Wicked Fun! Drive-through Treat Town Oct. 31

Trick or treating in the age of COVID-19? Yes, it sounds scary but Swope Health has a solution – a new, drive-through version of our annual Treat Town!

Please plan to join us 6:30-8:30 pm Saturday, Oct. 31, for a drive-through version of our annual Treat Town.  This year, our 25th annual event is redesigned as an outdoor-only drive-through treat giveaway at the parking lot at Swope Health Central.

From the safety of your vehicle, you will be guided to drive through a large (spooky) tent where we provide treat bags for children under age 12. All cars will enter the Swope Health Central main entrance, 3801 Blue Parkway, to participate.

We ask all participants to wear a face mask to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Everyone stays in the car with just a quick stop to gather your treats!

Thanks to our partner Hot 103 Jamz for again supporting this free, safe trick-or-treating event.

VOTE! Get registered Mondays at Swope Health Central

Are you registered to vote? There’s still time – you can register to vote in the November election until Oct. 7.

Come to Swope Health, 10 am to noon on Mondays, where you can register, request a mail-in ballot or absentee ballot, get your application notarized or learn more about your polling place and what to expect on your ballot.

This service is provided by our partners at the Kansas City Public Library. They will be at Swope Health Central every Monday through Oct. 26 to answer questions and provide information – always non-partisan, factual, accurate information on your rights.

We encourage you to vote.

Important upcoming dates:

  • October 7: Last Day to Register before the General Election
  • October 21 at 5 p.m.: Last day to request a Mail-In Ballot or to receive an Absentee Ballot in the mail
  • November 2: Last day to request an Absentee Ballot in-person
  • November 3: General Election
  • Absentee ballots may be turned in by mail or in person. Mail-in ballots must be notarized and delivered by mail.

Notary Services for Absentee/Mail-in Ballots for the Nov. 3 Election:

  • Ballots must be signed, notarized, and received by the Election Board before 7 p.m. on election day. Ballots received after the deadline will not be counted.

Voters can have their ballot envelope notarized for free at the following locations:

Absentee ballots in 2020 do not need to be notarized if you are age 65 or older, have contracted coronavirus, or are at-risk due to any of the following:

  • Live in a long-term facility
  • Have a chronic lung disease/asthma
  • Have a serious heart condition
  • Are immunocompromised
  • Have diabetes
  • Have chronic kidney disease and are undergoing dialysis
  • Have liver disease

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves—and the only way they could do that is by not voting.”

– President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 5 October 1944

For accurate, non-partisan voting information, visit Vote411.org, a reference site operated by the League of Women Voters. The site includes information on registering, how to check your voter registration status, find your polling place, and find the ballot questions in your area.

In Stressful Times, Just Ask: Show Me Hope

These are stressful times.  COVID-19 affects everyone: Your neighbors, friends, colleagues, community, children, elder adults, family – even you.

If you need help coping, Swope Health is here for you.  We mean it when we say we’re in this together! We’ll help you learn new coping skills, provide information to keep you and your family safe, and connect you with the resources you need.

Call Swope Health’s Missouri Show Me Hope Crisis Line at 816-321-3613.  The crisis counseling program is confidential and free.

Some Quick Tips for Managing Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • Take time away from news reports and social media to focus on things in your life that are going well and that you can control.
  • Talk to family and friends. You can still stay connected while physically distancing from others. Remember, others may also be experiencing stress about the pandemic and may find it helpful to talk about experiences and feelings.
  • Pay attention to your body. Recognize the early warning signs of stress and take time to renew your spirit through meditation, prayer, reflection or helping others in need.
  • Keep stress under control by exercising, eating healthy, reading or using relaxation techniques such as yoga.

Show Me Hope is a Crisis Counseling Program offered through the Missouri Department of Mental Health with support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Additional resources:

Swope Health Supports National Community Health Center Week

National Community Health Center Week is Aug. 9-15, 2020, a time designated to celebrate the long record of success by Community Health Centers in delivering quality health care.


