Swope Health supports Two Million Arms KC vaccination campaign


Swope Health supports Two Million Arms KC vaccination campaign

A new marketing campaign to raise awareness about the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccination was launched this week by Comeback KC, a collection of public and private organizations focused on helping the Kansas City region make a fast and complete recovery from COVID-19.

Swope Health is proud to support the campaign, “Two Million Arms KC.” Swope Health joins campaign supporters including the Mid-America Regional Council, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City, El Centro, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the city of Kansas City, and governments of Clay, Platte and Johnson counties, and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County.

In a release announcing the campaign Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said: “As more folks become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and more resources become available to receive it, the Two Million Arms KC Campaign will be working to inform and connect folks to these events and encourage them to receive their vaccines. We will continue to work on quickly and equitably connecting folks with a vaccine, so we can finally bring an end to this pandemic and begin our recovery process.”

Swope Health offers the COVID-19 vaccines to patients and the community, including through partnerships and mass vaccination events. (See https://swopehealth.org/covid-19-vaccination-information for details.)

“Our goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Jennifer Frost, Interim Chief Medical Officer for Swope Health. “This strong and unified support for getting people vaccinated will especially help with achieving equitable distribution of the vaccine, getting it to the areas of the community that are typically underserved or overlooked.”


The campaign has a website – VaccinateKC – offering links to state guidelines, county health departments and organizations like hospitals and pharmacies that provide vaccinations. From the website, you can also find information about the vaccines and get answers to common questions about the vaccines.

“Two Million Arms” is a reference to a goal of vaccinating two million people in the Kansas City region. Experts (including specialists at Johns Hopkins University and the Mayo Clinic) have estimated that we need at least 70 percent of the population immunized to halt the epidemic. Two million people is about 90 percent of the greater Kansas City area, making this an ambitious target, noted Aaron Deacon, managing director at KC Digital Drive, one of the campaign sponsors.

As of April 18, the region’s vaccination total was 404,147 individuals, according to the Mid-America Regional Council, which tracks COVID-19 data.

If you’d like to support this campaign, there’s a way. Swope Health and the organizers welcome hearing from you about your vaccination story – send your reasons for getting vaccinated, include your photo, and you could be selected to be one of the faces in the campaign. Use this form to share your story with us, and use hashtags #TwoMillionArmsKC and #vaccinateKC if you share on your own social media accounts.  

May Day Event: Food, Family Essentials at Swope Health Central

Swope Health announces a First Saturday free food and family essentials give-away from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, at Swope Health Central, 3801 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64130.

Swope Health and partners in the monthly 1st Saturday event will offer foods, cleaning supplies, and family health essential items – all free. The drive-through line forms on Cleveland Avenue heading north, to turn right onto Blue Parkway and into the Swope Health Main Entrance.

Swope Health associates will direct you once you enter the parking lot. You’ll stay in your car, we’ll help you pick up household baskets and food boxes.

This free event is sponsored by Total Man, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Community Action Agency of Greater Kansas City, Aetna, Sysco Kansas City, Community Builders of Kansas City, Harvesters, Home State Health, McCown Gordon Construction, Morningstar’s Development Co. Inc., United Way, the National Congress of Black Women and State Sen. Barbara Anne Washington.

Come early! Maximum of two families served per car – no walk-up service available.


Why does Black maternal health matter?

Ebony Peterson, Community Health Worker at Swope Health, was only 22 weeks pregnant when she went into pre-term labor. After the initial shock, she was expecting a long hospital stay on bed rest. Instead, her baby was born just two days later. Baby Aubrey was tiny at 1 pound, 2 ounces, but mighty in overcoming the odds.

Ebony is sharing her traumatic birth story in honor of Black Maternal Health Week, which is April 11 to 17. This week of activism and education was started by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance four years ago.

“There’s power in sharing our birth experiences,” Ebony says. “It helps to learn we are not alone. We can support and learn from one another. We can spur change and, in turn, improve the health of pregnant and new moms in our minority communities.”

Why focus on Black maternal health?  

Missouri has the 7th highest maternal mortality rate in the nation with 35 deaths per 100,000 births, according to World Population Review. Missouri’s mortality rates for Black moms skyrockets to 65 deaths per 100,000 births.

Nurture KC works to close this gap and fights for health equity through education, advocacy and one-on-one support for moms – most of whom are minorities – through its Healthy Start program. Ebony provides such support for fellow moms, as she is one of the program’s Community Health Workers.

