HPC partners with UHC and Optimists to sponsor coloring contest to promote health and wellbeing

By Catherine Rice, Vice President of Marketing/Outreach at Health Partnership Clinic

Promoting health and wellbeing is extremely important for elementary school aged students. One creative way is through coloring. Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) along with UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas and the Olathe Noon Optimists Club once again sponsored a coloring contest for third graders attending Title 1 schools in the Olathe School District. This year’s theme was “Bee Healthy” focusing on eating healthy, being active, staying clean, being safe and getting good sleep.

“The response to our coloring contest was phenomenal,” says Catherine Rice, Vice President of Marketing/Community Outreach. “We had 444 students submit their coloring sheets, representing 11 Title I Olathe schools. This year we had a submission in Braille which won Honorable Mention. All 24 third grade teachers participated in the contest, and 14 classrooms had 100 percent participation which will receive a tasty treat!”

The coloring contest winners include:

  • Violet, Indian Creek Elementary – First Place Winner.
  • Abigail, Havencroft Elementary – Second Place Winner.
  • Skyler, Mahaffie Elementary – Third Place Winner.
  • Yoselyn, Mahaffie Elementary – Honorable Mention.
  • Conner, Mahaffie Elementary – Honorable Mention.

Violet, Indian Creek Elementary – First Place Winner

Violet, Indian Creek Elementary – First Place Winner Violet, Indian Creek Elementary – First Place Winner

Abigail, Havencroft Elementary – Second Place Winner

Abigail, Havencroft Elementary – Second Place Winner Abigail, Havencroft Elementary – Second Place Winner

Skyler, Mahaffie Elementary – Third Place Winner

Skyler, Mahaffie Elementary – Third Place Winner

Yoselyn, Mahaffie Elementary – Honorable Mention

Yoselyn, Mahaffie Elementary – Honorable Mention

Conner, Mahaffie Elementary – Honorable Mention

Conner, Mahaffie Elementary – Honorable Mention

Jessica Gerdes, a third-grade teacher from Indian Creek Elementary won the 100 percent participation drawing. The prize includes a pizza party for the class and a gift card for the teacher.

“At UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas we are thrilled to once again support this amazing way of reaching children with health education in a fun and interactive way,” says Laura Canelos, Director of Community Outreach for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas. “Thanks to all the partners that came together to make this happen.”

“We at the Olathe Noon Optimists Club are thrilled to partner with Health Partnership and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas to raise awareness about health and wellbeing,” adds William Shafer, President of the Olathe Noon Optimists Club. “The Optimists have a long-standing tradition of helping elementary students with dictionaries and high school students with scholarship money toward college. Participating in the Children’s Coloring Contest is the perfect type of collaboration we search for!”

A huge thank you to our judges, volunteers and support staff:

Nikki Balden, Health Partnership Clinic
Melissa Beaudoin, Olathe School District
Elizabeth Billings, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas
Laura Canelos, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas
Diane Gossage, Olathe Noon Optimist Club
Judy Janes, Health Partnership Clinic
Judy Leary, Olathe Noon Optimist Club
Audrey Masoner, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas
Marlene Natoli, Olathe Noon Optimist Club
Celiemar Ortiz, Health Partnership Clinic
Catherine Rice, Health Partnership Clinic
Jody Rice, Health Partnership Clinic
Stephanie Rojas, Health Partnership Clinic
Bill Shafer, Olathe Noon Optimist Club
Debbie Sparks, Health Partnership Clinic

Pediatric Walk-In Services at Olathe Clinic

By Jessica L. Nichols, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC at Health Partnership Clinic

Convenient for those unexpected illnesses and injuries

Jessica L. Nichols, DNP, APRN, FNP-BCHealth Partnership Clinic knows that illnesses and injuries can come up quickly. For your convenience, we offer walk-in pediatric care at the Olathe clinic, 407 S. Clairborne Rd., Olathe, Kan., Monday-Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to Noon. The clinic serves children and adolescents under 18 years old.

Consider using the Pediatric Walk-In Clinic if your child has a symptom listed below that started recently and is of a non-severe nature. The clinic is open to Health Partnership Clinic patients and the community.

  • Common cough or cold
  • Fever
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Pinkeye
  • Minor injuries
  • Ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Wheezing or acute asthma
  • Possible urinary tract infection
  • Sinus infection
  • Well child exam

Pediatric Walk-In Services at Olathe ClinicThe clinic accepts commercial insurance and KanCare/Medicaid. Discounted medical care is also available to eligible patients.

