Two Swope Health Associates Honored

We are so proud of two members of our team who were featured prominently recently in the news in Kansas City. In case you missed it, here’s what has the Swope Health family beaming:

In the Kansas City Business JournalDr. Naiomi Jamal was listed as one of the “20 to Know: These healthcare professionals keep ​KC hale and hearty.” 

In the Ingram’s MagazineRachel Melson, DNP, was listed as one of the “2022 Heroes in Healthcare.” 

Here’s what they said:

Excerpted from the Business Journal:

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

Chief quality officer, Swope Health

Practicing as a primary care physician these days is challenge enough. But that’s just the start of Jamal’s job. As chief quality officer, she leads Swope Health’s quality and improvement efforts, as well as the organization’s work in population health that looks

both at the patient and resource-allocation sides of the equation.


Jamal received a medical degree in Pakistan, then did residencies in family medicine and general preventive medicine and public health at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She also has a master’s in health from UTMB.


Excerpted from Ingram’s:

Rachel Melson, DNP

Rachel Melson, Swope Health 

Call it the Melson Mission Statement: “In nursing, you learn to treat others with compassion and as an equal. And you approach every interaction with a patient in your care with your whole heart, every time.” So says ​nurse practitioner Rachel Melson of Swope Health.


She’s a native of Raytown who flirted with the idea of a law degree—right up to her first day at Rockhurst University. “I started wondering about a career that would allow me to help others in a more hands-on way,” she says. “The day of registration, I surprised my parents with a change to nursing. It was the best decision I have ever made.”


She worked for years in the ICU ward at Research Medical Center, but when her final clinical rotation for nurse practitioner took her to Swope Health, “I finally saw where Iwas called to be,” she says. “My critical-thinking skills that I developed from years in the ICU armed me with the tools to help an underserved community in ways I didn’t know were possible.”


Medicine, Melson says, can be very algorithmic: You have X disease, you get X workup, and then you get X medicine /treatment/ education. “But there is not a perfect algorithm for a person who is living in a tent, has several significant medical conditions, no access to clean water, and no way to store their medicine,” she says. “You have to think outside the box, know your community and its resources, and want to go the extra mile for your patients.”


The real appeal of nursing, she says, wasn’t apparent until she was already in nursing school. “Being a nurse is about truly wanting to care for others without any bias for their circumstance and a desire to help from a position of a peer, rather than the perceived superordinate position of other professions,” she says.


A self-described lifelong learner, she pursued the highest degree possible to achieve the most significant impact: “Every day I am given the opportunity to make meaningful changes to the health of others in the exam room, in the community, and even in the classroom.​”






Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Virtual Job Fair Dec. 9

Swope Health is hosting a virtual job fair on Thursday, December 9, 2021 for applicants interested in clinical and behavioral health roles with Swope Health.  The event runs from 11 am to 1 pm.

We offer competitive salaries, sign-on and retention bonuses for many roles within our organization.

Register for the virtual job fair:

Once you’ve registered, you’ll get a chance to upload a photo and add your resume and Linked In page, if you want.  Answer a couple of questions about your education, what position you are interested in, and how we can contact you.

At the virtual fair, you’ll be able to browse the available positions and learn more by chatting with our representatives.

Register NOW:

Check our nursing openings and loan repayment program

Through the growing demands of an aging population, a shrinking workforce, and the ongoing effects of COVID-19, the United States is facing a shortage of nurses. Many health organizations, including Swope Health, have multiple job opportunities in the nursing field.

Nurses who are employed by community health centers like Swope Health, however, may receive funding toward payment of their qualifying education loans through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. To be eligible, you must be in a patient-facing nursing role with an organization that works with the medically underserved.

The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program helps address the needs of patient populations facing health inequities, while supporting the development of the nursing workforce. It is not available to nurses who are employed in the private industry. The program can be a tremendous benefit for people with large qualifying education loans.

In exchange for the payment of these loans, the program works this way:

  • Registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses serve a two-year service commitment at a health care facility facing a critical shortage of nurses, like Swope Health.
  • Nurse faculty serve a two-year service commitment at an eligible school of nursing.
  • Additional loan repayment is available for both groups with a third year of service commitment.

Get more details about the program at The 2022 application deadline is January 13.

This opportunity is another reason why Swope Health is a great place for nurses – so check out our careers page and apply soon to receive all the benefits you can! 

You’ll find openings for many fulfilling, people-focused healthcare jobs, both full time and part time. We offer generous paid days off, health benefits, 401K and sign-on bonuses.

Join the Swope Health team!




