Tag Archives: Community

Our Healthy Kansas City Eastside receives $5 million for community health initiative

The Jackson County Legislature approved $5 million to continue community health initiatives through Our Healthy Eastside Kansas City, based on the success of the coalition’s impact on COVID-19 and community health from its original funding in 2021.

Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., professor in the UMKC School of Medicine and director of the university’s Health Equity Institute, is leading the project. The funding will expand COVID-19 vaccinations, health screenings, reproductive services to address infant mortality and successful diabetes prevention programs in Kansas City’s Eastside. This funding is a continuation of the program’s initial $5 million grant.

Our Healthy KC Eastside is a community-wide initiative that promotes and delivers widespread COVID-19 vaccinations and other health services to residents on the east side of Kansas City. More than 60 community organizations and health agencies are partnering with OHKCE to support healthy lifestyles through vaccine events and health screenings such as blood pressure checks, diabetes screenings and dental education. OHKCE health agency partners include the UMKC schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing and Health Sciences, Children’s Mercy Hospital and University Health.

As part of the OHKCE initiative, more than 3,000 Kansas City residents completed surveys on their health beliefs, which showed that indifference or fear was not always behind low vaccination rates. Often, transportation or access to health care were factors. Providing health care delivery in community hubs on weekends and evenings provided better availability.

“This is a significant advance in assuring accessible and preventative health services are available to Jackson County residents,” Berkley-Patton says. “Our success with Our Healthy Eastside Kansas City is evidence that working collaboratively with community and health partners can greatly increase the reach of health care in the most underserved neighborhoods and have a positive impact on our entire community.”

“As a provider of community health and regional health education, UMKC recognizes the significance of this funding on our community,” UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal says. “We thank the Jackson County Legislature for their leadership on this issue, and congratulate Dr. Berkley Patton on her dedication to high quality healthcare delivery to every citizen of Jackson County.”

School of Medicine alumna, faculty member Amy Patel is 2022 Chiefs’ Fan of the Year

The Kansas City Chiefs are on a roll in the National Football League and UMKC School of Medicine alumna and faculty member Amy Patel, M.D., is now part of the excitement surrounding Chiefs Kingdom.

Patel, a 2011 graduate and assistant professor of radiology at the School of Medicine, is celebrating the team’s success as its 2022 Fan of the Year. With that, Patel is now the Chiefs’ nominee for 2022 NFL Fan of the Year.

Patel learned of the honor earlier this year before the Chiefs’ home-opening game against the Los Angeles Chargers when she was awarded the game’s Lamar Hunt Legacy Seat that recognizes a community member who represents the spirit of Lamar Hunt, the team’s founder.

“I got to meet (Chiefs’ owner) Clark Hunt and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who shared the news with me,” Patel said at the time. “I am still in shock! But I feel so honored to have my work recognized as well as my love of the Chiefs.”

As Chiefs Fan of the Year, Patel will receive two tickets to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 12 and will be invited to take in all of the game’s surrounding activities.

Each of the NFL’s 32 teams selects a Fan of the Year. Through a combination of fan voting on the league’s web site that began this week and scoring by a panel of judges based on the individual’s enthusiasm, team fandom, inspirational story and community spirit, the NFL will select and announce its Fan of the Year at the Super Bowl.

Patel is a breast imaging specialist and medical director of the Breast Care Center at Liberty Hospital. With a primary focus on breast radiology and research in breast health equity, artificial intelligence, and digital breast tomosynthesis, she helped to build a comprehensive breast care program in Liberty.

Her love for the Chiefs began at an early age growing up in Chillicothe, Missouri. After earning her medical degree, she went to Harvard University, where she helped build a comprehensive breast care program at a local hospital. In 2018, Patel returned to Kansas City, where she is recognized as a champion of helping women achieve equitable access to breast care and a loyal fan of the Chiefs.

 

UMKC announces $30 million gift from Sunderland Foundation for Health Sciences District project

Conceptional drawing of a new building on the Health Sciences District.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced a $30 million gift from the Sunderland Foundation that will help fund a new building in the UMKC Health Sciences District to house expanded medical school teaching facilities and state-of-the-art dental teaching clinics.

The project will help escalate momentum for expanding the district into a major regional academic medical center that can provide innovative health care, attract top medical students and researchers and generate billions of dollars in jobs and economic development, while advancing care for the underserved.

The multi-story, $120 million Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Building will also provide space for the UMKC Health Equity Institute, the university’s Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center and its new Biomedical Engineering program.

“We are grateful to the Sunderland Foundation for their investment in taking the Health Sciences District to the next level, spearheading an academic medical center with extraordinary community benefits,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “This gift by a local foundation that supports making big positive change in Kansas City is an investment not just in a building, but in a truly big, longer-term vision. We believe our new building will escalate momentum to exponentially expand the Health Sciences District in coming years to become the major regional academic medical center that we know it can be.”

Gov. Mike Parson, who in July signed legislation from the state of Missouri to appropriate $40 million for the building, said the appropriation came with a challenge to the Kansas City community to raise the additional funds needed.

“We are proud to support the efforts of UMKC to improve educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math to expand health care access in the state of Missouri, particularly in rural areas,” Parson said. “Missourians will reap the benefits of increased collaboration between health care services and the data science and biomedical engineering programs that will share the building. This partnership could help further health outcomes through new, innovative solutions right here in Missouri.”

Grants from the Sunderland Foundation focus on brick-and-mortar projects for established organizations to foster a stronger, safer and more vibrant future for the communities it serves.

“The Sunderland Foundation is proud to give to UMKC’s efforts to transform the Health Science District,” said Kent Sunderland, chairman of the Sunderland Foundation. “The cutting-edge facilities will provide innovative training opportunities for tomorrow’s doctors, dentists and healthcare leaders who will improve prosperity in our neighborhoods, cities and state. The Sunderland Foundation and UMKC share a mission of caring for the underserved and lifting neighborhoods.”

The new building will provide expanded classroom space and state-of-the-art educational facilities for UMKC medical students and programs, such as space for more simulation labs, which lead to better training for students and better care for the community.

It will also allow for increased collaboration among health care fields. UMKC is one of only 20 universities in the country where dentistry, medicine, nursing and health studies, and pharmacy share a single, walkable campus, which underscores the need to continue to provide opportunities for collaboration among the health sciences.

 

 

UMKC students take the lead with community health fair

Jada Ohene-Agyei didn’t know what to expect when she led a team of nearly 70 student and faculty volunteers from UMKC’s health sciences schools this summer in a one-day community health and wellness fair at the Kansas City Health Department.

Ohene-Agyei, a sixth-year UMKC School of Medicine student, and her team weren’t disappointed when nearly 100 people from the community showed up.

“A lot more people came than had registered,” she said. “I was surprised.”

Students from the schools of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy manned 30 tables where they offered a wide range of health screenings and education from blood pressure and cholesterol checks to dental screenings and education on opioids, the safe storage and disposal of drugs and individual medication advice.

Student and faculty from the School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences were on hand as well to help where needed.

“We tried to make it interprofessional and do as many things as we could,” Ohene-Agyei said. “We wanted to run the gamut and do as many things as we could possibly do that would be conducive to each of the students’ areas of study.”

The idea for free public event came to Ohene-Agyei’s while serving as president of the medical school’s chapter of the Student National Medical Association. Where members of the organization had discussed the idea previously, Ohene-Agyei was determined to make it happen as a student-led event with assistance and necessary oversight from health sciences schools faculty.

Beginning nearly nine months in advance, Ohene Agyei reached out to other student organizations on the health sciences campus. Before long, she had recruited a team to lead various committees in everything from marketing and finance to logistics, as well as a research team that conducted patient surveys to record their responses to the event.

“It started with SNMA but grew into a collaboration with other student organizations,” Ohene-Agyei said. “There are dental students, pharmacy students, so it’s SNMA and all these other groups. I feel like we all share a piece of that pie now.”

Those who attended the health fair came away with a positive experience and said the student volunteers had addressed their individual questions and needs.

“That was something that our students did a really good job of,” Ohene-Agyei said.