When to make an appointment instead

Note that not all visits are appropriate for walk-in. If your child has ongoing symptoms such as stomachaches and headaches, requires newborn or ER follow-up or has special or complex health care needs, please call for an appointment at 913-648-2266 so we can schedule an appropriate amount of time to address those needs. For concussion injury, please go to your nearest ER. To make an appointment, call 913-648-2266.

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

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

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and this is the time of year symptoms can be the most challenging.  Symptoms of allergies and asthma vary in severity, and they are experienced differently by every patient. Over 100 million Americans experience allergies each year, affecting as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. More than 27 million people in the US have asthma, which is about one in 12 people. A higher percentage of our population suffers from allergies in Kansas compared to many states in the United States.

Allergy symptoms can be intermittent and last a short period of time, or ongoing, even impairing sleep or daily activities. In the most severe cases symptoms are life threatening. Allergic reactions happen when our immune system has an abnormal reaction to something we are exposed to. Things like pollen, dust, animal dander, mold, food, insect stings and certain medications are some common culprits. For some, symptoms include a runny nose and sneezing during springtime. We use allergy medications to help decrease the reaction our body has to these triggers and manage symptoms. Kansas has a higher-than-average amount of tree and grass pollen, which is a common trigger for many. This is why many experience allergies for the first time in their lives after relocating here. 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 immediate injectable life-saving medication along with emergency evaluation.

Allergies and Asthma are Related

Allergies and AsthmaAllergies and asthma are related, and people that have allergies are more likely to have asthma. 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 an “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 often require the use of medications. Inhalers are used to help prevent symptoms or to manage them once they begin.  Like allergies, symptoms can be mild and intermittent, persistent or life threatening.

Allergies 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.

Allergies and Asthma

Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrates cultural contributions and influence

Thao LeBy Thao Le, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at Health Partnership Clinic

Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebrates the cultural contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans. It also provides the opportunity to bring attention to some of the unique struggles that Asian-Americans face – including mental health stigma.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (n.d.), among the Asian Americans with a diagnosable mental health disorder, only 28 percent utilized mental health services. The lack of mental health treatment among AAPIs can be attributed to mental health stigma. Mental health stigma is the negative perception or discriminatory attitudes that others have about mental illness and is unfortunately, common among AAPIs.

Causes of Mental Health Stigma

  • “Model-minority” – one of the greatest causes of mental health stigma among Asian-Americans is culture. The term “model-minority” is a stereotype in which Asian-Americans are perceived as successful and the minority group in which other minorities should take after. Under the model-minority myth, Asian-Americans are often described as “smart,” “hard-working” and “overachiever.”The thing is these characteristics don’t sound so bad, do they? Even though the term “model-minority” may sound like a positive thing, it’s extremely harmful because not everyone fits into this narrow box. Not everyone considers themselves, “smart,” or “hardworking” and because they don’t fit into this box, this can lead to feelings of inadequacy, lack of individuality and lack of bicultural sense of self. Because of this pressure of being the “model minority,” Asian-Americans may feel reluctant to admit that they have a problem.
  • Stoicism – Stoicism is the belief that one should endure pleasure or pain without showing emotion. This is a common ideology among Chinese migrants, whose practice of stoicism helped them to overcome economic hardship and discrimination to achieve success. The “I can suffer through anything” mentality is another characteristic that again, doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, right? Stoicism is actually perceived as positive trait in Chinese culture, but again this further perpetuates the idea of suffering in silence and that the display of emotions is a sign of weakness.
  • Cultural and parental expectations – In especially first-generation Asian-Americans, there can be both external and internal pressure to achieve success because of the struggles and sacrifices their parents made to provide them with opportunity. This, as well as limited career options, can be a significant source of stress.

Success is so focal within AAPI culture that they may neglect their own mental health to achieve it. Asian-Americans may also neglect their own health while caring for others. Children are often expected to care for their younger siblings and elders. Family members may feel reluctant to share their struggles because of how it will affect their individual and family reputations, further promoting the culture of silent suffering.

Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrates cultural contributions and influence

The Impact of Stigma and Prevalence of Mental Health Illnesses

  • Trauma among first-generation immigrants which gets passed down to future generations. This is known as inter-generational trauma. For example, a grandfather who was forced to flee his war-ravaged home country may have learned to cope by hiding his emotions. Because of this, he is emotionally distant with his children and his children’s children, which causes them to behave this way, leading to generations of emotional distance and suppression of feelings.
  • Major depressive episodes increased from 10 to 13.6 percent in AAPI youth ages 12-17, 8.9 to 10.1 percent in young adults 18-25, and three (3.2) to five percent in the 26-49 age range between 2015 and 2018, according to Mental Health America.
  • Anxiety that develops from stress and the pressure to succeed.
  • Substance use, including binge drinking, smoking (cigarettes and marijuana), illicit drug use and prescription pain reliever misuse, is more frequent among AAPI adults with mental illnesses.
  • Serious mental illness (SMI) rose from 2.9 percent (47,000) to 5.6 percent (136,000) in AAPI people ages 18-25 between 2008 and 2018, according to Mental Health America.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death among Asian Americans aged 20-24 years, responsible for about 33 percent of deaths in that age bracket, according to Mental Health America.


Despite the prevalence of mental illness among AAPIs, they are three times less likely than other Americans to seek mental health treatment according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America. This can be attributed to lack of:

  • English fluency – According to Health and Human Services, in the United States, a total of 30.9 percent of Asian Americans are not fluent in English and in 2019, 73.5 percent of Asian Americans spoke a language other than English at home.
  • Preferred providers – According to the AAMC, in 2018, only 17.1 percent of physicians were Asian. In a study on health barriers in 13 Asian American communities in Maryland, participants explained that many Asian-Americans perceive Asian physicians as more “understanding, knowledgeable, culturally sensitive, and can communicate in their native language. As a result, the lack of accessibility and availability of Asian physicians may discourage AAPIs to seek treatment.
  • Available resources/services.
  • Culturally appropriate intervention models – AAPIs may prefer complementary alternative medicine (CAM) (e.g., herbal remedies, acupuncture, meditation). In a study on health barriers, 75 percent of participants had used CAM in the past year.
  • Understanding of mental illness.
  • Understanding of Western medicine or a different kind of understanding of mental illness – Asian Americans may perceive mental illness as bad karma, yin/yang imbalance, or disturbed flow of energy.
  • Interpretation services.
  • Assistance – Elderly may not want to bother their working children for assistance, and they may not even want to take off work for an appointment.
  • Health insurance.

Breaking the stigma

As providers, we can break the stigma by:

  • Training in cultural responsiveness
  • Providing culturally sensitive treatment
  • Tailoring treatment to individual needs
  • Awareness on mental health stigma among AAPIs
  • Administration of depression/anxiety screenings at primary care clinics
  • Having CAM available
  • Extending telehealth services
  • Extending translation services

As a community member, you can break the stigma by:

  • Raising awareness
  • Supporting one another
  • Minimizing shame
  • Empowering each other
  • Educating yourself and others
  • Talking openly about mental health

Health Partnership Clinic offers therapy services, psychiatric medication management and substance use services with translation services upon request. To schedule an appointment or for more details, call 913-730-3664. Therapy Services are available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

HPC Celebrates Hygienists and Administrative Professionals in April

By Debbie Sparks, Development and Marketing Manager

National Dental Hygienist Week, April 8-12

Christina CookEach year in April we recognize the contribution of dental hygienists and their focus on maintaining good oral health practices which impacts overall health.

There are more than 200,000 dental hygienists in the United States. In Kansas, there are nearly 3,000 dental hygienists.

Dental hygienists provide oral care under a dentist’s supervision. They clean patients’ teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health.

The education of dental hygienists typically includes prerequisite courses prior to obtaining either a dental hygiene certificate or associates degree, which is typically a three-year program. Dental hygienists may go on to obtain a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science in Dental Hygiene.

In Kansas, dental hygienists may obtain an Extended Care Permit (level one, two or three) which allows them to practice under indirect supervision in settings like schools or nursing homes.

Thank you to Christina Cook, RDH, ECP II, Dental Operations Manager and Dental Hygienist, for her hard work and dedication to our patients! Christina always goes above and beyond and is a true team player.

National Administrative Professionals’ Day

Nikki BaldenNational Administrative Professionals’ Day, also known as Secretaries Day or Admin Day, is observed on the Wednesday of the last full week of April each year. This year it is celebrated on Wednesday, April 24. It is a day to recognize the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists and other administrative support professionals.