Swope Health CEO Joins NACHC Board of Directors

Jeron RavinJeron Ravin, JD, President and CEO of Swope Health, begins a two-year term today on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) representing Region VII. 

Serving as the national voice for community-based health centers like Swope Health, the association promotes their mission and accomplishments. It works to secure ongoing support to protect and strengthen community health center services and expand access for people and communities in need.

“It’s a tremendous honor to join the NACHC Board of Directors and advance our shared goals of advocacy and resources for community health centers,” Ravin said. “I look forward to working to promote the mission of health centers across the country to build stronger, healthier communities through high-quality, patient-centered care that is accessible to all.”

Ravin replaces Dennis Kruse of Family Care Health Centers in St. Louis, who served on the NACHC board for 16 years. Ravin joins fellow Region VII representative Denise Cyzman of the Community Care Network of Kansas, whose term expires next year.

As President and CEO since 2019, Ravin leads strategic direction for Swope Health. With a master’s degree in Healthcare Leadership from Brown University’s School of Professional Studies, Ravin also holds a Juris Doctor from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law and a BA in Journalism from Howard University.


Swope Health appoints Sheilahn Davis-Wyatt as Chief Operations Officer

Swope Health, Kansas City’s leading provider of healthcare services for the medically underserved, today announced appointment of Sheilahn Davis-Wyatt as Chief Operations Officer.

Ms. Davis-Wyatt previously was COO at Unity Health Care, the largest network of community health centers in the Washington, D.C., area. In this role, she managed the operations of more than 20 traditional and non-traditional health sites, which serve more than 104,000 patients through 500,000 visits annually.

Prior to joining Unity, Ms. Davis-Wyatt was the COO for KC Care Health Center, where she had a long history of supporting the Health Center, serving as a member of the board for more than a decade, also as treasurer and chair of the board.

“We are delighted to bring Sheilahn’s expertise back to the Kansas City area,” said Jeron Ravin, J.D., President and Chief Executive of Swope Health. “Sheilahn understands the complexity of the healthcare environment and needs of our community. She has the tools and the passion to help Swope Health achieve our goals – improving access to healthcare, expanding our presence and services, and driving change in our community.”

Earlier, Ms. Davis-Wyatt was a senior administrative/operations executive with Children’s Mercy Kansas City, where she oversaw the ambulatory clinics and services. She also served as the COO and Ethics & Compliance Officer with HCA Menorah Medical Center after leading in other capacities with Health Midwest at Menorah, Overland Park Regional, Research and Baptist Medical Centers on the senior executive teams and across the system.

Ms. Davis-Wyatt is active in the Kansas City community and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Kansas City University and is a member of the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Links, Inc. Her community involvement has included work with the Council for Court Excellence in Washington, D.C., Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care/North Care Hospice, Black Community Fund, Rose Brooks Shelter and Jack and Jill.

She is a former board member of the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City (now Health Forward Foundation) where she served as Chair of the Finance and Investments and Administration Committees. She has also held board positions with Cancer Action, Kansas City Clinical Oncology and Newhouse Shelter for Battered Women.

Ms. Davis-Wyatt has a Master’s degree in Health/Healthcare Administration and Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts from William Jewell College. She also is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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.


Swope Health appoints Dr. Thurston Smith as Chief Information Officer

Swope Health, Kansas City’s leading provider of healthcare services for the medically underserved, today announced Dr. Thurston Smith as Chief Information Officer.

Dr. Smith is an IT professional with experience in health information systems management, project management of complex systems, and operational leadership. He comes to Swope Health from Cerner Corp., one of the nation’s leading health information systems firm, where he served as senior engineer manager, leading an engineering team in code design and development.

Dr. Smith also has experience working in a federally qualified health center, having previously served as CIO at the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center in Kansas City. Here he led all aspects of IT systems including development and implementation of new electronic medical records, pharmacy, imaging and laboratory services.

“We welcome Dr. Smith’s passion for coaching, mentoring and continuous learning, as well as the deep technical expertise he brings,” said Jeron Ravin, JD., President and Chief Executive of Swope Health. “Dr. Smith understands our commitment to serve our whole community and will help us improve access to healthcare, build new efficiencies and enhance our services through technology.”

Dr. Smith brings expertise from roles at Truman Medical Centers; Datafile Technologies; and DST Systems Inc., all in Kansas City; and at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, in Iowa City, Iowa. A veteran of the U.S. Army and Army Reserve, Smith has also held positions as an adjunct professor with Johnson County Community College and DeVry University, where he received the highest student evaluation rate of his peers for two years.

