Volume 1, Issue 7 | July 2022
Our Monthly News & Updates
Baby Fever Runs Rampant in the COPE Family
Rachel Carpenter (LHEAT Lead in Bourbon County and Program Coordinator of the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team) recently welcomed Evelyn Jean Carpenter to the world. Mother and baby are both doing very well. Find Rachel's email here if you'd like to write a personal note. Thank you for allowing us to share this special moment with you, Rachel!

Having a workplace that is friendly to working families with young infants is crucial to improving employee retention and strengthening parent-infant bonding and feeding. Carpenter and Jody Hoener (the Regional Community Lead for the Southeast Region and President and CEO of the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team) developed a 'Baby in the Workplace' policy to prioritize parent-infant health and well-being.
Asides from the workplace policy, Healthy Bourbon County Action Team also created a nursery so employees could visit and bond with their infants. Carpenter helped design the nursery.

The pictures to the left highlight three different nursery angles. It is equipped with comfortable furniture as well as a play and an entertainment area, allowing parents to interact with their newborns in a quiet and relaxed environment.

Courtesy photo: Rachel Carpenter and Jody Hoener
Christina Pacheco contributed reporting from COPE Headquarters.
Seward County CHWs Celebrate 'Liberal Night Out'
Image (left to right): Laura Enriquez, Julie Foster and Karina Vazquez
One of COPE's many missions is to embed itself in the fabric of the community. To do so, CHWs in each county actively introduce themselves to community members through various events and partnership building.

On June 24, the COPE team from Seward County, with a home base in Liberal Area Coalition for Families (LACF), participated in the Liberal Night Out, a free, annual event hosted by the Liberal Police Department in conjunction with the Liberal Recreational Department. At this event, Liberal residents enjoyed games, bounce houses, booths and a free outdoor movie at dark.

The occasion allowed CHWs, including Laura Enriquez, Susan Lukwago, Julie Foster and Karina Vazquez, to interact with members. They all took the time to educate more than 700 people who visited the booth about the role of a CHW and distributed COVID-19 at-home test kits.

'Liberal Night Out' is known to be a fun, engaging event in the community. CHWs extended the fun by inviting community members to spin the wheel at the display table to win a free item, including hand sanitizer, seeds and toys for children (pictured above). LACF provided free giveaways.

Image (L to R): Laura Enriquez and Susan Lukwago
Courtesy photos: Karina Vazquez contributed reporting and photos from Seward County
Geary County Fosters a Long-Pasting Partnership with its Local Veterans for Foreign Wars (VFW) Chapter
Finney County LHEAT and CHWs Participate in the 'Kan Be Healthy' Fair
Images (L to R): Gloria Calderon, Ajmal Ahmadi, Patricia Torres, Andrea Gallegos, and Calderon's daughter volunteering at the event; COPE's team table at the fair; Geovannie Gone, Vicky Ortiz and Clarissa Carrillo Martinez at the fair
Image: Ajmal Ahmadi conducting a health screening
Images (left to right): Finney LHEAT member Madelyn Martinez Valdez at the fair; Manuel Guzman at the COPE table
On July 16, Finney County CHWs and LHEAT members attended the 'Kan Be Healthy' fair, which provides health care coverage, such as screening and services, to children, families, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities.

CHWs of Finney County conducted health screenings, such as BMI, for attendees. Ajmal Ahmadi was pictured here on the left measuring and explaining BMI to a local resident.

Finny County LHEAT played an active role in this fair, too. Birgit Lemke, LHEAT lead of Finney County (not pictured), represented both COPE and her professional affiliation, Catholic Charities. Her organization is a charity network that serves people in need and advocates for justice in social structures. Lemke brought a young refugee family to support the team's activity while introducing helpful local resources to this family. Madelyn Martinez Valdez, a LHEAT member, also tabled at the event with her organization, Immigrant Connection, Inc., which provides affordable legal services to immigrants.
Courtesy photos and captions: Clarissa Carrillo Martinez
Harvey County LHEAT and CHWs Tackle High COVID-19 Infection Rates through HopeFest
Harvey County's COVID-19 infection rate has more than doubled in the last three weeks; Yet, few people are aware of their increased risk of infection.

