October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthPink ribbons are a reminder that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As the pink ribbons and other pink items show up everywhere, they remind us that breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, affecting about one in eight women.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that most women can survive breast cancer if it is found and treated early. That’s why having a mammogram, the screening test for breast cancer, is so important.

Swope Health provides mammograms for women referred by their provider. The exam takes place in the radiology lab and most appointments take less than 30 minutes, said Claire Holland, Manager of Radiology. The Radiology team also provides free breast cancer awareness materials and health care tips year-round.

Mammograms are important in detecting breast cancer because sometimes, people with breast cancer have no symptoms and the cancer may not be big enough to feel. According to the Society of Breast Imaging, about 75 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no specific identifiable risk factors.

Breast cancer most commonly affects women over age 50, but about 10 percent of new breast cancer cases are found in women under age 45. The American College of Radiology (ACR) notes that it is especially important for African-American women to receive screenings, because African-American women are at a higher risk for breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthAfrican-American women:

  • Are 42 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women, despite roughly equal rates of cancer.
  • Have a two-fold higher risk of aggressive cancers.
  • Are less likely to be diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer, but twice as likely to die from early breast cancer.
  • Have a higher risk of genetic mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2, which indicate a much higher risk for breast cancer.

Swope Health follows guidelines of the American College of Radiology, which encourages women to receive a baseline screening at age 35 to 40, and then a mammogram annually from age 40 on. At Swope Health, a mammography tracking system is set up to notify patients when annual mammograms are due.

“Finding cancer early increases the odds of successful treatment,” Claire said. “It’s all about saving lives.”

Learn more about breast cancer from these resources, or schedule an appointment to talk with your provider at Swope Health. We offer a full range of women’s health services, including mammograms, well-woman exams, family planning and prenatal care. Call 816-923-5800 for an appointment.

Learn about Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding WeekSabrina Holliman, Chief Compliance Officer at Swope Health, is getting ready for a new challenge – she will become a first-time mom within a few months.

When she started wondering about breastfeeding, she didn’t have to look far for information. She turned to her colleagues for answers. Treva Smith, a Community Education Specialist in the dental department, has dedicated nearly 20 years to studying, educating and advocating breastfeeding. Treva also serves as member of the Board of Directors of the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition.

Swope Health Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week, sponsored by the World Health Organization and other groups, is the first week of August each year. The theme this year is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding.”

Swope Health’s WIC clinic held a Breastfeeding Resource Fair for moms and moms-to-be. The community-wide baby shower promoted breastfeeding and offered food, games and gifts for moms and kids, plus a raffle for special prizes.

The event was sponsored by Home State Health, Missouri Care and United HealthCare.

Swope Resources

Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Jennifer Jones and Swope Health’s WIC Department are also great resources for new moms and moms-to be. The WIC Program, provides supplemental nutrition for low-income Women, Infants and Children and offers extra incentives like breast pumps for breastfeeding moms. The program supports breastfeeding moms with a wealth of education, resources and referrals, plus a personal connection.

“We offer breastfeeding counseling for prenatal and new moms, and education for the whole family,” said Jennifer Jones, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for WIC at Swope Health. “We educate the entire support system – moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, cousins or friends.”

Sabrina’s top questions were ones Swope Health’s breastfeeding support team has heard from other moms-to-be:

  • Where do I start in making a choice between breastfeeding and formula feeding?
Breastfeeding Week

Breastfeeding advocates at Swope Health include these members of the WIC team, from left, Lakeisha Davis, Program Coordinator; Terri Johnson, WIC Certifier; Ramona Mills, WIC Certifier; and Jennifer Jones, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor. The team also includes Breastfeeding Peer Counselors Shunte Johnson and Sherri Tauheed.

WIC is a good place to start, Jennifer notes. The federal program provides facts about infant nutrition as well as benefits of breastfeeding.

  • Should I expect breastfeeding to hurt in the beginning? Or does that mean I’m doing something wrong?