Swope Health is proud to support the effort.


At Swope Health, we will be participating in national, regional and local celebrations, including a thank you to our Associates.


  • Swope Health will be featured at Region 7 of the Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers virtual conference Monday, Aug. 10 (noon – 1:30 pm). The program is hosted from Nebraska and co-promoted by the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council. Terri Cooley-Bennett, Swope Health Outreach Supervisor, will speak on Homelessness and COVID-19.
  • Swope Health associates and patients are invited to write comments on posters, which will be displayed and shared on social media. Posters from all Swope Health satellite clinics will be collected and displayed at Central.
  • Swope Health is also using this week to focus attention on the public health and safety benefits of wearing a face mask. Swope Health joins cities and organizations across the country in the #MaskUp campaign, which encourages using a mask in public, keeping physical distance and practicing frequent hand washing. Our associates and patients are sending in photos of their mask-wearing style for social media promotion.
  • Swope Health Associates will be treated to ice cream Tuesday, Aug. 11. An ice cream truck will be at Swope Health Central and members of the Swope Health executive team will deliver treats to satellite clinics.
  • United Healthcare, in a month-long celebration of Community Health Centers, will provide lunches Aug. 13 to Swope Health associates working the COVID-19 pop-up testing clinic at Quindaro Community Center.
  • You can find Swope Health events on the National Community Health Center Events Log.


Across the country, 1,400 Community Health Centers provide services for more than 29 million people in rural and urban settings.  Community Health Centers were first formed in 1965 with federal support to increase access to primary healthcare. Community Health Centers advocate for patients and work to remove barriers to care, such as cost, lack of insurance, distance and language. Learn more.

As a result, Community Health Centers generate an estimated $24 billion in savings for the healthcare system, largely by providing access to primary care and reducing avoidable emergency department and hospital stays. Community Health Centers deliver a wide range of services, including preventive care to identify and care for illnesses like diabetes, asthma, heart and lung disease, depression and more.

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating Community Health Centers. We’re here for you!


COVID-19: Keep Safe, KC

Here’s a reminder for the Kansas City community about how you can take steps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. To keep yourself safe:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (rub hands together until they feel dry) if you can’t wash with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Keep at least 6 feet away from other people if you need to go out.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home, such as doorknobs, light switches, phones, table tops, and toilets.
  • Wear a mask whenever around others

These guidelines aren’t really new, but they remain important to protecting yourself and others from COVID-19, which spreads mostly by person-to-person contact.

At Swope Health, anyone entering any of our facilities will be asked about their health: Do you have any cough, fever, new shortness of breath? Everyone at Swope Health is required to wear a face mask.

You’ll also find hand sanitizer stations throughout our facilities, and we encourage frequent use.

Our associates take these same precautions, and are required to use only approved entrances for arriving and exiting throughout the day.

Swope Health continues to offer COVID-19 testing at our Central and Wyandotte clinics for people who:

  • Are experiencing symptoms of the disease that started within the last 14 days: cough, shortness of breath, headache, tiredness, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell.

Testing is available at Swope Health Central and Swope Health Wyandotte, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday for individuals with symptoms by appointment. Call 816-923-5800 to be scheduled for drive-through or walk-up testing.

More information:

Exercise your rights: Vote

Swope Health encourages you to vote in the Aug. 4 election — it is the best way to use your power and your voice to create change.

One example is Issue 2: Many members of our community lack access to affordable, quality healthcare.  If approved, Amendment 2 will expand Medicaid to provide access to health care for 230,000 Missourians, including many in our own community.

Swope Health’s President and CEO Jeron Ravin JD is an advocate for healthcare for all, and has been speaking regularly about the Medicaid Expansion proposal, Issue 2, on Tuesday’s ballot in Missouri.