Shout out to Nikki Balden, Administrative Assistant at HPC. Nikki supports all the Senior Leadership Team members in addition to coordinating meetings and schedules, assists with HR functions and takes notes for the Continuous Quality Improvement meetings. In addition, she takes minutes for the Board of Directors, Finance and Quality Improvement Committee monthly meetings, and so much more. We thank and salute Nikki for all she does!

Stay tuned for May when we celebrate Patient Services Representatives and Nurses!

HPC Salutes Staff During National Recognitions

HPC Salutes Staff During National Recognitions

By Debbie Sparks, Development and Marketing Manager

National Social Work Month

March is Social Work Month and is a time to acknowledge the work that this profession has contributed to our society and across the globe. This year’s theme is “Empowering Social Workers.”

The need for social workers is great. There are nearly 720,000 social workers in our nation and more than 4,700 social workers in the state of Kansas. That number is expected to grow by 12 percent by the end of the decade, making social work one of the fastest growing professions in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Social workers have been an integral part of our nation for decades. Social workers played key roles in the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements and pushed for social programs we now take for granted, including the minimum wage, a 40-hour work week, Social Security and Medicare. People are entering the field because the life-affirming services that social workers provide are needed more than ever. Empowered social workers inspire action and lead change.

Thank you to HPC’s Social Workers, Ming Strother, LSCSW, Behavioral Health Clinician, and Jennifer Truman, LSCSW, LCSW, CCTPII, Lead Behavioral Health Clinician, and Pauline Shafer, MSW Practicum Student, University of Kansas.

National Doctor’s Day, Saturday, March 30

National Doctor’s Day is celebrated on March 30 annually in the United States to honor physicians for the work they do for their patients in their communities and for society.

  • There are over a million physicians in the United States.
  • The education and training of physicians typically includes four years of college, four years of medical school, three to five years of residency training in the chosen specialty and one to three years of additional training for sub-specialists.
  • There are two different but equivalent degrees doctors can earn: Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO).
  • The training years are difficult with long work hours of often 80 hours per week, low pay and many overnight shifts in the hospital. In addition, the highest levels of professionalism, conduct and ethics are expected of doctors.
  • Areas of practice include the primary care specialties such as family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. Other specialties include surgery, obstetrics and gynecology and psychiatry. There are well over 100 specialties and sub-specialties in the United States.
  • The specialty that sees the most patients during office visits is family medicine.

Thank you to our HPC physicians: Emily M. Bush, MD; Cheri El-Halawany, MD, FAAP; Kelly Kreisler, MD, MPH, FAAP, Chief Health Officer; Kare Lyche, MD, and Noriko Okahara, DO, MPH, for their hard work and dedication to our patients and the clinic. We appreciate all that you do to support and serve our patients.

March is a great time to show our appreciation for our Dental staff!


We Have Much to Celebrate at HPC in March!

National Dentist Day, March 6

National Dentist Day was created as a day to say thank you and show your appreciation for your dentist. It is celebrated annually on March 6.

Do you know?

  •  As of 2023 there are approximately 202,300 dentists who are professionally active in the United States. There are approximately 2,100 active dentists in Kansas, of which approximately 280 are specialists.
  • The education and training of dentists typically includes four years of college, four years of dental school and two to three years of residency training if a specialty is chosen.
  • There are two different, but equivalent degrees dentists may earn: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).
  • In the United States, 12 specialties are recognized by the American Dental Association.
  1. Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  2. Pedodontics
  3. Periodontics
  4. Prosthodontics
  5. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  6. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
  7. Endodontics
  8. Public Health Dentistry
  9. Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  10. Dental Anesthesiology
  11. Oral Medicine
  12. Orofacial Pain

Special thanks to our dentist, Nader Rastgoftar, DDS, for providing top notch patient care!

Staff Recognition March 2024

National Dental Assistant Week, March 3-9

“Dental Assistants –100 Years of Supporting Oral Health” is the theme for 2024 and acknowledges the importance of dentistry’s role in health care and the contributions of dental assistants.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2022, there are more than 371,000 dental assistants in the United States. In Kansas, there are approximately 3,000 dental assistants.

Dental assistants wear many hats in a dental clinic! They greet patients, review medical histories, take X-rays, perform dental charting during the dentist exam, assist the dentist chairside during procedures, polish teeth, review post-operative instructions and schedule patients.

In Kansas, dental assistants are not required to be certified. However, the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) is the nationally recognized certification organization for dental assistants. Certification is a source of pride for dental assistants and provides professional advantage and potentially greater earning power.

