June is National Men’s Health Month

Edward KaranjaBy Edward Karanja, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, Family Nurse Practitioner

The top conditions that pose the greatest health risks in males include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, liver disease and accidents. A healthy lifestyle and lifestyle modifications can help prevent some of these conditions. Staying active and keeping up with a healthy diet is the first step one can take toward the prevention of some of these conditions.

Annual Wellness Check

Visiting a healthcare provider for an annual wellness check is an important step to staying up to date with preventative measures. This will help to detect some conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes at the initial stages. Most people are unaware that they have conditions such as high blood pressure because most of the time there are no major presenting symptoms. Diabetes is another condition that may not have major symptoms at first stages. Annual wellness visits can help detect some of these conditions during the first stages and help prevent complications.

A Healthy Lifestyle

Lifestyle modification is another major step to take to stay healthy. This includes a healthy diet and staying active. Most men tend to gain weight as they get older, extra weight especially around the waist is a risk factor of developing conditions such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. This can be avoided by taking part in physical activity including cardio and resistance training for at least 30 minutes a day three to five days a week as tolerated. Increasing fruit and vegetables in your diet and consuming a low sugar, low salt and low-fat diet is also recommended. Other lifestyle modification factors to protect your health include—avoid or quit smoking, avoid or decrease alcohol intake and make sure to practice safe and protected sex.

Protecting yourself from accidents and injuries is also important. This can be achieved by using a seat belt in the car, keeping guns locked in a safe, using a ladder and protective equipment including helmet while riding a motorcycle.

Mental Health

June is National Men’s Health MonthMental health is a topic most men avoid talking about. Depression and anxiety are more likely to go undiagnosed when it comes to men as compared to women. Most men believe that mental health and illness only affect women and may be hesitant to bring up the topic because they’ll be seen as weak. This makes it hard for men to access mental health providers and receive the care they need. Some men end up self-treating with alcohol and recreational drugs. It is important to educate men that mental health is as important as physical health and encourage them to talk about it with family or healthcare providers.

Routine Screening

Routine preventative screening is recommended as we age. Testosterone levels start decreasing after age 40. Low testosterone levels may mimic depression, weight gain and is also associated with low sex drive/erectile dysfunction. It is recommended to have testosterone levels checked after age 40. Screening for prostate cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer, especially for those with history of smoking, is recommended according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Staying up to date with immunizations and vaccines are also important to your overall health.

If you are due for your annual wellness check, make an appointment at Health Partnership Clinic by calling 913-648-2266.

Health Partnership Partners with Community Health Council to Address Health Inequities in Johnson County

Health Partnership Partners with Community Health Council to Address Health Inequities in Johnson CountyBy Oziel Pruneda, CHW, Community Health Worker

In April 2024, Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) and Community Health Council of Wyandotte County announced a new joint partnership aimed at addressing health inequities and enhancing service coordination in Johnson County. The partnership includes Community Health Worker (CHW) services at the clinic’s Olathe site and Maternal Community Health Worker (MCHW) services available by referral to patients in Johnson and Miami counties. This partnership allows HPC to connect patients with services such as bilingual health education classes, including Healthy Heart Ambassador and Diabetes Prevention Program, support groups for postpartum depression and breastfeeding and more.

What is a Community Health Worker (CHW)?

Okay, so this is what I tell colleagues, co-workers and community partners:

Community Health Workers (CHW) are trained members of the community prepared to assist individuals and families to navigate health care systems and address a multitude of social risk factors. CHWs may also provide peer support through culturally responsive care. CHWs are knowledgeable advocates separate from the institutions they are immersed in to address social disparities. CHWs are the connection points from the provider to the patient and are invested in the patient’s overall health outcomes.

CHWs are extensively trained in Motivational Interviewing (MI), Trauma Informed Care, Mental Health First Aid, car seat installation, safe sleep for infants, diabetes education and hypertension education. CHWs are resident experts intentionally stationed in systems that see high demand for underinsured, uninsured, or underserved representation.

CHWs may work with patients/clients over an extended period of time, granting them the ability to gather a deeper understanding of the patients social and medical behavior. CHWs utilize these components to better tailor their program enrollment to the type of services they require and qualify for. CHW also work alongside medical providers to ensure clients are receiving the best possible care.

What I tell patients/clients:

Health Partnership Partners with Community Health Council to Address Health Inequities in Johnson County(In their required language)

Your provider mentioned to me that during your medical appointment you expressed interest in getting connected to a food pantry that is within walking or biking distance of your home. As a Community Health Worker, we specialize in connecting patients, just like you, to community resources such as rental/utility assistance, food pantries, legal services, hygiene products, housing and a lot more.