To mitigate this, Harvey County LHEAT participated in HopeFest on July 23 to share updated information about COVID-19 and to distribute at-home testing kits and masks. Angela Scott (CHW Field Supervisor) and Thien Doan (a CHW from Sedgwick County with a home base in GraceMed) also assisted the LHEAT during the event.

The popular event sponsored by the Harvey County Resource Council proved to be a perfect spot for LHEAT and CHWs to engage with the community. The team first and foremost accomplished its prime objective; that is, sharing encouraging messages to bridge the gap between what people think they know and what they need to know about COVID-19. This is particularly important when the COVID-19 continues to evolve and information is constantly updated.

"When giving accurate, up-to-date information and encouragement to mask and monitor themselves, people are typically willing and ready to participate in public health efforts," said Rebecca Barrett-Fox, LHEAT Lead of Harvey County.

Asides from information sharing, LHEAT and CHWs also accomplished additional objectives. They successfully directed dozens of people to free testing sites in the county. Further, approximately 90 take-home tests, which were provided by the Harvey County Health department, and 90 adult-sized N95 masks were distributed. Finally, 40 adults answered questions about quality of life in their communities.
Image: A Corsi-Rosenthal Box, a DIY air filter in use during the event, only took 15 minutes for the team to assemble.
Rebecca Barrett-Fox contributed reporting and photo from Harvey County.
Wyandotte County LHEAT Partners with Leah's Laundromat on the Q
Member Spotlight
Hello, my fellow COPE Teammates. My name is Lisa Robertson and I am so excited to be here and to tell you a little bit about myself and my mission.  

I have been a Licensed Bachelor's level Social Worker for over 27 years. Yes, that makes me a little older, but it also makes me clearer on my mission, not just my career mission, but my mission as a human being. Several years ago, I attended a seminar based on Stephen R. Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I can't remember all the habits, but during that seminar the presenter asked us to write a mission statement. The statement I wrote went something like this: "I will choose to live, love and SERVE others in a Christ-like manner in the place where there are without judgment, prejudice, or pre-conceived ideas or attitudes."

The word SERVE is so important. I chose the social work path to help others and to empower them to help themselves when my services are no longer needed. There is truly more than one way to reach a destination. Who is to say my way is the right way, the shortest route, or the route with the least resistance. Some days things work out great and it feels amazing. Other days, everything you have worked for three weeks falls apart and you are back at square one. You just have to remember that to some of the people we see, you may be the first person that has really taken the time to listen and to hear them. You make a difference to every person you speak to.

I am so glad to be a part of an amazing COPE Team and I really look forward to meeting you. I placed my mission statement on a plaque and gave it to each of my daughters, now age 27, 23 and 16. I'd like to encourage you all to think about "What is your Mission or your Why?" 

The photo I provided was taken at a COPE event where we gave food boxes to 480 individuals to assist them with food insecurity. The event took around 20 volunteers to help load, organize and deliver some to surrounding towns and apartment complex's in the county. The individual pictured with me in the car is my mother who benefited from one of the healthy boxes that contained fruits and vegetables.   
We love to hear from you! Share any noteworthy stories and activities you'd like for us to include in our future newsletters. 
COPE in the Media
Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Highlights COPE in its Weekly Email Update
Thanks to Barton County LHEAT's tireless efforts, the Barton County Chamber of Commerce featured COPE in its weekly newsletter on June 15. The Chamber of Commerce has long championed economic prosperity in each town and county. It spotlights Barton County's first community engagement event at the Cinco de Mayo Festival on May 7, informing and educating its chamber members on COPE equity-based initiatives.
Planeta Venus Online Interviews Flor Sanchez
Flor Sanchez, CHW of Barton County with a home base in Heart of Kansas Family Heath Care, Inc., was recently interviewed by Planeta Venus Online, an Internet radio station and blog in Spanish from Kansas.

In this interview, Sanchez discussed extensively programs and services available to the Latino community. Click the video on the left to listen to the interview.
Team Activity Highlight
When it comes to throwing a surprise retirement party for an LHEAT member, Geary County CHWs and friends surely have the formula down.