He holds a Doctorate of Health Administration, emphasis in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics, from Capella University in Minneapolis; and a Master of Business Administration from DeVry University, Keller Graduate School of Management, in Naperville, Ill. He received a Master of Arts in Educational Technology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Associate degree in Applied Science in Information Technology from Hamilton Business College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Computer Science from Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Miss. He also holds several professional certifications.

Dr. Smith has received accolades in his field of study, including the Black Family Technology Awareness Association of Kansas City Award in February 2011, which recognizes an exceptional technology professional with the African American Community.

In the Kansas City community, Dr. Smith is active in his church and fraternity. He also serves on the boards of Jackson County CASA, a court advocacy group for children, and his non-profit organization, Iron Men Ministry, which mentors young men in positive development and empowerment.

Dr. Smith lives in Kansas City. He and his wife have four children and three grandchildren.

Swope Health CEO Appointed to National Task Force Addressing Racism

Jeron Ravin, JD, President and CEO of Swope Health, was recently appointed to the newly formed National Association of Community Health Center’s (NACHC) Task Force on Addressing Racism.

Task force members are charged with transforming NACHC into an anti-racist, multicultural organization and developing actionable strategies to lead the health center movement and the country in addressing social and health injustices. In the midst of a national movement concerning racial justice, this Task Force, representing one of our nation’s largest health care delivery systems, will focus on developing tangible steps to undo the affects that systemic racism has on healthcare and health outcomes.

“Rooting out systemic racism in healthcare is a monumental undertaking,” said Ravin, “but it must be done and I am honored to help forge a path to health equity.”

The association represents more than 1,400 federally supported health centers, providing healthcare to more than 29 million people.

NACHC recognizes that the profound racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States are embedded in long-standing institutional and systemic racism. Furthermore, NACHC recognizes that racism is a public health issue and public health crisis.

The Task Force will consist of no more than 11 people who will reflect diversity in terms of race/ethnicity, geography, age, sexual orientation, and gender. Lathran Woodard, NACHC Board President and a representative from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will serve as members of the task force.

Tradition in a Spooky Season

Traditions are important. Merriam-Webster defines traditions as “the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.” In other words, traditions are what we gift the generations to come.

In the middle of this pandemic it may be difficult to find a safe way to partake in the customary traditions. We all have to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and this gives us an opportunity to start new traditions. Those new traditions can keep you and your family safe this Halloween season.

You can start a new tradition with these yummy treats, the Crunchy Mummy – a combination of a Crunchy Pumpkin and Mummy cheese snack. This snack was prepared by Priscilla Perez Schmid, Clinical Registered Dietitian with Swope Health, based on recipes from the US Department of Agriculture. (Download the Halloween Recipes.)

“Traditions are a celebration of belonging,” Priscilla said. “It is a moment to enjoy that place and time that can describe some of our best memories.”

Additional resources:

And, if you are looking for options for a safe trick or treating event, remember TreatTown! Join us at Swope Health Central, 6:30 to 8:30 pm Saturday, Oct. 31, for our drive-through Halloween experience!

What new traditions will you build this spooky season?

Help yourself: Pantries offer healthy foods

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained many aspects of our life, including adding difficulty to keeping safe and healthy foods available at home.

If you are skipping meals to make do or if your family is hungry, one of the nearly 1,000 food pantries in the state of Missouri may be able to help.

Swope Health’s registered dietitian Priscilla Perez Schmid, MPH, RDN, LDN, recently had a conversation with Rebecca Collier of Harvesters, a community food network, about how food pantries in our community.  Their conversation answers questions about how food pantries work and how you can find a food pantry near you.

Harvesters has a service locator to help find resources near you and a calendar of public food distribution sites, many operated as drive-thru events.

Swope Health hosts regular food distribution drive-thru events on the first Saturday of each month with support from Sysco Foods, Total Man Community Development Corp. and Rep. Barbara Anne Washington and others. The next event is 9-11 am Saturday, Nov. 7 at Swope Health Central, 3801 Blue Parkway, Kansas City.

In addition, you can locate a nearby Food Pantry at Feeding Missouri is a coalition of six Missouri food banks working together to distribute foods.  The organization’s groups distribute more than 120 million pounds of food each year through a network of more than 1,500 community feeding programs.

Harvesters is a member of Feeding Missouri and a member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks.

You do not need to receive Food Stamp benefits to get help from a food pantry. You’ll be asked for basic information and a few questions about where you live. The pantries exist to provide relief from hunger. In the United States, the government estimates that one of every nine persons struggles with hunger.

information on finding a food pantry