And what I tell my friends and family:

All the above, plus…

…but they’re [CHWs] so much more than that! Your doctor, nurse, or neighbor was once (or is currently) an acting Community Health Worker to a family member, friend or patient. The concept of a Community Health Worker has existed alongside health care since the beginning of time. CHWs or caretakers may accompany a client or loved one to their medical appointments and act as a competent advocate for their medical, behavioral and social needs. CHWs may help assist clients decipher medication instructions and relay key medical information from the provider all from a perspective the client can understand.

Community Impact

The goals of a CHW are to continue facilitating healthcare delivery and manage healthcare experiences by improving health, removing barriers and reducing overall healthcare costs. CHWs are placed to further empower community members to manage their chronic care needs, facilitate client to provider relationships, improve communication and dispel health system and primary care provider myths.

Health Partnership Clinic and Community Health Workers

Are you interested in learning about what community resources you may qualify for? Health Partnership Clinic now offers a bilingual Community Health Worker on site that can connect you with a range of programs and services that may best fit your needs. To get connected with a Community Health Worker, patients should reach out to their medical provider who will make the appointment.

To learn more, please contact me at 913-828-4941.

Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer! Early Diagnosis May Save Your Life

Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer! Early Diagnosis May Save Your Life

By Kare Lyche, MD, Family Physician

Maybe the last time you came to the clinic or medical practice, your provider asked you if you wanted to be screened for colorectal cancer. Then maybe they talked about the options–having to fish around in the toilet for some of your stools or going to see a specialist and having a tube inserted into your rectum. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? Why is it such a big deal?

Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer! Early Diagnosis May Save Your Life Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer! Early Diagnosis May Save Your Life

Cancer is the Second Leading Cause of Death

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2021 cancer was the second leading cause of death in adults, claiming 604,553 lives. Among the different kinds of cancer, colorectal cancer is the fourth most common kind and also the fourth most deadly after lung, breast and prostate cancers. During the years 2016-2020, when colorectal cancer was found, about 33 percent of cases were localized to the colon itself, 38 percent were regional (had spread to nearby tissues and lymph nodes) and 22 percent had spread distally (to other parts of the body).

The importance of the cancer location is linked to survival. If colon cancer is localized when it is found, the survival rate in five years is 88 percent. This drops to 71 percent if the cancer is regional and then down to 16 percent if it is distant. Your healthcare provider recommends screening for colorectal cancer so it can be caught while it is still localized and gives you the best chance to do well.

Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer! Early Diagnosis May Save Your Life Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer! Early Diagnosis May Save Your Life

Two Most Common Types of Screening

Wear Blue DayThe two most common types of colorectal cancer screening at Health Partnership Clinic are stool cards and colonoscopies: with a stool card, you take a small sample of your stool from the toilet, put it on a card and mail it back to the laboratory. This is a test for hidden blood.

A colonoscopy involves a day of preparation in which you take medicines to clean out your intestines, then you go either to an office or to a hospital where you are given medicine to make you drowsy and then a tube with a camera is inserted into your colon through your rectum.

The advantages of a colonoscopy include that if anything is found, it can be removed immediately, and the time between colonoscopies can be up to 10 years if nothing is found. The disadvantages are that you need to be able to use the toilet frequently the day before your procedure, you might need to take time off work for the procedure and someone else must take you and pick you up. Very rarely bleeding might occur (especially when a polyp is found and removed), or the instrument could put a hole in your colon.

Advantages of the stool card are that it is quick and relatively easy to perform, that you do not need to do anything to prepare, and you do not need to take time off to complete the test. The disadvantages are that you have to interact with dirty toilet water, the test must be done every year, and if it is abnormal, you will need a colonoscopy anyway to find out where the bleeding is coming from. Some people are not candidates for the stool card, especially people with a hereditary condition putting them at risk for colon cancer, or people who have already had polyps.

Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer! Early Diagnosis May Save Your Life

If you are 45 or older, you should be screening.

The U.S. Preventive Task Force recommends that all adults between the ages of 45 and 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. If you are between 75 and 85, talk with your provider to see if screening might be appropriate for you. Do yourself a favor and bring up colorectal screening at your next visit!

To learn more about Colorectal Cancer, watch our video!

