Childhood Immunizations Should Be a Top Priority

The annual observance of National Infant Immunization Week this year takes place April 24 to 30, as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Swope Health supports this effort and encourages all families with infants to learn of the importance of routine childhood immunizations to give your baby a strong and healthy start. Swope Health follows the guidance of the American Academy of Pediatrics in providing access for well-child appointments and routine vaccinations to prevent disease.

“Vaccinations play a critical role in protecting the health of babies and children,” said Dr. Kenneth Thomas, Executive Vice President of Children’s Services, Swope Health. “Childhood vaccinations prevent illness, disabilities and death from more than a dozen diseases.”

Swope Health makes it easy for parents to stay up to date on all recommended vaccines for their children, with immunizations offered at seven Swope Health family Medicine satellite clinics and three KidsCARE (Pediatric) clinics. Swope Health KidsCARE Pediatric School-Based Services program offers vaccination opportunities at partnering schools and centers throughout the metro area via our pediatric mobile unit. Influenza and COVID-19 vaccination is an important component of our vaccination efforts.

“We know COVID-19 made it challenging for families to keep up with health care visits,” Dr. Thomas said. “It’s never too late to begin or catch up on routine vaccinations. As a pediatrician, we do not want any child falling ill from a preventable illnesses like measles and polio – or worse, experience a long-term disability or even death.”

He added: “COVID also reminded us all of the importance of vaccinations as a public health issue. Vaccinations protect the entire community.”

Even if you missed routine check-up visits for your children, you can get back on track. Immunizations usually happen at routine Well Child visits. A call to Swope Health can get your children back on a routine or catch-up schedule to help keep them healthy.  Regular checkups are also important for other reasons – checking developmental milestones, conducting screenings for hearing and vision, checking vital signs and routine lab tests, for example.


What’s recommended?

The American Association of Pediatricians has a schedule of recommended vaccinations for children, from birth to two years; and for kids and teens, from age seven to 18. The CDC summarizes the recommendations in a chart:

Download chart for children

Download chart for kids and teens

Join us! Swope Health KidsCARE – Tenney Pediatrics open house

You are invited to visit Swope Health’s newest location for an open house from 2-4 pm on Friday, July 22, at Swope Health KidsCARE — Tenney Pediatrics, 6501 E. 87th St., Kansas City.

We’ll be celebrating the addition of the Tenney Pediatrics & Adolescents practice to the Swope Health network and family.

At the open house, you’ll be able to tour the clinic, meet the clinicians and associates, and celebrate along with the ceremonial ribbon cutting. Light refreshments will be available.

Swope Health expands with acquisition of Tenney Pediatric Clinic

Tenney Clinic leadership joins Swope Health system of Primary Care Clinics

Swope Health, the voice of community health and leading provider of quality accessible healthcare in Kansas City, today announced its acquisition of Tenney Pediatrics & Adolescents, located at 6501 E. 87th St., Kansas City.

Dr. Jackie Tenney, once a Swope Health provider who went on to establish Tenney Pediatrics and Adolescents, will rejoin the Swope Health team and continue providing healthcare services to his patients. The clinic will be renamed Swope Health KidsCARE – Tenney Pediatrics.

“Dr. Tenney’s practice aligns with Swope Health’s mission and vision,” said Jeron Ravin, JD., President and CEO of Swope Health. “We share a goal of developing the next great generation of Kansas Citians, and do so through removing barriers to care, helping kids and families develop healthy habits for a lifetime. We are honored to welcome Dr. Tenney and his staff to our team.”

The Swope Health KidsCARE – Tenney Pediatrics clinic will soon offer new services to patients: which will provide seamless access to the full suite of services and programs Swope Health is known to provide.  Families in South Kansas City will now have easier access to adult primary care, women’s healthcare, mental healthcare and a wide range of support programs, including telehealth, Medicaid enrollment, WIC, nutrition services and transportation.

In addition to Dr. Tenney, Dr. Jessica Lee a pediatrician at Tenney Pediatrics and Adolescents for the last two years will also join the Swope Health team and continue providing care working from that clinic location. The clinic’s operating hours remain unchanged: Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

“We are delighted to join the Swope Health family and network,” said Dr. Tenney. “We embrace the Swope Health Promise – we make care visible – and we look forward to offering our patients the additional resources and services Swope Health offers.