Sometimes women hear about pain in breastfeeding, but that is overcome with learning correct latching methods, Jennifer said. Initial soreness and tenderness is completely normal, and peer counselors can help with assuring a good latch and help check for issues like a plugged milk duct, infection or engorgement.

  • I understand it takes 2-5 days to change from producing colostrum to milk. Do I need to supplement with formula during that time?

Colostrum is the first milk produced, right after birth. It is typically thick and yellowish, and is full of the nutrients the baby needs in those first hours and days. You would use a supplement only if the baby isn’t nursing, she said.

  • How will I know if the baby is getting enough milk?

At birth, a baby’s tummy is about the size of a marble, and after 10 days, it’s about the size of a ping-pong ball. So it doesn’t take much to fill up a baby, Jennifer said. The best signs are if the baby seems happy after feedings, and if the baby is growing and gaining weight. There is also a series of indicators in the baby’s diapers, based on the number, type and colors of the baby’s poop – and this is the kind of info you’ll learn in more detail in classes or discussions with a peer counselor, she added.

  • When I go back to work, should I maintain the pump schedule?

Jennifer recommends continuing on a schedule, or at least every three hours. She notes it is important to maintain production for your baby.

The Swope Health WIC team welcomed Sabrina’s questions – and those from any moms or moms-to-be in the community.

“We’re passionate about empowering and educating moms on breastfeeding, which can improve health outcomes for babies and moms,” Jennifer said.

Research has shown that babies fed breast milk have less sickness, asthma and allergies. Babies get antibodies for immune system support and gut health as well as brain stimulation during breastfeeding. For moms, breastfeeding is linked to less osteoporosis and reduced risk of cancer. It can improve mental health by stimulating the hormones that help women through postpartum. Bonding between mom and baby helps with calmness and a better mental state for both, Jennifer noted.

The WIC program offers two breastfeeding classes, scheduled every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, which cover all aspects of breastfeeding. Classes start with details about what to expect, during and after pregnancy, including changes in anatomy. Moms learn how to help the baby latch correctly and how to hold the baby in the way that is best for both. There is also discussion of community resources, like Medicaid support for pumps, meal planning and all the other aspects of life that can affect breastfeeding.

The WIC team also works to challenge stigmas around breastfeeding, emphasizing the benefits of supporting women. In recent years, employers have evolved to provide time and comfortable rooms for moms to pump milk. Employers have learned that if the baby is healthy, Mom will be less likely to need to take unscheduled time off for sickness or doctor’s visits, Jennifer said.  Swope Health employees use the lactation room in WIC, a private and comfortable space to express milk during work hours.

“We prepare moms as best we can,” Jennifer said. “We know it’s one thing to learn and it’s another to experience it firsthand! We’re here to help with questions anytime. We work with moms in the clinic and provide referrals if the mom needs additional help, like with a healthcare provider or a lactation consultant.”

Sabrina said she was happy to learn answers to her questions, with resources so readily available right where she works.

“It’s wonderful to feel so supported by Swope Health,” she said. “I’m so glad to have such wonderful resources right here for all moms.”

Got 30 minutes? Get a Mammogram.

toolkit_badge_OctPink ribbons are popping up everywhere, an effective reminder of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every October this national and international campaign, organized by major breast cancer research non-profits, kicks into gear to emphasize awareness of the disease and teach prevention tips.

Swope Health Services supports breast cancer awareness by providing year-round mammogram services, said Claire Holland, Manager of Radiology. During October as well as the rest of the year, the Radiology Department also provides free breast cancer awareness information and health care tips.

“If you have a mammogram, it can change your life,” Claire said. “A lot of cancers can’t be found without a mammogram – it’s important to be checked. The quicker a problem is found, the easier the treatment. If untreated, over time, it spreads and the risk increases.”

Claire noted that most visits take about 30 minutes, with the actual mammogram lasting about eight minutes.