Baby Aubrey’s journey

Ebony watched her own preemie daughter spend four months in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Aubrey was down to weighing just 15 ounces early on. The infant was on a ventilator to help her breathe and had a feeding tube to receive nourishment. She also was diagnosed with Sickle Cell disease, a blood disorder, and Craniosynostosis – a rare birth defect where the bones in a baby’s skull join together too early. Aubrey had surgery to fix her skull when she was 2 years old.

“My daughter is a trooper and overcame so much, but we knew it could have been way worse based on how early she was born. To put it in perspective, her birthdate is June 3, but my due date was Oct. 1,” Ebony says. “We feel fortunate for her overall good health and for the medical team who took care of her during her early days. The hospital was our first home as a family of three and we knew she was receiving the best care possible there. We were lucky. Now Aubrey is 4 years old and the sweetest, talkative, independent little lady!

“I know we all have different experiences, but my background can help me empathize and advocate for fellow moms. Together, we can push for systematic change that works to level the playing field for Black moms, as I know many are not as fortunate as I was. Everyone deserves the same chance to be healthy.”

This article is from Nurture KC . Nurture KC is a community collaboration dedicated to reducing infant mortality and improving family health. Nurture KC works to change policy for broad impact, transform systems to improve health outcomes at a local level, and provides one-on-one support to connect families.


Mass Vaccine Event at the Zoo was Wildly Successful!

On Wednesday, March 31, Community Builders of Kansas City hosted a vaccination event at the Kansas City Zoo for Missouri residents.

Swope Health teamed up with Truman Medical Centers, Children’s Mercy Hospital, the UMKC School of Medicine and the University of Kansas Medical Center to deliver nearly 2,000 vaccinations.

Community partners joined in to provide services, including Harvesters, Happy Bottoms Diapers, the Kansas City  Public Library and Catholic Charities.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was there, too, helping Harvesters distribute food to families in need.  U.S. Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver II, a co-sponsor, and Jackson County Executive Frank White were also present in support of the effort.

Are you scheduled for a 2nd dose on April 3?

If you are among the 420 Kansas Citians who participated in the March 6 Vaccination Event at Swope Health, you should be scheduled to receive your second dose this Saturday, April 3.

The second dose of vaccination is offered by appointment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 3, in the parking lot at 4001 Blue Parkway, near Swope Health.

To confirm or reschedule your appointment,
contact the Kansas City Health Department
at 3-1-1 and select Option 1.

The original event was sponsored by Missouri Sen. Barbara Anne Washington, Kansas City Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, the Missouri Department of Social Services, the Black Health Care Coalition, the city of Kansas City Public Health Department, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, and Swope Health.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Kansas City Health Department at 3-1-1, option 1.

Family Essentials Giveaway – Saturday, April 3, at Swope Health

Please plan on joining us for another 1st Saturday Family Essentials giveaway drive-through, from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, April 3.

This is a free event at Swope Health, 3801 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, MO, 64130. The drive-through line forms on Cleveland Avenue heading north, to turn right onto Blue Parkway and into the Swope Health Main Entrance.

Swope Health associates will direct you once you enter the parking lot. You’ll stay in your car, we’ll help you pick up household baskets with toiletries and family essentials, and food boxes. Special this month: we’re offering Easter Baskets for kids, as well as games, toys and blankets.

This free event is sponsored by Total Man, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Community Action Agency of Greater Kansas City, Aetna, Sysco Kansas City, Community Builders of Kansas City, Harvesters, Home State Health, McCown Gordon Construction, Morningstar’s Development Co. Inc., United Way, the National Congress of Black Women and State Sen. Barbara Anne Washington.

Come early! Maximum of two families served per car – no walk-up service available.

Swope Health Wins South KC Chamber Impact Award

Swope Health is proud to announce it has received The South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Special 2021 Community Impact Hero Award.

“This is a special award to recognize healthcare professionals for their efforts during the pandemic,” said Vickie Wolgast, president of the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

The nominations were reviewed by a six-member Chamber committee, and then Chamber members and community leaders voted for the winners.  The awards were presented at the Chamber’s Virtual Annual Meeting, Thursday, March 25, 2021.  Jeron Ravin, President & CEO of Swope Health, accepted the award.

“Over the past year, we have tested more than 15,000 Kansas Citians for Covid-19,” said Ravin.  “We’ll continue to fight against Covid-19 and serve the Kansas City community.”

Each year, the chamber seeks out nominations from the community and its members to recognize companies and volunteers who make the most impact in the region.

Nominations identify companies who make contributions to the community, in the form of donations to a non-profit or support in time or resources. The chamber also considers programs providing support to veterans, disabled persons, and ex-convicts, as well as initiatives in mentoring, job skills training and entrepreneurial efforts.