Now, she said, the hope is that a next wave of UMKC health sciences students can come together to make the health fair more than a one-time event.

“I have this renewed hope that students from the health sciences schools can come together and do something for the community and be super successful,” Ohene-Agyei said. “I’m excited to do this again next year. I think we can do it even better.”

Hospital Hill Run organizers need medical volunteers

School of Medicine students should sign up now to help race participants in the medical tent at the 49th annual Hospital Hill Run. Come rain or shine, the event is slated to take place on June 4 with the start and finish lines at Kansas City’s Crown Center.

Volunteers will be stationed at the finish line to watch for race participants that need medical attention. Some will help check participants into the medical tent and others will triage participants.

To help with the medical tent, go to the website at https://hospitalhillrun.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?id=60720, enter the password “medical,” and complete the requested information. Those wishing to volunteer may also contact Alison Troutwine, UMKC Health Sciences District program manager, directly at alison.troutwine@uhkc.org.

All volunteers will receive a free race t-shirt and food.

The medical staff typically treats 50 to 100 race participants during the event that includes three different races – a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon. Meg Gibson, M.D., director of the UMKC sports medicine fellowship, serves as medical director for the race.

Med student uses TikTok to inspire others

Dumebi Okocha leverages her unexpected ‘medfluencer’ platform for good

Roos don’t just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Dumebi Okocha
Anticipated graduation year: May 2024
UMKC degree program: B.A./M.D.
Hometown: Waxhaw, North Carolina

As the daughter of a physician and a nurse practitioner, pursuing a medical career was a natural path for Dumebi Okocha.

“I always saw my dad coming back from work and I was always interested in the cases he was seeing, even though I didn’t know what he was talking about. My mom is a nurse practitioner, so I come from a strong health sciences background,” she said.

She applied to UMKC because of its six-year accelerated B.A./M.D. program, which would allow her to become a physician faster and save money. When she found herself stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Okocha did what many people her age do when boredom strikes: she made a TikTok video. She noticed there was not much awareness about accelerated medical programs like hers, so posted about it.

“I was just trying to show there were other, quicker, more cost-affordable options without the MCAT,” she said.

To her amazement, it racked up more than 50,000 likes.

“I was surprised. I just didn’t think anything of it at the time. When I started, I probably had 30 followers,” she said. “I was like, ‘Who are all these people?’ That’s when I was like, okay, if I post consistently, I think I can get a following.”

Dubemi Okocha, a student in the accelerated B.A./M.D. program, posing in a white coat

Soon her inbox was flooded with direct messages from students who had never heard of accelerated programs. It was then that Okocha saw an opportunity to change the face of medicine. She decided to expand her platform to talk about the medical field more broadly and encourage other people who are Black, first-generation Americans, first-generation college students or an under-represented minority to pursue medical careers, no matter if they chose a six-year track or another path.

“My goal overall is to be a face for what is possible and to use my privilege to help those who are not as privileged,” said Okocha. “Once they see a Nigerian-American girl in medical school doing her thing, I think it helps them say, ‘Okay, she’s doing it. She’s not perfect but she’s doing it, which means I can do it. I just have to find my way to success.’”

Okocha has since expanded her reach, with her highest-viewed video now reaching one million views. At first, she was nervous about her classmates and professors seeing her videos, but she says the feedback has been largely positive.

“I was getting too self-conscious thinking that if people are watching, I had to be perfect. But once I heard from administration that they liked my TikToks, I knew I was doing a good job,” she said.

In addition to being a medfluencer, Okocha is a UMKC School of Medicine ambassador, Region 2 secretary and the local chapter secretary of the Student National Medical Association, public relations representative for the OBGYN Interest Group and a member of Students Training in Academia, Health and Research (STAHR). Between her studies and her extracurricular commitments, Okocha said her social media presence can be a lot to balance, but she tries to keep things in perspective.

“I have to remember this is not my job, this is a hobby. When I place it like that, it’s not an obligation, it’s just for fun,” she said. “I think I laid the expectation that I’m not going to post every day and that’s okay. Around finals, I don’t really post. If I’m changing classes, I tend not to post in the beginning just so I can get my footing. I always put being a student first.”