HPC is Going Red for Heart Month

Post by Kelly Kreisler, MD, MPH, FAAP, Chief Health Officer and Pediatrician

HPC is Going Red for Heart MonthEach year in February, the United States recognizes American Heart Month, a time when the nation spotlights heart disease. Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) is proudly participating in Heart Month. On Friday Feb. 2 clinic staff are wearing red to bring awareness to the disease that is the number one killer of Americans. Heart health educational information will also be available in the clinic waiting rooms.

Heart Disease continues to be the leading cause of death for men and women of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one person dies every 33 seconds in the United States from Cardiovascular Disease.

There are several risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. In addition, several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at higher risk for developing heart disease including diabetes, being overweight or obese, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.

Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

The good news is that you can reduce your risk of heart disease by making healthy choices and managing your health conditions.

There are several healthy changes that you can make to protect your heart and lower your risk of developing heart disease.

  • Choose healthy foods and drinks.

Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating foods high in fiber and low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt in your diet can lower blood pressure. Limiting sugar in your diet can lower your blood sugar level to prevent or help control diabetes. Do not drink too much alcohol which can raise your blood pressure.

  • Keep a healthy weight.

People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk for heart disease. Carrying extra weight can put extra stress on the heart and blood vessels.

  • Get regular physical activity.

Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The Surgeon General recommends that adults get two hours and thirty minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise. Children and adolescents should get one hour of physical activity every day.

  • Don’t smoke.

Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk of heart disease. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.

It is also important to take charge of your medical conditions. Check your cholesterol, control your blood pressure, manage your diabetes, take your medications as directed and work with your health care team to prevent or treat the medical conditions that lead to heart disease.

Tips to Avoid Flu, Covid-19 and the Common Cold

Inessa SergeyevaBy: Inessa Sergeyeva, APRN MSN, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, Family Nurse Practitioner

As we head into Fall the common cold, flu, and Covid-19 will return to disrupt your usual routine and keep you from doing the things you enjoy. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) many of the symptoms of the common cold, flu and COVID-19 overlap, so it may be difficult to determine what you have. Overlapping symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and body aches.

The good news is there is rapid and laboratory testing available for both flu and COVID-19, and HPC offers flu and COVID-19 testing at all of our clinic locations. It is best to call the clinic so that we can offer the safest way to complete testing.

Please keep in mind that you can dramatically lower your risk of getting the flu and COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. Flu vaccines are 40-60 percent effective, and COVID-19 vaccines are 70-95 percent effective in preventing transmission and illness. Flu vaccination is recommended for children and adults six months of age and older. COVID -19 vaccination is recommended for children and adults 12 years of age and older.

If you do still get the flu or COVID-19 after vaccination, you are less likely to get very sick or die. Getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 also helps protect the people around you who are at high risk, such as older adults, people with medical conditions and pregnant women. In addition, there are effective FDA approved anti-viral medications available by prescription that help reduce the duration and severity of illness for COVID-19 and flu.

Here are some simple healthy habits you can follow to lower your chance of getting a cold, flu or COVID-19:

  • Tips to Avoid Flu, Covid-19 and the Common ColdStay home if you are sick.
  • Isolate from others in your home as much as possible.
  • Cover your face with a cloth or other mask when you are unable to maintain a safe physical distance from others (at least six feet) especially when inside.
  • Wash your hands (this is best) or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 70 percent alcohol after touching hard surfaces or other people, before eating, and after using the restroom.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes as it is easier for viruses to spread this way.
  • Clean the hard surfaces in your home frequently, especially countertops, door handles and tables.
  • Keep your immune system in great shape by eating a plant rich diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.
  • Vaccinate prior to peak flu and COVID-19 season.

COVID-19 and flu vaccination and testing are offered at HPC, contact us at 913-648-2266 to schedule your appointment.

Sleep and Organization Key to Preparing for a New School Year

Kelly KreislerBy Kelly D. Kreisler, MD, MPH, FAAP, Pediatrician and Chief Health Officer for Health Partnership Clinic

The start of the new school year is just around the corner. Preparing for back to school is key to a successful transition. Two key components are sleep and organization.

Sleep

Getting enough sleep is an important foundation of physical and mental health and school success. Children and caregivers are often surprised by the amount of sleep children need at every age. Children three to five years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours. Children six to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours per 24 hours. Teenagers should sleep eight to 10 hours per 24 hours.

When deciding on a bedtime, start with the time the child needs to be at school, then determine how much time is needed to get ready, and finally look at the recommended amount of sleep for your child’s age. To move from summer bedtime to school year bedtime, gradually move bedtime earlier by 30 minutes every week. No phones, tablets, or TV in the bedroom is an essential rule for quality sleep.