She recalled an instance last year in which a mother and daughter came in together. The mother was afraid to get a mammogram – her last one, years earlier, had shown an abnormality but she never followed up. As a result, she was fearful, Claire said.

But her daughter encouraged her, and both were screened. The results came back normal.

“It was a cool thing,” Claire said. “She would never have gotten it done, but her daughter pushed her. Now she doesn’t have to be afraid.”

A mammogram is just one of the steps you can take toward breast health, Claire said. Other steps focus on healthy lifestyle habits, understanding personal risk, knowing the signs and symptoms, and learning how to detect changes in your breasts.

BreastCancerMortality_1200x630The signs and symptoms can include any change in the size or shape of breasts, pain in any areas, nipple discharge or the presence of any lump.

But mammograms are important, because some people with breast cancer have no symptoms at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  A mammogram won’t prevent cancer, but it can help find it early, when it is easier to treat.

The World Health Organization reports that breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, with about 1.4 million new cases each year. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, in the US, breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women (after skin cancer). About one in eight women in the US will get breast cancer.

So, take action: schedule a visit with your provider today. Call 816-923-5800 for an appointment; to schedule your mammogram, call 816-599-5870.

Do you need a mammogram?

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists encourages women to discuss their health and risks with their provider and take an active approach to managing their own health care. The goal is to encourage and support women in making informed, individualized decisions about when to start screening, how often to be screened and when to end screening.

Here are the general guidelines for screening:

  • Women at average risk of breast cancer should be screened at age 40.
  • At age 50, if a woman has not had a mammogram screening, she should.
  • Women with average risk of breast cancer should have follow-up mammogram screenings every year or every other year.
  • Screenings should continue until about age 75, for women at average risk.

Find more details on the ACOG recommendations here.

Resources:

Celebrating Moms and Healthy Babies

Ahkeya Howard

Ahkeya Howard, SHS Lead Community Health Worker and a licensed clinical social worker, shows off some of the many resources available to participants in the Healthy Start Initiative.

At Swope Health Services’ Healthy Start Initiative, every day is Mother’s Day.

The program, operating at SHS Central and Wyandotte, is where pregnant women and moms can find support for just about any need. About 80 women are now enrolled.

Healthy Start is a federal program, offered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) department of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, to support healthy pregnancy and early childhood.

The Kansas City Healthy Start Initiative operates at SHS and at Samuel Rodgers Health Center as a program of the Mother & Child Health Coalition.

Kansas City Healthy Start supports eligible women from certain zip codes in Jackson (MO) and Wyandotte (KS) counties where infant mortality rates are higher than average.

The free program helps pregnant women and women with children under the age of 2 get information and services they need to have a healthy pregnancy, raise a healthy family, and keep themselves healthy and strong.

After enrolling, each participant is assigned a community health worker. Each program starts with an exploration, said Ahkeya Howard, SHS Lead Community Health Worker and a licensed clinical social worker.

“We talk about your needs,” Ahkeya said. “We ask questions and provide support. We are here for you.”

That support can be personal – encouragement, advocacy, listening and training. It can also be tangible items, like diapers (provided by Happy Bottoms), baby cribs and car seats.

For example, when mothers complete Safe Sleep Training provided by community health workers and Infant Loss Resources, they are eligible to receive a free portable playpen/napper.

Each participant is encouraged to set goals, which can also range from personal (practicing better coping skills or relationship building) to professional (enrolling in training, getting a degree or finding a job).

If needed, the support extends to finding housing, transportation, food and signing up for other benefits like health insurance.

Participants typically visit the program once a month, and the goals are re-examined and reset every six months. The program, typically covering the span from a child’s birth until age 2, focuses on key topics of relationships, education, employment, health, mental health, basic essentials and child development.

“It’s important to think about the future, about what will be best for your child,” Ahkeya said. “We’re your cheerleaders and we want to see you succeed.”

This month, the “cheerleaders” organized a special drawing for two baskets filled with treats designed to pamper new moms. All the items were donated by associates in WIC and Healthy Start, and all visitors to either program in the month of May were entered into the drawing.