You can hear more from him at these events:

  • 1 pm Wednesday, July 29, on the Black Excellence KC panel discussion on Medicaid Expansion hosted by Kiana Sinks and Craig Moore II, with Jeron Ravin, Dr. Tracie McClendon-Cole, Deputy Director of the KCMO Health Department; and McClain Bryant Macklin, Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives at Health Forward Foundation. Cecilia Belsor-Patton of Healthcare for Missouri will moderate.

  • 4 pm Sunday, Aug. 2, on 107.3 FM‘s Be the Change Virtual Town Hall discussion on Facebook Live on Medicaid Expansion. The panel features Jeron Ravin, Qiana Thomason, President and CEO of the Health Forward Foundation and Dr. Vernon Howard, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and moderated by Darron Story of 107.3. Watch and participate on Facebook LIVE.

For more information on Issue 2 and the election, visit:

Swope Health Supports LGBTQ+ Community

Swope Health has a long history of providing care to communities that have traditionally been medically under-served. From our founding 50 years ago to today, the Swope Health team has always offered health care and support for members of our community in need.

That commitment to care extends to the LGBTQ+ community – people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning. Swope Health stands ready to meet your healthcare needs, from supportive counseling and behavioral health skills to gender-affirming hormone therapy.

Ryan StokesSwope Health’s Dr. Ryan Stokes specializes in gender-affirming hormone therapy. His interest in transgender health care started with his medical training at Truman Medical Center, where he trained with a plastic surgeon who specialized in gender-affirming surgery.

Dr. Stokes sees patients with gender dysphoria – the deep-seated discontent that appears when a person’s identity does not match the gender of the body. An example is a person who identifies and feels male but has a female body, or vice versa. Gender dysphoria does not go away and can lead to depression, anxiety and other illnesses.

Gender dysphoria affects people in different ways, according to the American Psychiatry Association. Some people may want to be present themselves with the gender they choose, and others may seek to medically transition (through hormone treatment or sex-change surgery) to the gender they identify with.

In these treatments, the goal is move a patient toward the ability to live comfortably as their true self.

“I love sharing in the moment when a patient hits their target comfort level, where they are able to feel their authentic self fully,” Dr. Stokes said.

He also recognizes the difficulty of the journey.

“The transgender community is definitely marginalized.  It can be difficult to find care. With the recent developments of transgender healthcare protections being revoked, they can be actively turned away for being a transgender patient,” he said. “As a person of color, I know how difficult it can be to face discriminations like these.”

Words matter

Dr. Stokes supports his patients on their gender-affirming health journey. He checks in with patients on hormone therapy frequently to ensure they are adapting well to medication changes, and watches for side effects. He also helps patients navigate their health insurance and payment systems and offers support to help patients be emotionally and mentally comfortable with the changes they experience.

“This takes a holistic approach, to make sure that the patient is ready in mind and body to fully transition,” he said.  It can take time for patients to fully inhabit their new gender presentation, especially if the experience has been traumatic.

Whenever Dr. Stokes meets a new patient he proactively makes sure that he uses the preferred pronouns of his patients. A typical introduction is: “Hi, I’m Dr. Stokes, I am a cisgendered male. What pronouns do you prefer?”

This attention to respectful treatment of the LGBTQ+ community also has been the topic of training programs for Swope Health associates, featuring Rae Bowerman, a consultant and trainer with Common Threads. Part of Bowerman’s program with Swope Health associates includes a discussion of the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity, using materials from The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ+ people under age 25.

Bowerman, who is completing a graduate school internship with The Transgender Institute, emphasizes the importance of using correct terms and pronouns as a sign of respect and an acknowledgement of human dignity. Dr. Stokes agrees and recognizes that the choice of language can make his patients more comfortable.

“My hope is that eventually the health care system will be a safer and more inviting environment for LGBTQ+ patients,” he said.  “I want it to be a safe and welcoming visit when they see me. I have the privilege to be there with them at their best, to see when they get to fully realize their true selves, and I want to be with them at their worst, to support and care for them when they face struggles related to forming who they truly are.”