Dumebi Okocha, a student in the accelerated B.A./M.D. program, posing outside in a white coat.

Through it all, Okocha said she has learned how to manage multiple tasks, find creative solutions and appreciate all the professions of medicine. She hopes by sharing her journey, it will inspire others.

“You can have a life, you can go to med school and even if you have disadvantages stacked against you, there are ways around it, you just have to know those ways.”

Okocha said she plans to continue and expand her social media presence when she becomes a doctor.

“I feel like social media is the new way of getting information out to your patients and educating people,” she said. “My dream is to have a podcast. After I take my boards, I want to start working on that.”

UMKC physician assistant student focuses on treating the underserved

Kevin Du, a first-year physician assistant student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, has experienced patients at their worst while working in the emergency room at University Health Truman Medical Center.

“I see the impact the social determinants of health have on certain populations,” Du said. “In the emergency room, we see a lot of immigrants and persons of color and that really resonated with me coming from a first-generation family.”

It made such an impact that Du is now part of a unique Area Health Education Centers Scholars program that helps prepare health professions students to care for rural and urban underserved patients in small interprofessional teams.

Throughout the two-year program, students take part in didactic and community activities that focus on areas such as quality improvement and patient-centered care, as well as cultural competency and emerging issues in health care. Interprofessional education events that bring together students from differing health care fields are also part of the curriculum.

Du is taking part in the scholars program in conjunction with his physician assistant studies at the School of Medicine. Much of the coursework for the AHEC program is done individually but participants also work interprofessionally once or twice a year with others throughout the state.

“My biggest reason for doing this program is to become more culturally competent and to be able to recognize any biases I may have so that I can be a more understanding patient care provider in the future,” Du said.

Before starting the physician assistant program at UMKC, Du served as an emergency room technician at Truman Medical Center, now University Health Truman Medical Center, as well as a technician in the cardiovascular ICU at St. Louis Barnes Jewish Hospital and as an EMT/technician with an urgent care center also in St. Louis.

Now, he says his goal is to work in an urban core medical center where he can reach those in need of help.

“I have seen the struggles that my parents went through and how they were treated regarding health care,” Du said. “I truly want to help the underserved population when I graduate from UMKC.”

Hitting the Pavement

Marathon runners at finish

UMKC and School of Medicine supporting KC Marathon

UMKC and the School of Medicine are proud sponsors of the Oct. 16 Garmin KC Marathon – the largest race event in Kansas City and a significant community tradition. This year’s race has something for everyone: a full- and half-marathon, as well as a 10k and 5k, plus many volunteer opportunities.

For all the Running Roos out there, registration is now open for the race. New this year, the race will start and end near the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In-between, runners will enjoy a tour of the city including the National World War I Museum & Memorial, the Country Club Plaza, Waldo, Westport, 18th & Vine, and more. Participants receive a race shirt, a finisher’s medal, free food and drinks, free downloadable race photos and massages at the Finish Line Festival.

Not a runner? Consider volunteering at the event. There are many ways to help: course monitors, medical tent support, packet pickup, etc. To see all the opportunities, visit the race’s volunteer page.

And if you will be on the sidelines supporting the race and its participants, make sure to sport your Blue and Gold so all the racers know that the Roos are cheering them on.

COVID safety will be top of mind during the race, as organizers have implemented a number of protocols to ensure the safety of participants and staff, including:

  • A socially distanced start
  • Masks required at all times except while actively racing
  • Contactless aid stations
  • Hand-washing and sanitization stations throughout the race site
  • Increased spacing in the Finish Line Festival area

Don’t miss out – this year’s event promises to be one to remember. For more information visit the KC Marathon website.

The Race Is On! Hospital Hill Run returns as In-person Event June 5

Get ready to hit the pavement!

After adapting to COVID restrictions and holding a virtual race last year, Kansas City’s Hospital Hill Run (HHR) is back as a live, in-person event on June 5. Whether you walk or run, and whether you prefer a 5K, 10K or half-marathon distance, make plans to join the city’s oldest foot race and the first live half-marathon event in the Kansas City Metro this spring. Here’s the official HHR statement:

The Hospital Hill Run has been given the green light to move forward with a live event, as scheduled for 6/5/21, pending any unforeseen circumstances. Health and wellness of our participants is our top priority   and all city and state protocols will be followed.