The Swope Health KidsCARE – Tenney Pediatrics clinic will host an open house for patients and members of the community from 2 pm to 4 pm on Friday, July 22, 2022.

All are invited to tour the clinic and meet the pediatricians, clinic staff and Swope Health leadership team. The new clinic will officially open for patient care on Monday, July 25th.  


April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month, as designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


The Children’s Bureau funds the National Child Abuse Prevention Month initiative each April with the Child Welfare Information Gateway. The purpose is to raise awareness of ways to prevent child abuse and neglect.


Swope Health will support the effort with a pinwheel display, surrounding the new heart installation at Swope Health Central this month.  Swope Health patients and associates will create the pinwheels, which are the national symbol for prevention of child abuse and neglect.

When you visit Children’s Services at any Swope Health location, you can pick up a pinwheel kit to create your own contribution to the display.


The pinwheel represents hope that every child will be raised in a healthy, safe and nurturing environment.


The pinwheel also represents a call to action, encouraging people everywhere to recognize that children are our future and that we all have a role to play in keeping them safe. ALL children deserve great childhoods.


Swope Health supports developing the “protective factors” that increase the well-being of children and families and reduce the likelihood of maltreatment. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, there are six protective factors:

  • Nurturing and attachment
  • Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Concrete supports for parents
  • Social and emotional competence of children

Identifying protective factors helps parents find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively—even under stress.


On Tuesday, April 26, watch for the pinwheel garden near the heart at Swope Health.

Swope Health wins in national HRSA pediatric competition

According to the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration, within months of the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed declining rates of vaccinations and well-child visits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that declines in vaccination coverage might leave young children and communities vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles.

To respond, the Maternal & Child Health bureau of HRSA launched a national competition — the Promoting Pediatric Primary Prevention (P4) Challenge.

Applicants were invited to demonstrate innovative approaches to increase well-child visits and immunizations. More than 240 entrants applied.

Swope Health and the Mid-America Regional Coalition (MARC) in collaboration were named one of the initial 50 winners in phase 1, the only applicant winning from the Midwest. The phase 1 prize was $10,000.

Then, in phase 2, Swope Health and MARC’s entry landed in the top 20, earning a $25,000 prize.

Plus, Swope Health and MARC’s Mid-America Head Start were named as one of three winners invited to deliver a national presentation on the winning program. Sandra Reece-Tinsley, Health Manager for MARC, delivered the presentation in the Winners Showcase on Jan. 31.

“We are so proud of this win,” said Kenneth Thomas, M.D., Executive Vice President of Children’s Services for Swope Health. “We demonstrated that the Swope Health’s KidsCARE solution with Head Start delivered an increase in well-child healthcare visits and immunizations over the prior year. These check-ups and immunizations help kids grow and stay healthy.”

The collaboration was among the most holistic programs presented in the challenge, offering well-child visits and  immunizations and integrated dental, optometry and behavioral health access and services as well. Many of the other challenge applicant programs had a limited area of focus.

KidsCARE is Swope Health’s program to deliver pediatric primary care, dental and behavioral health care together in the community. KidsCARE uses telehealth and  mobile medical clinics for Head Start community- and school-based locations. Swope Health recently opened a standalone KidsCARE clinic in the Emmanuel Family and Child Development Center.

The MARC-Swope Health entry showed delivery of 227 well-child examinations, 16 eye clinic examinations and 400 dental examinations. The KidsCARE pilot program covered rural and urban settings and produced improved results in both categories – higher than all other MARC Head Start sites.

Nationally, the Challenge projects generated more than 52,000 pediatric well-child visits and nearly 23,000 immunizations. Read more details from the Department of Health and Human Services: HHS Announces Winners of National Challenge to Increase Pediatric Vaccinations and Well-Child Visits.

February: Children’s Dental Health Month

At Swope Health, we are celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, with the American Dental Association.

“We want to raise awareness of the importance of taking care of your overall health and oral health, starting early,” said Dr. Megan Krohn, Executive Vice President of Dental Services at Swope Health. “We know teaching preventive care and healthy habits early sets the foundation for good lifelong oral health.”