Additional resources:


If you are experiencing gender dysphoria, there’s a safe place for you at Swope Health. Call 816-923-5800 to schedule a medical or counseling appointment. Telehealth options may be available.

Swope Health Goes Back To School

Swope Health associates are heading back to school, right along with students at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School in the Kansas City Public School District.

Banneker Elementary LogoThe associates are part of a new pilot program to support students and teachers. Three days a week, a Swope Health Child and Family Services Interventionist will work with kids referred from the school’s Problem-Solving Team.

“We engage a community support specialist and create a care plan to provide for the needs of the child and the family,” said Margaux Lemmones, Clinical Supervisor in Children’s Outpatient Services. “The idea is to wrap the entire family in support.”

The Goal

The goal is to help kids struggling with trauma develop positive, pro-social behaviors and emotional stability. Services include gaining an understanding of specific triggers that cause an emotional reaction; learning and increasing use of coping skills to assist with managing their emotions and behavioral responses; increasing communication, and defusing conflict.

In this pilot program, the Swope Health Interventionist becomes a regular part of the Kindergarten through 6th grade school team, collaborating with trauma specialists, counselors and teachers, and participating in the school’s professional development workshops.

The Interventionist also offers assistance to teachers and front-line staff members to help them teach coping mechanisms and de-escalation techniques to the students. The school principal advocated for the extra support, encouraging the program to build strong relationships between school staff and Swope Health.

“We’re delighted to have this partnership with the school,” said Teresa Strub, Children’s Services Program Director. “This is a group that’s onboard with providing trauma-informed care.”

The pilot program includes steps for measuring engagement and outcomes. If it proves successful, it may be expanded to other schools, Teresa said.

In addition to the Banneker pilot program, Swope Health is present in other schools:

  • At the Academy For Integrated Arts (AFIA), Swope Health provides two Community Support Specialists who work from the charter school at 7910 Troost Ave., in Kansas City, Missouri. They are on site to work with kids and provide behavioral support.
  • The Parenting Education & Prevention program, with Kansas City Public Schools, Hickman Mills School District and Charter schools in Kansas City, offers training to teenage students to avoid pregnancy. The program also provides parenting education for teen parents.
  • The Adolescent Substance Use Disorder program is expected to start offering services through Ruskin High School in the Hickman Mills School District. This program is an extension of the substance use disorder programs operated in the Swope Health Children’s Services Department.
  • At Brookside Charter School, Swope Health offers a Parenting Group, Suicide Prevention Group, and Social-Emotional Skills Group. The Parenting Group works to help parents who have experienced trauma understand how those experiences may be affecting the way they parent and interact with their kids. For kids, the Suicide Prevention Group will teach risk factors, possible warning signs, how to seek help and other protective factors. The Social-Emotional Skills Group focuses on increasing the children’s emotional intelligence, helping them gain a better understanding of their own emotions and how those emotions affect their bodies and behaviors toward others.

Swope Health Dental Visits Schools, Too!

Swope Health Dental Team

Swope Health’s Dental Team visits schools to provide dental care for students enrolled in Head Start.

The Dental Team at Swope Health is in school, too.

The Dental Team provides services to children enrolled in the Head Start program across the metro area. Head Start is a program designed to give every child, regardless of family circumstances or economic status, an opportunity to succeed in school.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the program provides health, nutrition and educational resources to pre-K children.

This fall, the Swope Health Dental team is scheduling visits at Head Start locations in:

Additionally, Swope Health performs regular outreach to schools and is eager to develop solutions to meet the needs of individual schools. Colleen Innis, Outreach Coordinator, invites school administrators to contact her with questions (cinnis@swopehealth.org or 816-922-1070).

Donations Produce New Bounty of Art 

Carolyn Graves

Carolyn Graves, Community Support Specialist who directs the adult day program in arts, shows off some of the new creations, including, from left, acrylic pours on canvas, Zentangle designs, coasters and decoupage baskets.