“There’s something to celebrate every day,” Ahkeya said. “Happy moms and healthy babies are our favorite reasons.”

To learn more about the Healthy Start Initiative, ask your SHS OB-GYN or pediatric provider or talk with Ahkeya Howard at SHS Central or by phone at (816) 599-5791.

The staff of the WIC and Healthy Start Initiative

The staff of the WIC and Healthy Start Initiative donated items to create two gift baskets as another way to celebrate moms in their programs.

Birthday Kits Celebrate Moms and Moms-to-Be!

birthday

Hawthorne109, a boutique featuring fashion and gifts from local Kansas City businesses, is celebrating its one-year anniversary in the City Market in April.

That’s reason enough for the shop’s owners to extend the party to Swope Health Services in a unique and festive way:  birthday celebration kits.

The kits, each featuring a cake mix, frosting, candles and decorative items, will be given to moms and moms-to-be in our OB/GYN department while supplies last.

The giveaways will occur throughout April and May, said Bobby Mickens, SHS Director of Nursing.

“These kits are a fun way to show our new moms and moms-to-be just how much we—and the community—care about them and their babies,” said Bobby.

“The timing is perfect, too, as we’ve recently renovated the Women’s Health Clinic and hope to welcome more moms into the SHS family.”

Hawthorne109 is enlisting support from the entire City Market community from now to April 30. The shop will host a special “Cake Day” April 21 offering customers complimentary cupcakes from Bloom Baking Co., 15 E. Third St., Kansas City, MO, to encourage support for birthday kits.

Visit Hawthorne109 at 400 S. Grand Boulevard to learn more about this drive and shop the fashion and gift items from local Kansas City businesses.

Our talented OB/GYN team is ready to care for you. Look to us for all your women’s health needs, including pre-natal and post-partum care. Schedule an appointment today by calling 816-923-5800.

Shiny, Sparkling New Facilities Unveiling at SHS

Open HouseAt long last, the dust is settling at Swope Health Services as three major renovation projects are coming to completion.

  • Behavioral Health Children’s Services

The north side of the second floor of building B at Central Facility is now home to an integrated Children’s Services Center. The new center is securely separated from adult services, and includes room for new services.

The total renovation of the 5,200-square-foot area cost $300,000, and took about four months of intense construction.

The project included creation of a new lobby and reception area, a community conference room, a “grand room” for groups of 30, a children’s playroom, two new treatment rooms, three new provider offices and a much-needed storage room. Additional renovation upgraded the staff breakroom, cubicles and hallways.

The result is bright and lively, full of vibrant colors.

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The new playroom in the Childrens’ Services Center is packed with games and toys in a fun space.

“It’s a friendly and welcoming environment,” said Josette Mitchell, Director of the Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program. “That’s by design. If you feel good about where you go, that’s an aid to the healing process.”

The project was designed by Bell/Knott & Associates Architects of Leawood, Kansas, and construction was performed by Purdum Construction of Overland Park, Kansas.

Mark your calendars for the Grand Opening: 8 a.m. Friday, March 30.

  • Pediatrics/OB-GYN Expansion

Debbie Meads, Program Manager, shuffled departments and clinics for about a year to make room for a vastly expanded Pediatrics and OB-GYN service area.

In Pediatrics, there are now 15 treatment rooms, up from 10. The Obstetrics clinic grew from nine rooms to 23, with space to support seven providers.

“The new spaces are designed for improved efficiency and workflow,” Debbie noted, “and include better infection control procedures for testing, easier access to weight stations, and new Neonatal Stress Testing rooms.”

Some of the additions in OB-GYN – like wall-mounted vital signs monitors – speed up examinations, as medical assistants no longer have to wheel in mobile units. Plus, the readings from the monitors now flow directly into the patient’s electronic medical records, reducing potential for errors in transcribing the data.

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The Pediatrics team in one of the new exam rooms.