Organization

Sleep and organization key to preparing for a new school yearDepending on the age of your child, write down or have them write down everything they have to do to get ready for school. Be very detailed. Have them practice doing these things and time them to make it a game.

To avoid morning stress, do as much as possible the night before. Make lunches, lay out clothes and place homework and school supplies by the door. Create a checklist that includes visual aids for children with special needs like anxiety, ADHD and autism. Involving your child in the process ahead of time will help avoid frustration. Don’t forget to get all of your child’s prescriptions refilled, vaccines and a school physical completed to be prepared for a successful school year.

Sleep and organization key to preparing for a new school yearHealth Partnership Clinic offers back-to-school and sports physicals at all our clinic sites, including Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Paola and Ottawa. At the Olathe site, we offer a Walk-In Pediatric Clinic, Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to Noon.

To schedule an appointment at one of our sites, call 913-648-2266.

In addition, this summer, the clinic is offering school and sports physicals and well child checkups, including immunizations, vision, hearing and dental screenings, fluoride treatments and behavioral health visits, if needed, to children and adolescents attending Shawnee Mission School District on Thursday, Aug. 3 and 10 at the Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kan. We are also accepting appointments for Saturday, Aug. 12, which is Children’s Health Day in celebration of Community Care Clinic Month, at the Olathe clinic located at 407 S. Clairborne Rd., Olathe, Kan.

To make an appointment, call 913-648-2266.

Summer Back to School Events (PDF)

References

https://aasm.org/resources/pdf/pediatricsleepdurationconsensus.pdf

Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month

Whitney VenegoniBy: Whitney Venegoni, APRN, FNP-C, Family Nurse Practitioner

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

For many, May will be when symptoms are the most severe, so it is a great time to shed light on both. Allergies and asthma have a wide range of symptoms and severity, and they are experienced differently by every patient. They cannot be cured, but they can be controlled by avoiding triggers and using appropriate medications. Over 100 million Americans experience allergies each year, affecting as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. Over 25 million Americans have asthma. In Kansas, a higher percentage of our population suffers from asthma compared to the rest of the US.

Allergy symptoms can be intermittent with symptoms only half of the time or for less than four weeks total. Other patients will experience symptoms more frequently, sometimes impairing sleep or daily activities. In the most severe cases symptoms are life threatening. No matter the frequency allergic reactions happen when our immune systems have an abnormal response to something we are exposed to.

Many common triggers include pollen, dust, animal dander, mold, food, insect stings and certain medications. For some symptoms are a runny nose and sneezing during springtime. We use allergy medications to help decrease the response our body has to these triggers and alleviate symptoms. For others exposure to certain allergens will cause a life-threatening reaction. Symptoms for these patients can include flushed skin, an itchy feeling in the mouth, difficulty breathing or speaking, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and vomiting or diarrhea.  This requires an injectable, life-saving medication as soon as they realize they’ve been exposed along with emergency evaluation.

Allergies and asthma are related, and some patients suffer from both.

Allergy and Asthma Awareness MonthAsthma is more likely in people who have allergies. Family history of asthma, low birth weight, prematurity, exposure to tobacco smoke and pollutants, respiratory infections, and being overweight increase the risk of developing asthma.  Much like allergies, asthma symptoms also tend to start after a trigger. These triggers can also include pollen, dust, and mold but expand into other things like tobacco smoke, perfumes, and other irritants.  Some patients can experience symptoms when they begin to exercise. The trigger causes inflammation and irritation in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. This is called and “asthma attack.” Patients can feel short of breath and start to cough or wheeze.

Many people describe the feeling as a tightness in the chest, restriction, or weight on their chest. These symptoms can sometimes resolve if the patient can get away from the trigger, but more often it requires the use of medications. Inhalers are most often used to treat asthma and can be used to either help prevent symptoms or to manage them once they begin.  Similar to allergies, symptoms can be mild and intermittent, persistent, or life threatening.

Allergy and Asthma Awareness MonthAllergies and asthma can both be managed with the help of your primary care provider. It is important to focus on awareness of these diagnoses so all patients experiencing symptoms know that help is available. In America, complications and death associated with asthma are higher in patients experiencing poverty and with less access to education and health care. For some, there is also stigma associated with inhaler use and seeking treatment.

For patients suffering from symptoms, treatment is so important. If you think you might be suffering from allergies or asthma, contact your healthcare provider to discuss. You can make an appointment at Health Partnership Clinic by calling 913-648-2266.