If you’ve visited Swope Health recently, you might have seen the new displays of hand-painted leaves fluttering from the ceiling in Building C.

These leaves, along with dozens of canvases, watercolors, decoupage creations, hand-made coasters and other artwork, are the result of a generous donation of art supplies from Artist & Craftsman Supply, 229 Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City.

“I am hugely grateful,” said Carolyn Graves, Community Support Specialist who directs the adult day program in arts. “We’ve really stepped up our projects because of their generosity. Without these supplies, we couldn’t do this kind of work. We’d be limited to drawing and coloring.”

New Challenges

Carolyn now has new challenges for her students working with professional artist-quality materials –paint-markers, acrylic paints, long-lasting puck watercolors, card-stock papers, tissue papers, canvases, a portable easel and other craft supplies. Four days each week, Carolyn guides her day program participants to new heights of complexity and creativity.

“When we started, they would say, ‘I can’t do that,’” she recalled. “Now, they ask to do more. For them, it’s exposure, a chance to find out what they are capable of.”

Artists & Craftsman Supply LogoCarolyn has seen the benefits of the arts program in her clients, many of whom are recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. One of the participants recently told her that he doesn’t have to worry about relapsing. “He said: ‘When I’m here, I don’t even think about it,’” she said. “That made my day.”

Artist & Craftsman Supply

At Artist & Craftsman Supply, the manager and outreach coordinator also understand the power of art.

“The arts program at Swope Health seemed like a perfect fit,” said Olli Pamplin, Outreach Coordinator. “We know that creating and making beautiful things is an important part of the healing process.”

It’s part of Olli’s responsibility to seek out what the community needs. In addition to the donations to Swope Health’s arts program for adults in the day program, Artist & Craftsman Supply has donated to a new art therapy service in Kansas City, Kan., and provides an annual $500 scholarship to a student in the University of Missouri-Kansas City arts program.

Artist & Craftsman Supply

The variety of colorful papers at Artist & Craftsman Supply provide a backdrop for Olli Pamplin, Outreach Coordinator, left, and Kevin Wilson, Store Manager. The store, at 229 Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, has provided a generous donation to Swope Health’s day program for art therapy.

“We like to be involved in the community,” said Kevin Wilson, Store Manager. “We really push to be involved in ways retailers aren’t normally. We don’t think of ourselves as salesmen. Our customers are peers we want to help.”

Employee Owned

Artist & Craftsman Supply is an employee-owned retail business that calls itself “America’s local art supply store.” The company is based in Portland, Maine, and has 33 local stores across the country.

The Kansas City store opened in 2011 and sells art supplies and craft materials for students and professionals, as well as quirky and creative gifts for all ages. The store hosts a gallery in its backroom, and features local artists for month-long displays. Artists hold workshops and offer arts demonstrations in the store regularly, too.

“We are a retail store in our profession, but we think of ourselves more as a community center,” Kevin said. “We love it when people come in here to talk with us about their projects and creative passions. We’re here to help.”

Sometimes that help involves giving artists the boost of confidence that comes from exhibiting their work in the store’s spacious back gallery. The exhibited works are often sold – at no commission – adding another boost to an artist’s self-confidence. New exhibits are timed to start on the first Friday of each month, coinciding with the region’s popular First Friday arts celebrations.

And now, as a result of the newly developing relationship between the retail business and the day program, discussions are underway to schedule an upcoming exhibit to feature artworks from the Swope Health program.

If you’d like to support the art therapy program, visit the Swope Health Amazon Smile Wish List page to donate supplies. Or come to the annual Holiday Mart, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, to purchase artwork from the program.

Holiday Mart 2019

Want to Quit Smoking? Learn about Quit2Live³

Quit2Live3Researchers at the University of Kansas have uncovered a paradox about smoking and African-Americans.