“It’s faster for the staff and that means faster care for the patients, too,” Debbie said.

Dr. Kenneth Thomas, Chief Medical Officer and Pediatrician, said: “It’s a beautiful place for kids – full of healthy, educational and creative themes to stimulate kids’ minds and creativity and build strong habits.”

But, he added, “The beauty is just a bonus – the most important thing is how we’ve expanded.

We now have the capacity to see more patients and provide a higher level of service. We want to be a place our patients are proud to come to, a place our patients want to be.”

The final phases of construction are wrapping up this month.

This project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number C8DCS29675 Renovation of SHS-Central Pediatrics & OB/GYN Clinics with an award of $1 million with $800,000 financed with nongovernmental sources.

The project encompassed 12,955 square feet, or about 10 percent of the entire Central facility. The design work was completed by Garcia Architecture LLC of Kansas City, and Purdum Construction handled construction.

The Pediatrics and OB-GYN Grand Opening will be at 8 a.m. Friday, May 11.

  • Imani House Renovation
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The new computer lab at Imani House.

SHS’s Imani House is a freestanding facility for substance abuse treatment, just behind SHS Central, at 3950 E. 51st St. The 10,733-square-foot facility was updated from top to bottom in this project, which began in 2016 and cost more than $655,000.

There are two new group rooms, a conference room and a new six-station computer lab. There’s also a workout space, plus all new offices and remodeled group meeting spaces throughout.

“These renovations, along with new programming, have shifted the atmosphere into one clients and associates alike can be proud of,” said Andrea Buford, Director of Clinical Operations, Behavioral Health.

“This aids in our goal to make Imani House the premiere treatment facility of choice in Kansas City.”

The project was designed by Bell/Knott & Associates Architects with construction performed by Purdum Construction.

The finishing touches will await warmer weather – that’s when the new landscaping will be added, just in time for the grand opening.

The Imani House Grand Opening will be 8 a.m. Friday, April 20.

Please add these dates to your calendars and plan to join us to see the changes for yourself.

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The OB-GYN team in their new workroom.

 

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One of the new conference rooms at Imani House.

 

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There’s bright and whimsical artwork throughout the new Pediatrics clinic.

 

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An example of the built-in vital signs monitors in the new Ob/Gyn clinic exam rooms.

 

Show some Heart – Wear Red!

heart logoFebruary is American Heart Month!

Swope Health Services will participate in National Wear Red Day on Friday, Feb. 2, in support of the campaign to raise awareness of how heart disease affects women.

Here are some facts about heart disease, stroke and women:

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Every 80 seconds, a woman is killed by heart disease and stroke. That’s 1 in 3 deaths among women each year.
  • Eighty percent of these deaths can be prevented with education and action – steps like managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, reducing blood sugar, being more active, eating better, losing weight and stopping smoking.
  • Warning signs for women are not the same as in men. The most common symptom of heart attack in men and women is chest pain or discomfort. But women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain as symptoms.
  • Stroke disproportionally affects African-Americans. African-American women have almost two times the risk of stroke than Caucasians, and are more likely to die at an earlier age when compared to women of other ethnicities.
  • Of African-American women age 20 or older, 49 percent have heart diseases. But only 1 in 5 African-American women will believe she is personally at risk.

“That’s why we love to see everyone to wearing red on Friday, Feb. 2,” said Bobby Mickens, SHS Director of Nursing. “We want everyone to take a moment to think about heart disease and learn about your own heart health. Especially women, who are less likely to be aware of their own risks for heart disease.”

Wearing red is a start, but please don’t stop there, she added.

“What’s the No. 1 thing you can do for yourself?” Bobby asks. “The answer: Schedule a physical exam.”

In this examination, she said, your provider will check your blood pressure, height and weight. There may be other screenings, like cholesterol and blood sugar levels, if you haven’t had those checked in a couple of years. Once you know your numbers, your provider can help you take steps to control your risks of heart disease.