When you visit Swope Health Central in February, on select days you’ll find a table in the main lobby offering coloring pages and crayons for kids, toothbrushes, and dental associates who will do a brief screening and fluoride application. We encourage your support by sharing photos of your kids’ coloring pages with us – and we’ll hang them up on our walls and promote them on social media to spread the word.

You can print out your own coloring page (and other activity pages) below. The coloring page will also be available in all Swope Health Dental, Pediatric and KidsCARE locations across the metro area.

This year’s campaign emphasizes dental sealants – a  thin covering that is painted on the biting surface of your back teeth as a protection against decay. The process is quick and painless.

The sealants work by providing a barrier that keeps food and germs from causing tooth decay. Germs in the mouth react with sugars in foods and drinks to create acids that can eat away at the outer layers of your tooth, creating cavities. Sealants are proven effective in preventing 80 percent of cavities on the biting surface of back teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to sealants, brushing and flossing and regular dental visits also help maintain excellent oral health.

“This is a great time to schedule a visit for your kids,” added Dr. Krohn. “Regular dental visits are important for developing habits to support a  a lifetime of good oral health.”

Swope Health is scheduling pediatric dental appointments at Central, Wyandotte, Northland, and Independence clinics. To schedule a dental appointment, call 816-923-5800. We look forward to seeing you!



Download Coloring Page

Download Crossword Page

Download Drawing Page


COVID-19 vaccine booster recommended for 16- & 17-year-olds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended COVID-19 vaccine boosters for individuals 16 and 17 years of age.

Swope Health encourages everyone 16+ to receive a booster to strengthen your protection against COVID-19.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to circulate in the Kansas City metro area, and the newest variant, the Omicron, has also been detected in Missouri.

Initial data on the Omicron variant suggests that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen protection against Omicron and other variants. At this time, only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized and recommended for individuals 16-17 years of age.

Protect yourself and your family this holiday season by getting a COVID-19 booster!

Who can get a booster?

Individuals ages 16+ who received the two-dose vaccine series can get their booster six months after their second vaccine. Those who received Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) may get a booster two months after their vaccine.

Established Swope Health Patients: Call 816-923-5800 for an appointment at Swope Health Central or 816-599-5111 for an appointment at Swope Health Wyandotte.

The vaccination is free and available to Swope Health established patients only.

Not a Swope Health Patient, but want a vaccine or booster by the holidays? Check out to schedule a vaccine appointment near you.

Good news for kids! COVID-19 vaccinations now available for Swope Health patients

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month authorized the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5 to 11. And more recently, the CDC recommended booster vaccinations for 16- and 17-year-olds.

Swope Health is now offering the vaccine for kids, with parent approval, at Swope Health Central and Swope Health Wyandotte, by appointment.

Please call 816-923-5800 for an appointment at Swope Health Central or 816-599-5111 for an appointment at Swope Health Wyandotte.

The vaccination is free and available to Swope Health established patients.

“Vaccination is our best tool to stop the pandemic,” said Dr. Jennifer Frost, interim chief medical officer at Swope Health. “This is a critically important step to help protect children and family members.”

About the vaccine: The Pfizer vaccine for children has the same ingredients as the Pfizer vaccine already approved for individuals age 12 and up, although the dose is reduced. Children will receive two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, just like adults.

As with adults, there may be minor side-effects – the injection site may appear red, slightly swollen or painful. Some people experience tiredness, muscle aches, headaches, or fever for a short time after the vaccination. The side effects usually go away within a day or two.

What to expect: Swope Health patients visiting for regular well-child or other appointments will be offered the COVID-19 vaccination and the flu vaccination during the visit.

Patients who request a visit for COVID-19 vaccination ONLY can be scheduled to receive it in the pediatric clinic at Swope Health Central or at Swope Health Wyandotte.

Reminder: After an individual is vaccinated, they must remain in the clinic for a 15-minute observation period.

Please call today to schedule your child’s vaccination: 816-923-5800 at Swope Health Central or 816-599-5111 at Swope Health Wyandotte.

Not an established Swope Health patient?

