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.

National Health Center Week a Big Success!

Swope Health Services celebrated National Health Center Week, Aug. 14-18, with an array of activities and events designed to recognize the ways SHS serves as a foundation of health in our community.

SHS was joined by health centers across the country in showcasing the unique model of care that health centers exemplify.

Events focused on highlighting the ways in which health centers serve the true needs of their communities, recognizing the invaluable staff and board members that make health centers work, expressing appreciation for the support of elected officials, and celebrating health centers as the key to healthy communities.

Celia Ruiz with UnitedHealthcare Community Plan was at Swope Health Service’s clinic on Leavenworth Road in KCK. In addition to sharing information about the plan, she brought healthy snacks for patients and staff.

Here’s a rundown of some of the ways we at SHS specifically recognized the work to create healthier communities:

  • Third Annual Leadership Speakers’ program: SHS sponsored a luncheon seminar featuring Bill Colby, vice president and general counsel of Truman Medical Centers.
    Colby is the author of Long Goodbye: The Deaths of Nancy Cruzan, and his discussion focused on the landmark legal case that is the subject of that book.Colby and the audience explored key questions prompted by the Cruzan family’s experience, including What is the purpose of medicine? When do we use it? Does an individual’s right to life and liberty include a right to say when to stop medical treatment? These questions are prominent in situations healthcare providers face daily and led to a lively discussion.
  • SHS Night at the T-Bones: In the spirit of celebration, SHS associates were cheered at the Friday night game at the T-Bones baseball game.
  • Burgers & Brainteasers: SHS sponsored a fundraising trivia contest to generate support for the SHS Patients in Need fund. Once again, the event was a sell-out at the Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill.
  • Other activities during the jam-packed week included a pantry drive for our Homeless Outreach; the “thank a provider” partnership with UnitedHealthcare, complete with healthy treats for patients and staff; a pizza party from HomeStateHealth at SHS Central, and delivery of ice cream treats for associates all kept the appreciation theme in the forefront all week.

According to the national Health Center Advocacy Network, nearly 700 health centers held more than 1,800 events during the week of celebration. The activities included health screenings, appreciations for special populations and focus on children’s health. Nationwide, more than 80 members of Congress participated in National Health Center Week events.

You can be certain we’ll be back in the celebration again next year – National Health Center Week will be August 12-18, 2018!


Ice cream was part of the celebration for National Health Centers Week.


The Westport Flea Market was the scene of the Burgers & Brainteasers kickoff for the week’s events. The event supported the SHS Patients in Need Fund.

Bill Colby presented at the Third Annual Leadership Speakers’ program as part of the week’s celebration. The luncheon event included a book signing and discussion of the role of medicine.


SHS capped the week’s celebration with a night at the T-Bones!

Dr. Karmen Smith Leads Discussion at SHS on the Power of Forgiveness

DrSmithEvent (3)For Dr. Karmen Smith, the Swope Health Services community luncheon Friday, Aug. 12, in celebration of National Health Center Week, was a bit of a homecoming.

Dr. Smith, a trauma specialist and licensed clinical social worker with more than 25 years’ experience, has deep ties with SHS. Her mother, Kanzetta Harris, was a longtime social worker at SHS. In 1989, SHS opened a residential housing facility and named it The Kanzetta Harris House to commemorate her work.

Dr. Smith led a discussion with about 75 people on the power of forgiveness, drawing upon her book, The “I Am” Solution, as well as lessons from her mother.

Dr. Smith told how her mother was called out late one night to help with a domestic abuse issue. A husband had beaten his wife, she was at the hospital and he was on his way to jail. “Bless his heart,” she recalled her mother saying. Dr. Smith, then age 14, corrected her mother: You mean bless her heart. She’s the one who’s hurt. But Mrs. Harris said no, we have to see him as he was created. He didn’t set out to be like that.

DrSmithEvent (2)“We are born loving. We are born precious, and wanting to explore this beautiful world,” she said. “And then something happens to us. We feel we’re not good enough, we think are separate and different. And then we listen to that fear.”

Fear and trauma are everywhere. Trauma can come from bullying, divorce, conflict and painful situations. Trauma and the fear it generates will drive negative actions, like running on a human hamster wheel, she said.
Fear can change us, she said, creating resentment, anger and blaming. By holding on to those emotions, you harm yourself, not the person you resent or direct anger toward.

“We are all connected,” she said. “There is only one spirit, only one life. If we got that as a society, the world would be so much different.”

And change is possible.

“It all starts with you,” she said. “You have to recognize it. You have the power to change yourself. And that can change the world.”

At the conclusion of her discussion, Dr. Harris presented a check for $5,000 in honor of her mother to Swope Health Services.

The SHS Behavioral Health Department provides services to adults, children and families. If you have questions about how we can help you or someone you care about, call us at 816-922-1070.

DrSmithEvent (1)

Celebrate National Health Center Week with us!

At Swope Health Services, we’re joining forces with 1,200 community health centers to celebrate National Health Center Week, Aug. 7-13, 2016.

BBB 2016National Health Center Week is a time designated to celebrate the critical role of community health centers in caring for the medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

In honor of National Health Center Week, SHS is hosting two events:

  • Burgers, Brews, and Brainteasers: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5 at the Westport Flea Market. An evening of trivia, with raffles, a burger bar, drink specials and fun, with all proceeds supporting the SHS Patients In Need fund. Tickets are $25.
  • Community Luncheon featuring author Dr. Karmen Smith: 11:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at the Kauffman Foundation. Tickets are $45 and include a copy of Dr. Smith’s book, The “I Am” Solution.
Dr. Karmen Smith

Dr. Karmen Smith

Why celebrate community health and community health centers? Community Health Centers:

  • Serve more than 24 million people in all 50 states
  • Generate $24 billion in savings for the national health system annually
  • Deliver primary and preventive care services, including screening, diagnosis, and management of chronic illnesses
  • Offer enabling services including transportation, case management, health education and community programming

We’re honored to be part of the national celebration as a community health center serving the greater Kansas City region. We are proud of our mission and work: Improving the health and wellness of the community by delivering accessible, quality, comprehensive patient care.

Be part of the SHS community. Join us at one of our events or call us at 816-923-5800 to make an appointment for health care services. Same-day appointments are available.