About 15 percent of African-Americans are smokers, a number that is about the same as non-Hispanic whites. Although African-American smokers generally smoke less – 13 cigarettes a day compared to 17 a day for non-Hispanic whites – African-American smokers experience more smoking-related disease and death. (See information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)


That is the question at root of more than 20 years of smoking research by the KU Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, performed in partnership with Swope Health.

So far, the research has led to the understanding that African-Americans metabolize nicotine more slowly, so the chemical tends to stay in the body longer, noted Nikki L. Nollen, Ph.D., a professor at the KU Cancer Center in Cancer Control and Public Health. Other factors like menthol cigarettes and stress also contribute to why African Americans experience more smoking-related disease and death.

These factors mean that African-Americans may also need different forms of treatment to stop smoking.  There are currently seven FDA approved medications for quitting smoking.  If one treatment doesn’t work, another may be needed, she added.

Tricia Snow

Tricia Snow, Project Director of Quit2Live3, with a breath analyzer used to measure chemicals in exhaled air, part of the data captured in the program.

To find out the best ways to support smoking cessation for African-Americans, Dr. Nollen is leading a new study called Quit2Live3. It is the third in a series of clinical trials or research to answer complex questions about treatment for stopping smoking. It also is a continuation of the “Kick It at Swope” research partnership launched in 1999 at Swope Health with more than 3,000 African-American smokers participating.

The research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

The KU research team Project Director Tricia Snow is now looking for 392 African-American smokers who would be willing help answer a new research question:

If a quit-smoking medication is not working, is it better to continue on the same treatment in hopes that it will start working, OR is it better to switch to another medication in hopes that the new medication will work better?


To participate, you must be an African-American cigarette smoker, age 18 or older, who currently smokes from five to 30 cigarettes a day and are interested in quitting. You must be available for six office visits as Swope Health Central over the course of six months.

If you meet the qualifications, visit https://swopehealth.org/quit2live/ to provide some basic information and express interest in the study. There is no cost to participate and you will receive compensation for your time if you qualify.

“You have to be ready to try to quit and you’ll have to do some work,” noted Tricia, “but there is probably no better way to quit smoking. You’ll have support, education and medication.”


Tricia SnowThe researchers will screen applicants for the program. Candidates must not be under substance abuse treatment within the previous year, and must be medically eligible.

When you are accepted into the program, you will be randomly assigned to be part of a group. One group of 196 participants will receive a nicotine patch and enhanced care smoking-cessation counseling throughout the course of the 24 weeks. A second group of 196 will start on a nicotine patch and enhanced care, then, depending on how well they are doing on the medication, they may be switched to one or two other quit-smoking medications (either buproprion, also known as Zyban or Wellbutrin, and/or varenicline, which is also known as Chantix).

Researchers will take regular urine samples throughout the trial to analyze the effectiveness of the medications and look at chemicals from cigarettes that are present in the body.


If you qualify for the program, you will receive information and care designed to help you quit smoking. You’ll receive more than four months of a quit-smoking medication – either the nicotine patch, Chantix or Zyban. There’s no cost to you for any of the treatments.

If you complete the six-month program, you can receive up to $320.

The counseling will help you build a plan for quitting, Tricia said, including steps like setting the quit date and building a support network.

“You’ll be helping us find the most effective method of treatment to help African Americans quit smoking,” Tricia said.The results of this research will help build scientific knowledge and provide important lessons in treating nicotine addiction in African Americans, she said.

“And we’ll help you learn how to live life as a non-smoker,” Tricia added.


The program has worked for others. Elvin, a former study participant, said: “Quit2Live is a great program! They explain everything in detail. They make you feel welcome and are a great support system in helping you to quit smoking. I recommend this study to anyone who wants to quit.”

Another former participant, Carmen, said, “I would like to thank Kick It at Swope for changing my life. I had a wonderful support coach who made it easier than I could have imagined. I’ve smoked for 20-plus years and was able to quit in just six days! Now smoke-free for six months. Thank you!”

Are you interested in quitting smoking? Visit https://swopehealth.org/quit2live/ to see if you qualify.