Call us at 816-923-5800 to make an appointment.

Here are some key resources from the American Heart Association:

See you in Red!

 

Go Red for Women Media Room

 

Think Pink: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

takeaction_infographic_africanamericanGet ready to see lots of pink!

The American Cancer Society has designated October “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” and SHS wants to make sure you’re in the know.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, affecting one in eight women in the United States, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It’s the second-leading cause of cancer death in women.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages women to learn about their family medical history because some women are at a higher risk for breast cancer because of genetic factors.

Getting a screening or mammogram regularly can lower the risk of death from breast cancer.

Most women with average risk – that is, women without a specific family or genetic history of breast cancer – should talk with their provider about when to start screenings and how frequently to get them.

For average-risk women from 50 to 74 years old, the recommended screening is every two years.

From Monday, Oct. 16, to Friday, Oct. 20, getting a mammogram is even easier.

If it’s been at least a year since your last screening, you are 40 years or older and have a provider’s order for a mammogram, you can walk in for a regular screening during these hours:

  • 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
  • 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday

Regular fees apply.

Bobby Mickens, SHS Interim Director of Nursing and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, notes that mammograms are covered by most health insurance programs.

Women who don’t have insurance may be eligible for other programs that cover mammograms. She encourages women to talk with providers about any concerns about breast cancer.

“Breast health is part of our regular well-women visits and it is a topic I like to raise with all my women patients,” she said. “I want every woman to know her own breasts, so if you see something abnormal you recognize it and contact us.”

SHS provides a full range of women’s health services including mammograms, well-woman exams, family planning and pre-natal care. To make an appointment, call 816-923-5800.

Resources:

Men: You are NOT Exempt

You might not realize that men also have breast tissue and can be diagnosed with breast cancer.

After all, cancer can appear in nearly any cells, including those in the tissue around a man’s nipples.

The American Cancer Society says breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than women. Men have a one in 1,000 chance of getting breast cancer. In 2017, according to the American Cancer Society, about:

  • 2,470 new cases of breast cancer in men will be diagnosed
  • 500 men will die from breast cancer

Men’s symptoms of breast cancer are the same as women’s, including an abnormal lump or swelling, or unusual discharge from the nipple.

Sometimes, because men have less breast tissue, the cancer can reach lymph nodes more quickly, even before a lump can be detected. That’s why it’s important to be aware.

Men, if you see any breast changes, talk with a health care professional.

We are available: call 816-923-5800 for an appointment.

It’s Time To Think About Your Heart

heartFebruary is full of reminders about love – there’s Cupid with his bow and arrow and the color red splashed on just about everything.

There’s even National Wear Red Day, February 3, just to remind you to think about your heart.

Did you know heart disease…

  • is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year?
  • strikes more women than men?
  • kills more women than all forms of cancer – combined?

The American Heart Association estimates 80 percent of all cardiovascular disease may be preventable.

Bobby Mickens, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and Director of Women’s Services, says misconceptions about heart disease, especially in women, can lead to disastrous consequences. Symptoms for women can be subtle and might go unrecognized — shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

“There are choices you can make to keep your heart healthy,” says Bobby. Here are a few of her tips and recommendations:

  • Learn more about your family’s history of heart disease. This is important because your risk for heart disease is strongly linked to your family history. Know who suffered from it and who may have passed away because of it and at what age.
  • Come in for a wellness exam. A well-woman exam includes an assessment of your physical health – your cholesterol, body-mass index, blood sugar, weight and blood pressure. Combined, those results can assess your risks of heart disease or stroke.
  • Build a “get healthy” plan with your healthcare provider. There are things you can do to improve your health, such as taking steps to stop smoking, increasing your amount of exercise, eating healthier and controlling blood pressure and diabetes.

“We have programs to help with every step of your healthcare plan, to help you achieve optimal health,” said Bobby. “Let’s work together to get healthier.”

References:

Why not take the first step today?  Call 816-923-5800 to schedule your well-woman appointment.