What you need to know about colorectal cancer

March has been named as the month to raise awareness of colorectal cancer, because it is a highly preventable disease and yet is a leading cause of death in the U.S.

Colorectal cancer is a cancer (a disease where cells grow out of control) that starts in the colon or rectum. It is sometimes called colon cancer, for short.

According to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, more than 149,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease this year. Many colorectal cancers can be prevented or caught early, when they are more easily treated, according to the American Cancer Society. There are more than 1.4 million survivors of the disease.


At Swope Health, we are supporting efforts to raise awareness. If you are a Swope Health patient, you may receive a text message about colon cancer screening. If you come in for a visit, your provider may encourage you to have a screening.


Behind the scenes, Swope Health is also working on initiatives to assure that patients at higher risk for colon cancer are invited to be screened for the disease.  The American Cancer Society notes the African-American community is disproportionately at risk for colorectal cancer – they are about 20 percent more likely to get colorectal cancer than most other groups.


“This is a screening that saves lives,” said Dr. Naiomi Jamal, Chief Quality Officer for Swope Health. “With screening, often we can find abnormalities early, when treatment works best. With our at-home kits, the screening is both convenient and lifesaving.”

Who should be screened?

Screenings generally begin at age 50, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of national health experts. People who are at higher risk are those with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps; or personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, polyps or colorectal cancer. Also, people with a history of radiation treatment to the abdomen or pelvic area should be screened.

Other conditions – like being overweight, physically inactive, or diabetic – may increase risk factors.


What does a screening entail?

There are two basic types of screening. At Swope Health, an initial screening is typically a stool-based test kit. You do this at home, at your convenience. You provide a sample of your feces in a kit, which looks for hidden blood in the sample.

A more comprehensive and complex screening is a colonoscopy. In this test, a provider uses a small flexible tube and camera to examine the colon and rectum. This examination requires advance preparation to clear out the intestines and typically requires sedation. (Learn more about other forms of screening at American Cancer Society or the Centers for Disease Control and Protection.)


Swope Health presents: Women and Civil Rights


The Swope Health  presentation in honor of women’s history month is now available for replay at https://youtu.be/ZUprdw0fhK8.

The event was held virtually on Tuesday, March 30 and featured Vanessa May, Ph.D., an associate professor of history and co-director of the Women and Gender Studies Program at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. She also teaches classes on American women’s history, sexuality and gender, immigration, and labor.  She is an expert on the history of domestic workers and labor law.

She received her Ph.D. and MA degree from the University of Virginia and a bachelor of arts degree from Vassar College. She is the author of Unprotected Labor: Household Workers, Politics, and Middle-Class Reform in New York 1870-1940, as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

NOW AVAILABLE FOR REPLAY: https://youtu.be/ZUprdw0fhK8



Free Support for Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment

Do you need healthcare insurance?

Swope Health can assist you with finding a healthcare insurance plan in the federal insurance marketplace – and now’s the time! We are in an Open Enrollment period, now through May 15, 2021.

Why now?

One of the earliest actions President Joe Biden took was to re-launch the Open Enrollment period for Americans to sign up for healthcare insurance under the Affordable Care Act or ACA. The executive order is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has left 30 million Americans without healthcare coverage.

The act specifically recognizes the exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: “Black, Latino, and Native American persons are more likely to be uninsured, and communities of color have been especially hard hit by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn.”

What is the ACA Marketplace?

The marketplace (Healthcare.gov) is operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It brings together a range of health insurance plans to provide coverage – including for pre-existing health conditions – you can buy regardless of income. The program is designed to improve access to healthcare services, especially for those who may be unemployed or unable to afford traditional healthcare insurance.

At the Healthcare.gov Marketplace, you can select insurance that covers healthcare services from doctors, hospitals, community health centers and other providers in the United States.

Swope Health can assist you with registering for healthcare insurance in the ACA Marketplace.

How to get help:

You can call Swope Health at 816-599-5590 to talk with an enrollment specialist at Swope Health. Spanish-speaking specialists are available.

Or, if you prefer, you can schedule an appointment to meet with a specialist – either in person or through a video conference call. If you schedule an in-person meeting at any of the Swope Health clinic locations in Missouri and Kansas, you will be required to wear a mask, be screened upon entry and maintain appropriate physical distancing.

In the appointment with the specialist, you can also learn if you qualify for Medicaid and if so, the specialist can help you sign up for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

What do I need to apply?

You can start by exploring the marketplace (Healthcare.gov) on your own to get an idea of 2021 health plans and prices. You’ll be asked about your income, so be prepared with tax information or pay stubs.


Additional resources: