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Medical Team


News. Announcements. Events. Success Stories.

December 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Rising Up for Better health

Great impacts have been made by the Rise Up Central Kansas Project Coordinator and Peer Navigators over the course of the ITR grant. Located in Great Bend, Rise Up Central Kansas is a task force under the Central Kansas Partnership with the mission of growing a resilient community for all, including people with lived experiences of substance use disorder (SUD), poverty and mental health issues. The unique approach of this ITR grant illustrated the critical importance of intentionally engaging the SUD community to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the lifetime of vaccines. 


According to a nationally renowned SUD and vaccine research and medical doctor, Eric Weintraub, he stated that "I believe we should be developing strategies to educate SUD individuals about the vaccination process.” Dr. Weintraub is the Director of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.


Rise Up Central Kansas developed strategies to educate people on the vaccination process and the Project Coordinator and Peer Navigators helped remove barriers and engaged with the local and regional SUD community to inform, engage in dialogue and provide access to the COVID-19 vaccine and the lifetime of vaccines.


The intentionality of conducting mobile meetings was important because it's about meeting people where they're at - especially when transportation barriers are so significant. According to ITR Project Coordinator Amy Ferguson, these were the primary questions that people asked Amy and the Peer Navigators on the vaccine information they disseminated: "I thought the COVID-19 vaccine cost money," or "Why should I get the vaccine if I can still get COVID-19?"


These meaningful conversations provided an important opportunity to inform, educate and dispel misinformation.

Having these conversations with trusted people indeed moved the needle and transformed the community to pursuing better health.


The mobile meetings also improved the access to health and wellness of more than 300 participants for services such as:

  • A participant receiving transportation assistance to receive his prosthetic eye after an accident that occurred over seven years ago

  • Another participant being able to move forward in the rehabilitation process from knee surgery. As we know, the ability to access rehabilitation requires transportation and support.

  • A participant accessing outpatient treatment on a regular basis, thanks to the mobile transportation capabilities of the ITR grant

  • 11 people were able to access in-patient treatment

  • 9 people were able to access the ability to obtain identification. Often times, many folks in this community lack the resources or transportation to obtain essential personal identification - either in the form of a driver's license or photo identification card.

  • Countless opportunities to support peers who were new into their recovery process.

  • Transportation to numerous mental health appointments

  • Medicine Assisted Treatment appointments

  • Faith-based approach of providing access to church functions

  • Participation in the recovery community activities (bowling, mud volleyball and swimming pool outings) that foster fellowship, support in the recovery process

  • Participation in supporting community activities such as supporting food box pantry distribution, children's activities and beyond


Thanks to the efforts made by the ITR Project Coordinator and Peer Navigators, Rise Up Central Kansas is truly living up to its name and demonstrating how they're Rising Up for Better Health!

December 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Social Media Posts

GraceMed Health Clinic shares COVID vaccination facts to help combat myths on all of their social media platforms.

December 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Community Health Event

In December, Mercy & Truth Medical Missions held a community health event that provided health screenings, vaccinations, healthcare items, cloth, and food boxes. This event was held in partnership with Pharmacy of Grace, Heart to Heart International, The Church of Resurrection, Aetna, Wyandotte Angels, Wyandotte County Public Health Department, Kansas Civic Engagement Table, and New Life City Church

December 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Laundry Love Community Event

In December, Konza Prairie Community Health Center held a Laundry Love community event in which community health workers were available to assist with questions about services, vaccines and set follow-up appointments for one-on-one assistance.

December 9, 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Community Vaccination Clinic

On December 9, 2023, the Center hosted a community vaccination clinic that offered boosters for ages 6 months and up. 105 attendees received COVID vaccinations.


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Increase the reach (ITR) Peer Navigators Continue Their Community Engagement Efforts for Kansas Babies & Little Tykes Day Out

As the ITR - Rise Up Central Kansas vaccine equity grant nears the end, what will indeed continue and not end - are the strong community engagement efforts that have been established as a direct result of the ITR to promote vaccine equity among the substance use disorder (SUD) community and beyond,


The ITR Rise Up Central Kansas Project Coordinator and Peer Navigators were essential in lending their time and efforts to support the recent Kansas Children's Service League Healthy Families Kansas Babies and Little Tykes Day Out at the Great Bend auditorium.


Through taking an inclusive approach of community engagement, it brings together the skills, knowledge and experiences of diverse groups. It's even more impactful when the SUD community can share their time and efforts to benefit all members of a community, including babies and little tykes in rural central Kansas!


Rise Up Central Kansas have been a big part of lifting up the Great Bend community and central Kansas communities through many service-focused efforts. The efforts are many and include food pantry distribution efforts, transporting SUD persons to recovery meetings, providing employment opportunities and supporting healthy families through partnerships with the Kansas Children's Service League and beyond!

December 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Community Vaccination Events

In October and December, El Centro community vaccination events with other ITR grantees, Heart to Heart International and Vibrant Health. At the community event, attendees could get COVID, flu, and Shingles vaccines as well as health screenings. In total, 86 individuals were vaccinated against flu, tetanus, and shingles!

November 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Social Media Posts

The Immunize Kansas Coalition shares educational reminders and resources on their social media pages on the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

November 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Social media Posts

The Kansas Black Leadership Council shares educational reminders on their social media pages on the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and resources available for their community.

November 2023 - SUCCESS STORY


Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Recovery + Increase the REach = Second chances & a Better Life

Often times, unresolved criminal justice issues combined with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and mental health issues can have such debilitating effects on people who are trying to navigate their recovery journey, become stronger and make meaningful impacts in their communities. However, thanks to the Increase the Reach (ITR) grant, Rise Up Central Kansas, was established as a task force to help people "Rise Up" from substance abuse disorders, health inequities, mental health issues and poverty. Not only did Rise Up Central Kansas exceed these goals, they were also able to dramatically increase access to justice and increased workforce development efforts thanks to the ITR grant.


We are so excited for you to meet Rob. Rob is candid in sharing his SUD recovery and mental health journey that has included consequences in dealing with the criminal justice system. Throughout the course of the ITR grant, Rob worked as a Peer Navigator and supported the ITR Project Coordinator Amy Ferguson's efforts as they crisscrossed the five central Kansas counties in holding countless mobile meetings with SUD folks. Amy, Rob and the other ITR Peer Navigators held countless meetings to educate people on the COVID-19 vaccine/boosters, as well as promote the whole lifetime of vaccines. The lived experiences of Amy, Rob and the Peer Navigators made them extremely effective in reaching the SUD populations, including those who have encountered mental health, workforce and court issues. 


Rob said that his mental health suffered when he was off his medications and hit a dark chapter where he did not consider the consequences of his legal issues. Rob shared that during this part of his life, he was teetering into psychosis, so he voluntarily sought help and resources. While Rob was waiting to be admitted to receive psychiatric services, he had an unfortunate interaction with a security guard and a resulting assault charge occurred as a result of his psychosis episode. Rob recognized his actions led to his court issues and credits his case manager, his sponsor, peers in recovery and others who helped him stay safe and ensure the community was safe as well. Rob recognizes that when he is off his medications, it's critical to inform local law enforcement personnel for de-escalation efforts to occur. We are so proud of Rob for seeking to resolve his court issues and a debt of gratitude goes to Amy Ferguson for removing transportation barriers so that Rob could travel to Sedgwick County for his court date and plea negotiation. It was determined by the Sedgwick County attorney's office that Rob's condition and actions were due to a mental health issue, and not a criminal issue.


Today, Rob does not have a warrant out for his arrest, or deals with the barrier it caused during countless interviews while seeking employment. Rob concluded by saying, " I am so happy to be a better candidate to get a job now. I don't have a warrant over my head anymore. The ITR grant enabled me to talk and meet with other SUD people about vaccines, bettering our mental health and helping me earn income that has enabled me to get my own stable housing. Not to mention, I am vaccinated!"


We cannot think of a better name for Rise Up Central Kansas, because thanks to Amy, Rob, and the Peer Navigators - Sharr, Charla, Amanda, Tia, Vanessa, Amber, Dan, Candace and Dustin - they have each risen up to improve vaccine equity, mental/public health, improved access to justice and workforce opportunities!


Thank you, ITR and WSU Community Engagement Institute (CEI) technical assistance staff who enabled us to fulfill a unique grant project that continues to make meaningful impacts in central Kansas and beyond!

November 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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social media posts

Heartland Community Health Center shares resources on their social media pages for those that have questions about the COVID vaccine. In their post in November, they shared a Q&A resource available to their followers.


“Heard about the new COVID-19 vaccine?It's natural to have questions and feel a bit puzzled. Let's clear the air! Dive into our Q&A to understandwhy there's a new vaccine and if it's right for you. Read Now: Empower yourself with knowledge, makeinformed choices, and join the conversation. Your health matters! “

November 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Community Vaccination Reminders

Ellsworth Community Medical Center shared reminders for vaccinations available to their community.

October 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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In October, The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas staff organized a flu and COVID vaccine clinic at the Iola Farm City Days event

October 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Social media educational reminders

Common Ground Producers and Growers also shares on social media reminders throughout the year on how to stay healthy and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.


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Kicking into higher gear for substance use recovery

Did you know that research shows that physical fitness is critically important for recovery? In addition to helping a person heal from the physical effects of addiction and promoting mind-body wellness, physical exercise and fitness supports the recovery journey. Self-care is one of the most important aspects of recovery.


Rise Up Central Kansas Project Coordinator Amy Ferguson and the Peer Navigators were a big part of making the "Let's Kick It Annual Kickball Game" a big success! Thanks to the strong collaboration of partners in Great Bend, the kickball event is a great example of promoting a healthier lifestyle with family, community members and food to nourish everyone. What better way for persons in recovery from substance abuse to continue receiving support from their friends, families, community members and organizations.


The numerous sponsors of this event cannot be thanked enough for employing people in recovery, supporting their journey and believing together that we can foster healthy and positive changes! Event sponsors were: Live Like Jesus Today Ministries, Eldridge Fencing, C&V Home Improvement, Rosencrantz- Bemus, Nami Kansas, Nami Goldenbelt Kansas, Oxford House Chapter 16, Kelly's Garden Sense, CrossPoint Great Bend, Heart of Kansas Family Health Care, Inc.

October 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Bearskin Senior/Elder Annual Health Fair

In October, The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas provided vaccinations at the Bearskin Senior/Elder Annual Health Fair.


“What a fantastic turnout there was atthe Bearskin Senior/Elder Annual Health Fair! We were thrilled to see over 250people in attendance. A special shoutout to our Vaccine Team, consisting ofKay, Betha, Trish, and Michelle. They did a fantastic job providing both Fluand Covid vaccines to our attendees. Additionally, we had Trisha, Lacey, andMichelle from the Patient Engagement team who provided valuable education onCHC services and important information regarding infectious diseases.”

September 2023 - SUCCESS STORY

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Community Laundry Day Events

Check out this KC Star story about how community stakeholders can come together to improve the wellbeing of families in Wyandotte County. WyCo Mutual Aid, a community-led initiative supported by Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, began coordinating free laundry events with new and/or small laundromat business owners in the spring. These events especially benefit Wyandotte County families who are struggling financially, making laundry resources harder to come by.


One recent event took place at Leah’s Laundromat, where almost 800 loads of laundry were provided in fewer than 3 hours. This is typical of events which not only help parents and children who are struggling to afford laundromat services; but they also help support local small business owners generate income for their own families. Wyandotte County’s refugee and immigrant families are often in attendance, as well as members of other displaced populations, because the events create a safe space for connection, support, and unburdened access to resources. WyCo Mutual Aid calls on other agencies to support these events with hot meals, book readings and book distribution, vaccine and testing opportunities, and time with community health workers or other outreach support.


These events bring so many individuals and families waiting on a free washer and dryer that there are often people lined up hours before the start of the event. When families finished the armfuls of laundry they brought with them, they took their clean clothes home and came back to the end of the line with more clothes and linens to wash.


WyCo Mutual Aid and Community Health Council of Wyandotte County (CHC) would like to thank the partners and events ponsors including Leah’s Laundromat on the Q, Rosedale Ultra Wash, Laundry Love, Aetna, Kansas Birth Equity Network, KU Family Medicine - COPE(Communities Organizing to Promote Equity), WSU Community Engagement Institute- Increase the Reach, and support from CDC and KDHE.

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