The UMKC Health Sciences District is sponsoring the event, and all UMKC faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends receive a 20 percent discount when you REGISTER using this code: WPFCUMKC21. For younger participants, K-12 registration is offered as well.

The Hospital Hill Run website provides resources, videos and training materials to help participants prepare for the race. Runners/walkers will receive race medals and t-shirts.

Not a runner? The race is also recruiting volunteers. Learn more.

The Hospital Hill Run, founded in 1974 by UMKC School of Medicine founder Dr. E. Grey Dimond, is the oldest foot race in Kansas City. What started as a single 6.8-mile race with 99 runners has evolved into a well-known, world-class event hosting thousands of runners from nearly all 50 states. It was recently voted the Best Organized Footrace/Run in Kansas City by The Pitch magazine readers, and the 2021 event will mark its 48th year of success.

For more information, visit the Hospital Hill Run website.

Health equity mini-grants aim to jump start collaborative research

The mini-grants are intended to foster research collaborations that improve community health.

Making access to health care more equal is a tough task, and a pandemic only makes the job tougher. To help, the UMKC Health Equity Institute is trying a new tool — mini-grants to university researchers and their community partners — to boost those efforts.

“We have about $12,000 to $15,000 to spend, and we think putting $1,000 to $2,000 in the right places could help eight to 10 projects move forward,” said Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., the director of the institute and a professor in the UMKC School of Medicine. “Sometimes help paying for study participants, software, consultants or other resources can make a real difference.”


Apply HERE for a
UMKC Health Equity Institute
Mini-Grant
Deadline is Nov. 9

Though small, the grants could be the seed money — or the Miracle-Gro® — needed to turn ideas into budding projects that encourage and measure the effectiveness of community health efforts.

The brief application for the mini-grant program is available now, and institute members are encouraging researchers and community groups to submit their joint applications. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a webinar Oct. 16 to learn information about the mini-grants. Important information, such as budget documents and the grant program overview, are available, as well.

Applicants will have until Nov. 9 to submit their proposals, after which finalists will be chosen. The finalists then will give short oral presentations and recipients will be chosen. The institute plans to have the funds available at the beginning of 2021.

“We’re hoping the mini-grants stimulate our researchers to be creative and to collaborate with community partners — or build relationships with new partners,” Berkley-Patton said. “The institute’s steering committee will evaluate the applications, and we hope to have applicants make a brief, but impactful, oral pitch for their proposals sometime this fall in a virtual presentation akin to “Shark Tank®.”

The idea behind the Health Equity Institute, an initiative Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal started in April 2019, is to partner UMKC researchers with community groups, non-profits and government agencies in underserved areas on projects that aim to improve community health.

The institute, for example, is working with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to evaluate the impact of the city’s now-free bus service on health outcomes. The institute wants to understand whether their recruited residents’ health and overall well-being improve because they walk more and have better access to jobs and health care through the free transit system. The institute has also helped the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department conduct COVID-19 drive-through testing by coordinating more than 90 student volunteers. The students helped with intake, traffic control and providing COVID-19 information to people seeking testing.

The institute also helped with formation of an interfaith ministers’ group, the Clergy Response Network,

founded to address COVID-19 inequities in Kansas City’s faith-based settings, and has created a church reopening checklist for clergy. The network recently received 30,000 face masks to distribute to congregations to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Berkley-Patton is a veteran of community-based health research, including studies that engage churches and other community-based organizations’ in efforts to combat health disparity issues such as HIV and other STDs, mental health, obesity and diabetes.

“We need more research projects that improve the health of people where they live, play, worship and work, and projects that can be sustained for the long haul after research shows they work,” Berkley-Patton said. “We think these mini-grants can get more projects like these up and running while engaging the community in research efforts that we hope will reduce disparities and improve health in Kansas City’s urban areas.”

For more information on the mini-grant program, visit the Health Equity Institute website.