Employee Spotlight: Rachel Acuna

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun, new way.

Rachel AcunaName:  Rachel Acuna, RN

Department: Medical

Title: Vaccine Outreach Nurse

Primary work location: Olathe

How long have you worked at HPC? 

I started at HPC in March of 2022.

How did you get into your field of work?

I got into my field because I finally listened to my mother! She saw the caregiver in me before I figured it out.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

I speak and understand enough Spanish to get by around my husband’s family.

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

“My little dog—a heartbeat at my feet.” -Edith Wharton

Rachel AcunaWhat values are important to you?

Values that are important to me are kindness, knowledge and empathy.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I worked as a roofer one summer during college. That’s 10 times harder than being a nurse!

What is on your “bucket” list?

I want to have a home on the coast in the Brittany region of France where I can spend time after I retire.

What is your favorite food?

I grew up in Tucson, Ariz. eating Sonoran-style Mexican food. It’s THE BEST!

What is your favorite movie?

“The Sound of Music”—I even named one of my dogs Julie Andrews!

What is your favorite hobby?

I love baking and reading. British mysteries are my favorite.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

Absolutely! I grew up with dogs and got my first of eight Dachshunds in 1995. My husband and I currently have four Dachshunds, three of which are rescues.

30th Celebration Profiles and Reflections – Martin Bennett

Editor’s Note: In celebration of 30 years of providing quality, affordable and accessible health care, we are profiling three individuals who have graciously shared their story about their connection with the clinic. Enjoy the third and final profile.

Martin Bennett, Former HPC Patient and Board Member

Martin BennettMartin Bennett’s journey alongside Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) began as a patient, proceeded as a board member and continues as a strong advocate.

Feeling symptoms of his own not long after moving from Sioux City, Iowa to Edgerton, Kan. to care for his aging parents in the early 2000s, Bennett was referred to HPC by his father’s doctor. He established care and was soon diagnosed with psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

So impressed by the care he received by HPC’s providers and support staff, he answered with a resounding “Yes” when asked to serve on the HPC Board of Directors. “What they did for me over six to eight years, at free or minimal charge, the least I could do was to help them,” Bennett says. “They did things for me that I never could have expected.”

As a board member, he engaged with other HPC patients and stakeholders to guide the HPC mission of providing high-quality, affordable, accessible and culturally appropriate care to all individuals regardless of ability to pay. As a Federally Qualified Health Center — typically a community-based provider of primary care to the underserved — HPC and similar organizations receive federal funding and are required to have 51 percent patient representation on their boards.

Having served as a board member for six prior years of strong HPC growth including expansion to Paola and Ottawa, Bennett has been quick to “pay it forward” when he speaks of how his HPC experience can benefit others. While working in the logistics industry, he was quick to refer uninsured associates to HPC. Many were either part or full-time who worked at warehouses fulfilling orders for name-brand or internet-based companies. They often struggled with English and didn’t have a regular primary care provider, just as Bennett didn’t years earlier.

“My primary care doctor at HPC was the best doctor I ever had,” Bennett reflects. “I have nothing but good things to say about HPC. My patient experience was excellent, from both a provider and staff perspective.”

On our 30th anniversary, HPC is both proud to have served Martin Bennett as a patient and appreciative of his service as an HPC board member.

Employee Spotlight: Heather McKinney

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun, new way.

Heather McKinneyName:  Heather McKinney

Department: Administration

Title: Development Director

Primary work location: Olathe

How long have you worked at HPC?  

I have worked at HPC for eight weeks.

How did you get into your field of work?

I was admittedly lost after leaving an engineering career, then I entered grad school and began volunteering and it all came together.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

I speak French with elementary/limited proficiency.

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever.” —Alfred Lord Tennyson—it’s the perfect tribute to my mom.

What values are important to you?

Heather McKinneyValues that are important to me are kindness, compassion, curiosity, peace, fairness, meaningful work, happiness, humor and fun.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I take ballet classes, and we even have a recital in front of an audience!

What is on your “bucket” list?

I’d love to learn how to play the guitar.

What is your favorite food?

Watermelon is my favorite food.

What is your favorite movie?

“Gleason” – A documentary about a former NFL player who was diagnosed with ALS.

What is your favorite hobby?

Yoga is my favorite hobby.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

Yes! I have two dogs. Benny is an American Staffordshire Terrier, and Milly is an American Pitbull Terrier.

Employee Spotlight: Veronica Flores

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun, new way.

Veronica FloresName:  Veronica Flores

Department: Administration

Title: Manager of Patient Services

Primary work locationOlathe

How long have you worked at HPC?  

I’ve worked at HPC for seven years and seven months.

How did you get into your field of work?

I brought my daughters in for a dental appointment and after that, I came in myself. I felt the need to apply at HPC because I love the mission.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

Yes, I speak Spanish.

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.”

What values are important to you?

Veronica FloresValues that are important to me are family, loyalty, humility, compassion and spirituality.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I became a grandma before I turned 40 and I don’t know how to swim, but I love the beach.

What is on your “bucket” list?

It has always been on my bucket list to go on a cruise but after COVID, I am considering other options.

What is your favorite food?

Mexican food is my favorite. I could eat stuffed peppers every day.

What is your favorite movie?

“My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Pretty Woman” are my favorite movies.

What is your favorite hobby?

I love traveling, I wish I could do it more often. I also love spending time with my family.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

I don’t have any pets. As a child I was afraid of dogs and cats, so I never had one. I have a fish if that counts.

30th Celebration Profiles and Reflections – Gwen Wagner

Editor’s Note: In celebration of 30 years of providing quality, affordable and accessible health care, we are profiling three individuals who have graciously shared their story about their connection with the clinic.

Gwen WagnerGWEN WAGNER, DNP, APRN, ANP-C
Health Partnership Clinic
Adult Nurse Practitioner, Diabetes Clinic

As Health Partnership Clinic’s (HPC) longest-tenured provider, Gwenyth Wagner, DNP, APRN, ANP-C, has observed an evolution at HPC that mirrors her own career. From very focused origins, both she and HPC have changed with the times to be of greater benefit to the community.

Like many, Dr. Wagner first served HPC as a volunteer.

An accomplished Registered Nurse in her early career, she worked at local hospitals and university health centers prior to completing her Master of Science in Nursing in 2009 at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan. Seeking to serve those who lacked the medical care opportunities she had seen in her native Toronto, Ontario, she began volunteering at HPC in 2010 — before HPC received its designations as a Medical Home and Federal Qualified Health Center.

Gwen WagnerFor patients who struggled to leave their daytime jobs to receive needed health care, Dr. Wagner helped begin an evening clinic at HPC. And from 2014-2018, she took on an expanded provider role by working daytime hours several days weekly.

Balancing her teaching and practitioner interests — and having received a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Kansas in 2014 — she now directs the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program full-time at Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan. She also leads HPC’s High-Risk Diabetes Clinic, where she performs necessary physical assessments, orders tests and helps patients access appropriate medications. Her team, which serves patients with uncontrollable diabetes, also provides education and behavioral health services.

Community Presence

Helping to expand HPC’s reach, she also serves as Nurse Practitioner Coordinator, connecting area school students with internship-like roles where they gain valuable clinical experience working with HPC providers to coordinate patient care. “Students get a really great experience and a really good sense that this place has a purpose…that it’s fulfilling a community need,” Dr. Wagner says.

She believes that HPC will continue to have a strong community presence for as long as basic medical care is inhibited by financial and accessibility limitations. She quickly adds that HPC has risen to such challenges over the years by adding providers in growth areas, emphasizing quality-focused initiatives and sustaining a positive work environment.

Dr. Wagner has been married to her childhood sweetheart for 36 years. They have four adult sons, two daughters-in-law and six grandchildren. In her “spare time,” she likes to walk, crotchet, knit, arrange family events and play with her grandchildren.

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, HPC recognizes and appreciates Dr. Wagner, not only for her dedication to the HPC mission of serving patients regardless of their ability to pay, but for fostering a culture of care among the staff and the providers of tomorrow.

Employee Spotlight: Eva Clark, WHNP-BC

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun, new way.

Eva ClarkName:  Eva Clark, WHNP-BC

Department: Medical

Title: Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Primary work location: Olathe

How long have you worked at HPC? 

I have worked at HPC since January of 2022.

How did you get into your field of work?

I knew in nursing school that I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse. Through work I realized how much I enjoyed learning more about women’s health so I decided to further my career.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

I used to speak French but haven’t since college. I really want to learn Spanish.

Eva Clark with FamilyDo you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
-Maya Angelou

What values are important to you?

Values that are important to me are faith, family, honesty, kindness and respect.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

Before becoming a nurse, I graduated from KU with my master’s in accounting and worked as an accountant for about five years.

What is on your “bucket” list?

I would love to travel to all 50 states and of course different countries. I want to see the world!

Eva ClarkWhat is your favorite food?

I love to cook and eat Soul Food

What is your favorite movie?

“Sister Act” and “Sister Act 2”

What is your favorite hobby?

I love spending time with my family and friends along with cooking and reading.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

Yes! I love dogs as I grew up with them. Currently my family has one dog that we got from KC Pet Project last November. She is a two-year-old Boxer that our daughter named Bella Rose Clark.

30th Celebration Profiles and Reflections – Veronica Flores

Editor’s Note: In celebration of 30 years of providing quality, affordable and accessible health care, we are profiling three individuals who have graciously shared their story about their connection with the clinic.

Veronica Flores, Patient Services Manager at Health Partnership Clinic

Veronica FloresVeronica Flores has converted her daughters’ 2012 dental visit at Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) into a career she never imagined.

Veronica, HPC’s patient services manager, oversees a staff of 11 at four locations: Olathe, Paola Ottawa and Shawnee Mission. She and her team provide nearly every non-provider, patient-facing service, from intake and scheduling to working hand-in-hand with the Billing department to ensure accuracy. Along with taking prospective patients’ original requests for appointments and care, they manage the paperwork required for financial assistance or insurance reimbursements.

Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico — and speaking little English — Veronica first came to the Kansas City area in 2006 at the suggestion of friends and family already here. Back then a divorced and single mother, her two daughters followed once Veronica was established with a job and place to live.

Impressed by the high quality of care and reasonable cost for her daughters’ dental visit, she became a patient herself in 2013, seeing Gwenyth Wagner, DNP, APRN — then a primary care provider — and quickly decided that HPC appeared to be a great place to work. With a customer service background and the encouragement of others, she became a patient care representative in 2014 and has been an HPC mainstay ever since. Through transitions, Veronica became assistant manager in 2016 and then department manager in 2018. As the longest-tenured HPC associate who is not a direct patient care provider, Veronica has been credited by managers with raising HPC’s level of patient service and as one who inspires others to follow her lead.

Veronica Flores and familyWhen asked, Veronica enthusiastically says that being able to help HPC fulfill its mission is among her greatest satisfactions. She excels at patient interaction and especially loves to help HPC’s older and Spanish-speaking patients resolve issues often rooted in nothing more than a language or translation misunderstanding. She delights in receiving a card or small token of appreciation from HPC’s patients. It’s not the gift that necessarily matters to her, but more the thought.

Having trained as a bilingual secretary and private accountant at age 16 back in Chihuahua, Veronica is grateful for the unimaginable journey that has brought and kept her at HPC. She became a permanent resident in 2017 and plans to apply for U.S. citizenship after completing a required five-year wait this year.

Along the way, she married her husband, Eduardo, in 2008 and has set a strong example for her daughters, Victoria, age 24, and Valeria, 21, son Angel, 10, and grandson, Mateo, five.

When she’s not leading and inspiring her HPC team and colleagues, Veronica enjoys spending time with her family, reading, traveling and viewing Spanish-themed Netflix programs. An occasional glass of wine with friends she considers family is an added pleasure.

HPC is grateful to Veronica Flores for her dedication to HPC and her daily concern for our patients as we celebrate 30 years of serving the community.

Employee Spotlight: Rebecca Turner, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun, new way.

Rebecca TurnerName:  Rebecca Turner, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Department: Medical

Title: Family Nurse Practitioner

Primary work location: Olathe

How long have you worked at HPC?  

I’ve been at HPC for eight months.

How did you get into your field of work?

I worked as a nurse for six years in the ER, and after a while, I realized that I wanted to be the one to prevent people from going to the ER. So I went back to Nurse Practitioner school to focus on family medicine.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

Unfortunately, I do not. I understand some Spanish but I cannot speak it very well.

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

In medicine it is “everything in moderation, even moderation.” -my nursing professor

What values are important to you?

Rebecca Turner and familyValues that are important to me are treating yourself and others with respect and dignity. Also, empathy, kindness, open-mindedness and caring for others.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I have played viola since I was nine. I played in college and still play in community orchestra here in the Kansas City area.

What is on your “bucket” list?

I would like to travel to as many places as possible; help make a difference in the world and eat as much good food as possible.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is any and all kinds of tacos.

What is your favorite movie?

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, A Knight’s Tale.

What is your favorite hobby?

I like to go on walks with my dog and husband.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

Yes! I love animals. I had a cat and dog growing up. Now I only have a dog, her name is Kirby, and she is the light of my life.

Employee Spotlight: Maureen Caro, FNP-BC

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun, new way.

Maureen CaroName:  Maureen (Mo) Caro

Department: Medical

Title: Family Nurse Practitioner

Primary work locationOlathe

How long have you worked at HPC?  

I’ve been at HPC for two years.

How did you get into your field of work?

My baby brother is severely disabled, and I started working with that population in high school. There was a nurse there who told me that I should look into nursing.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

I speak Spanish.

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

I have a favorite poem by Anna Akhmatova—Why then do we not despair?

What values are important to you?

Maureen Caro and familyValues that are important to me are kindness, self-respect and respect for others.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I am taller on the inside.

What is on your “bucket” list?

I would like to learn a third language as well as teach my kids a second language.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is sushi.

What is your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is “Hot Fuzz”.

What is your favorite hobby?

I like to knit and quilt.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

I have two dogs—both are some kind of sheepdog mutt.

Employee Spotlight: Araceli Coria, RN, BSN

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun, new way.

Araceli Coria

Name:  Araceli Coria, RN, BSN

Department: Medical

Title: Registered Nurse

Primary work location: Olathe

How long have you worked at HPC?  

I’ve been at HPC for three months.

How did you get into your field of work?

Nursing is a career I have wanted to be in since the age of nine. I thrive off of helping by supporting, treating and being a resource for others.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

Yes! I speak Spanish.

Araceli CoriaDo you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

“A man is only as good as his word.”

What values are important to you?

The top three values that are important to me are integrity, honesty and kindness.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

My guilty pleasure is playing video games.

What is on your “bucket” list?

I would like to take a trip to Europe.

What is your favorite food?

I am currently obsessed with poke bowls!

What is your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is a tie between “Selena” and “Frozen 2”.

What is your favorite hobby?

I like to listen to and watch True Crime.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

Yes! I don’t have one but if I did I’d have a French Bulldog. They are my favorite!