To keep the retirement party a surprise for Tonette Hammond, a Geary County LHEAT member, party organizers came up with an elaborated "diaper drive" scheme. They told Hammond that this fundraiser would be her last event before she retires. CHWs and friends completely funded the retirement party. Approximately 31 people were in attendance. This extensive effort shows a close-knit relationship between CHWs and LHEAT members and brings everyone together to celebrate Hammond's achievements and contributions to the community.

Courtesy photos: Linda Gibson
Worthy of Note
Congratulations to Christina Pacheco and Kristina Bridges!
Congratulations to Christina Pacheco (COPE Project Director, pictured left) and Kristina Bridges (COPE Southeast Regional Liaison and Evaluation Team, pictured right), who started their faculty appointment in the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health this July.

Pacheco is now a Research Instructor and Bridges is a Research Assistant Professor. Congratulations to both!
Congratulations to KU Medical Center Earning the Comprehensive Cancer Center Status from the National Cancer Institute!
KU Medical Center is home to many of the COPE team members. On July 7, Dr. Roy A. Jensen, Vice Chancellor and Director of KU Medical Center, and Dr. Douglas A Girod, Chancellor of the University of Kansas, announced that the Center has achieved designation as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center. This is the "highest level of recognition and the gold standard for cancer centers."

KU Medical Center is the only one in the region with this designation and joins the other 52 Comprehensive Cancer Centers nationwide. Peers with this designation include the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.

Chancellor Girod said in an email to KU faculty, staff and affiliates that "achieving designation as one of 53 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation means that cancer patients throughout our region won't have to travel far to receive access to clinical trials and treatments, and our researchers will have increased access to federal funding and research dollars."

This is such a monumental achievement. Congratulations, KU Medical Center! Read the press release here and watch the video from Dr. Jensen above.
Quote of the Month
Mental Health of America’s (MHA) Minority Mental Health Month campaign, #NotACharacterFlaw explored stories told by individuals who identify as part of a minority community about their experiences with mental illness and recovery. Sharing these stories will encourage underrepresented communities to speak out about how mental illness affects them and remove the stigma associated with those conditions.

#NotACharacterFlaw reached 1.6 million people over four weeks - speaking volumes about the great need to promote mental health outreach and public awareness among minority communities.
Celebrating National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is observed each July to bring awareness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness in the United States.
The outbreak of coronavirus is challenging to cope with. Fear, anxiety, changing daily routines, and a general sense of uncertainty. Although people respond to stressful situations differently, taking steps to care for yourself and your family can help you manage stress. Check out the National Institute of Mental Health's publication to learn more about coping with traumatic events.

Innovations in evidence-based medications, therapy, and psychosocial services such as psychiatric rehabilitation, housing, employment, and peer support have made wellness and recovery a reality for people with mental health conditions.

Treatment choices for mental health conditions will vary from person to person. Even people with the same diagnosis will have different experiences, needs, goals, and objectives for treatment. There is no "one size fits all" treatment. Review the National Alliance of Mental Illness resource center to learn more about developing and utilizing a custom-made crisis response system.

Abuse, whether physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual, can have long-term effects on one's mental health. Trauma can affect how people feel about themselves and how they relate to others. Women who have gone through abuse or other trauma have a higher risk of developing a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Get help to heal the physical, mental, and emotional scars of trauma and abuse.

Although being LGBTQ+ is absolutely not a mental illness, many LGBTQ+ people experience mental health struggles. The bisexual and transgender communities have the highest rates of mental health concerns within the LGBTQ+ population. Younger members of the LGBTQ+ community struggle the most with mental health concerns of all age groups. Check out the link below to learn more about the current mental health state of the LGBTQ+ community.

Through the Think Cultural Health website, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) offers free, accredited online educational programs tailored for a variety of health care professionals, including physicians; nurses; oral health, maternal health, and behavioral health providers; disaster and emergency management personnel; and community health workers. Each e-learning program is designed to build knowledge, skills, and awareness of cultural and linguistic competency and CLAS as a way to improve the quality of care.
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