prevention efforts.

Week 2

On Friday, April 12, associates from the Behavioral Health department will set up a table in the lobby of Swope Health Central, 3801 Blue Parkway, in Kansas City, Mo. to share information on ways to prevent child abuse. Visitors to the table will receive a pinwheel (while supplies last) along with materials like self-care for parents, resources for parents, important phone numbers and educational materials.

Week 3

For Swope Health associates, there will be a special program teaching ways to prevent child abuse from occurring and the importance of self-care for parents/caregivers/direct care providers that work with children.

Week 4

On Friday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Behavioral Health associates will host an art activity in the Children’s Conference Room on the second floor.  Anyone who stops by can participate in an art activity to decorate a hexagon. At the end of the day, all the hexagons will be compiled together, interlinked.

“It’s a great reminder that each of us is a part of something greater, and we are all part of a community that cares about keeping kids safe,” said Margaux. “Each life touches the lives of others and, when we work together, we can prevent child abuse.”

During the month of April and throughout the year, Swope Health also runs a Caregiver Support Group that focuses on teaching how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are a predictor of being at greater risk for alcoholism, depression, drug use, financial stress, suicide attempts, and more.

The support group helps caregivers understand how their own traumas may affect the way they parent, Margaux said. The group promotes self-care and healing for the caregivers as a way to break generational cycles of abuse.

“We want to create healthy environments for families to thrive,” Margaux said.

If you have questions about preventing child abuse or neglect, call 816-777-9892 to talk with one of the Swope Health Behavioral Health associates about resources or services.

Additional Resources from the Children’s Bureau:

The Children’s Bureau, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sponsors the annual Child Abuse Prevention Month activities nationally. The organization also provides resources and information on ways to improve the lives of children:

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.