For additional information, visit Allergy and Asthma Federation of America at aafa.org.

HPC kicks off Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 12-18, 2023

By Lee Champion, MSN, FCN, RN, Clinic Director/Risk and Compliance Officer at Health Partnership Clinic

The COVID-19 pandemic and increases in flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV cases continue to remind us of the importance of patient safety in everything we do at Health Partnership Clinic. During March 12-18, we celebrate Patient Safety Awareness Week. Although patient safety is an integral part of our processes and protocols, March is dedicated to building awareness among our staff and patients. Bottom line, safety is everyone’s responsibility.

To learn more, watch our newest video: 

Improving Patient Safety Begins With You

Here are a few steps to ensure your safety when visiting the clinic:

  • Washing HandsMost importantly, wash your hands on a regular basis (before eating, after eating, after using the restroom, etc.) and sneeze in your arms not in your hands.
  • Everyone working at or visiting our clinics must wear masks while on campus. Masks work to decrease the droplets that can carry COVID-19 and other germs.
  • Chairs are spaced apart in our lobby areas to provide less contact between patients and visitors.
  • We offer telemedicine visits if you would prefer to stay at home for your visit. If you are sick with COVID-19, a telemedicine visit allows you to discuss your care with a provider.
  • Dividers have been installed in our Olathe Pediatric lobby to separate patients who are sick from patients who have appointments for physicals and preventative care.
  • Protective MaskWe are participating in the Federal program to distribute COVID-19 Home Testing Kits. You can pick up kits at our clinic locations by asking the front desk. Limit two per household member.
  • We also continue to offer COVID vaccines on the second Friday of the month in Olathe. To schedule, call 913-648-2266.
  • Keep an eye on your children at all times. Running and playing are not permitted in the clinic.

For updates on how we are addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit us  at https://hpcks.org/coronavirus.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Thao LeBy Thao Lee, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Suicide is among the leading causes of death in the Unites States. For individuals with substance use disorders, the risk for suicide is 10-14 times greater compared to the general population.

Studies have demonstrated a relationship between substance misuse and suicide, making it crucial to be able to recognize the warning signs of substance misuse and signs of suicide.

To learn more about suicide and how to prevent it, watch our video:

Lifespan Vaccines: Are You Up To Date?

Rachel AcunaBy Rachel Acuna, RN, Clinic/Vaccine Outreach Nurse

August is National Immunization Awareness Week which is a great time to put immunizations on the top of your list. At Health Partnership Clinic, we are now offering No Cost Adult Immunizations to Sliding Fee Eligible patients and to those experiencing homelessness. If you are not a patient, please call 913-648-2266 to establish care with one of our providers. Current patients may speak with their provider or call the clinic for a nurse appointment.

Adult Vaccination

Since the development of the first vaccine by Edward Jenner in 1796, we have seen tremendous progress in our ability to prevent deadly childhood infections. But did you know we also need vaccinations as adults?

In addition to an annual vaccination for influenza, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends adults be up to date on MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), Hepatitis A & B, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, diphtheria, varicella (chickenpox and shingles), pneumonia and even meningitis.

  • Vaccination against hepatitis B can help prevent the development of liver cancer and protect you from hepatitis D.
  • Complications from adult cases of chickenpox can include; pneumonia, skin infections, encephalitis and joint inflammation.
  • Measles can lead to pneumonia, ear infections and brain damage.

Among other things, vaccines help to:

  • Reduce healthcare burdens and costs.
  • Prevent the development of antibiotic resistance by reducing the need for their use.
  • Extend life expectancy.
  • Make it safe to travel to different parts of the world.
  • Promote economic growth.

Adult VaccinationsEveryone should get a flu vaccine every year before the end of October, if possible. But you can get one at anytime during flu season.

Adults need a Td (tetanus/diphtheria) or Tdap (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis) vaccine every ten years.

Healthy adults 50 years and older should get shingles vaccine.

Adults 65 years or older need one dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine followed by one dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.

Adults younger than 65 years who have certain health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or HIV should also get one or both of these vaccines.

Adults may need other vaccines based on health conditions, job, lifestyle, or travel habits. You should talk to your provider for recommendations about what you might need to be up to date.

To recap, here is a list of recommended Adult Vaccines

• Chickenpox (Varicella)
• Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-everyone through 26 years
• Influenza (flu)
• Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
• Pneumococcal (pneumonia)
• Shingles (Zoster)-50 years and up
• Tdap (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis)
• Td (tetanus/diphtheria)-every 10 years
• Hepatitis B