If you are not interested in becoming a Swope Health patient, visit to schedule a vaccine appointment near you.

If you are interested in your family members becoming Swope Health Patients, families can schedule an appointment for a child’s vaccination, which will include a brief medical evaluation to establish care.

Patients will be subject to standard billing and financial responsibilities for all services other than the free COVID-19 vaccination. Insurance will be billed and patients are invited to sign up for our sliding fee financial assistance program.


Swope Health Opens First KidsCare Clinic in Emmanuel Family & Child Development Center

A new community-based program designed to provide kids and families easier access to healthcare is now open in Kansas City. Swope Health is celebrating the official opening of its first KidsCare Clinic with a ribbon cutting on Thursday, Oct. 14.

Swope Health KidsCare clinic is located in Emmanuel Family & Child Development Center, which provides early childcare services to children living in poverty in the urban core of Kansas City. Through this clinic at the center, 4736 Prospect Ave., Kansas City, kids will have access to all forms of care – medical, behavioral health and dental.

“This is a major step in knocking down the barriers to quality healthcare,” said Kenneth Thomas, M.D., Executive Vice President of Children’s Services for Swope Health. “We want to make it as easy as possible for families to get preventive and intervention service, like well childcare and asthma management. We are bringing our whole-person healthcare services to fill unmet needs in schools, daycares, and early childhood centers throughout the community.”


Deborah Mann, Executive Director, Emmanuel Family & Child Development Center, agrees. “This onsite clinic is the culmination of my dream to offer a wide array of essential services to our families, all from within the Emmanuel Center. Our Swope Health partners share our goals, and we are thrilled to have KidsCare as part of our services.”

At the clinic, Swope Health’s team will offer a variety of services including well-child exams, immunizations, hearing and vision screenings, routine dental exams and treatment, and behavioral healthcare. The team also helps in obtaining health insurance and referrals to other services if needed.

Swope Health KidsCare is an expansion of Swope Health’s services beyond the walls of its own facilities, extending its integrated care throughout the metro area. The Swope Health KidsCare program uses mobile clinics to reach early childhood centers and schools, as well as onsite clinics like the one at Emmanuel Center and a dental clinic opening soon at Operation Breakthrough. Swope Health is partnering with other organizations and school districts to provide healthcare services to kids.

Parents can sign their child up through their school, childcare or early learning center, and the family does not need to be enrolled in programs at Emmanuel Family & Child Development Center to receive Swope Health KidsCare services.

Swope Health Celebrates with Operation Breakthrough!

Sunday afternoon was full of blue skies, games, and smiles at Operation Breakthrough’s 50th anniversary Family Reunion – a picnic and street fair for member families and program alumni.

Despite sultry temperatures, kids played pickleball and line-danced in the street at Operation Breakthrough’s campus at 3039 Troost Ave. About 150 families participated in the afternoon festivities, which included water tables, shaved ice and snacks, face painting, temporary tatoos and a DJ playing music.

Swope Health was there celebrating too, announcing our new dental clinic opening soon in the lower level at Sister Corita’s place.

From this new clinic, Swope Health KidsCare will provide comprehensive and preventive dental services for children enrolled in Operation Breakthrough, and eventually, for their families and members of the community.

“Congratulations to Operation Breakthrough on your 50th anniversary,” said Dr. Megan Krohn, Executive Vice President of Dental Services for Swope Health, during a brief program. “We are so happy to be here to join the Operation Breakthrough family and we can’t wait to meet you all.”

From the Operation Breakthough KidsCare Clinic, the Swope Health dental team will provide comprehensive exams, cleanings, radiographs, fluoride treatment and sealants. In addition, the Swope Health team offers nutrition counseling, home care instruction, restorative treatment and follow-up care coordination.

Work is currently underway to renovate the clinic site, and in early 2022, an expansion will bring new equipment, an updated X-ray unit, a new dental room and a bigger lobby. The clinic will have a full-time dental team.

Members of the KidsCare dental team and other Swope Health associates were on hand to share toothbrushes, toothpaste, timers, healthy snacks and other items with families.

“We’re looking forward to being part of the next 50 years of the Operation Breakthrough community,” said Dr. Krohn.