Thank you to our HPC dental assistants Stephanie Rojas, Enid Sierra and Rachell Perez!

Health Partnership earns Community Health Quality Recognition

By Catherine Rice, Vice President of Marketing/Outreach

Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) is proud to announce that it has received three Community Health Quality Recognition (CHQR) Awards from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Care Program. This is a significant accomplishment, and we’re so proud of our staff!

CHQR badges recognize health centers, like HPC, that have made notable quality improvement achievements in the areas of access, quality, health equity, health information technology and COVID-19 public health emergency response for the most recent Uniform Data System (UDS) reporting period.

HRSA 2023 Award HRSA 2023 Award NCQA Practice

Recognition badges received by HPC include:

  • Silver Award Health Center Quality Leader, which is in recognition of ranking among the top 20 percent of health centers nationally for the best overall clinical performance!
  • Advancing HIT for Quality
  • Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH)

We appreciate our team’s commitment to providing quality, primary health care services to the communities we serve. Each team member plays a key role, and when those collective skills, expertise and passion are brought together, our mission is realized. At HPC, we are all about improving health and impacting lives!

HRSA 2023 Award


Making sure your New Year’s Resolution sticks

Thao LeBy Thao Le, MSN, APRN, PMHN-BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner for Health Partnership Clinic

With every new year comes new resolutions. Whether it’s getting in shape, traveling more, or quitting smoking, every new year gives us an opportunity to turn the page and start fresh. While coming up with a New Year’s resolution can be difficult, it can sometimes be just as difficult to maintain the resolution over a period of time. This is known as a New Year’s resolution “slump,” and according to a 2022 study by Planet Fitness, it takes an individual a mere average of 41 days to give up on their resolution.

Fortunately, there are tips to help make sure your resolution sticks:

  • Set “SMART” goals
  • Stick to just picking one goal to prevent feeling overwhelmed
  • Write out a detailed plan
  • Stay motivated by tracking progress
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for support from friends and family
  • Give habits time to make them stick
  • Reward yourself

2024 New Year Tips

In the United States, improving fitness is the most popular New Year’s resolution for the year 2024, while improving mental health was the most popular resolution the year 2023.

Recently, Health Partnership received a $5,000 grant to improve the health and wellbeing of its employees. Health Partnership thought what better time than the new year to launch “Putting the Health in Health Partnership,” a six-week program that will not only offer employees an opportunity to improve their mind, body, and spirit but assistance in achieving their New Years resolutions.

The program will involve:

  • 2024 New Year TipsYoga – Yoga classes for beginners to de-stress and improve strength, balance and flexibility.
  • Decompression Baskets – Playdoh, adult coloring books, colored pencils and puzzle booklets will be provided at each clinic to decompress and stimulate the brain.
  • Wellness Challenge – Each staff member will receive a weekly checklist that includes a list of healthy activities to accomplish. After six weeks, participants will be entered into a drawing to win a prize.
  • Chair Massages – Chair massages will be available to staff in Week six to reduce stress and tension.
  • Healthy Snacks – six weeks of healthy snacks to get the day started on the right foot.

The wellness of Health Partnership Clinic depends on the wellness of its employees. Employee well-being affects job performance and patient care. When staff are physically and mentally healthy, improved decision-making follows. Together, let’s start off the new year with a bang!

Happy Holidays from Health Partnership Clinic!

By Debbie Sparks, Development and Marketing Manager

Happy Holidays from Health Partnership Clinic!As another year draws to an end, we would like to say THANK YOU to our patients who have entrusted us with their care. We are grateful to all the patients who choose HPC for their healthcare needs. It is an honor to serve our patients and their families.

To our partners and supporters, THANK YOU for helping us live our mission to provide quality, affordable and accessible health care to those who need our help the most. We are proud to serve the people of Johnson, Franklin and Miami Counties.

To our staff, we say THANK YOU for their tireless dedication and commitment to making a difference in the lives of our patients.

From everyone at Health Partnership Clinic, we wish our partners, donors and community a very Happy Holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

HPC will observe the following holiday schedule:

Monday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) CLOSED
Monday, Jan. 1 (New Year’s Day) CLOSED

Happy Holidays from Health Partnership Clinic! Happy Holidays from Health Partnership Clinic!

Happy Holidays from Health Partnership Clinic! Happy Holidays from Health Partnership Clinic!

Happy Holidays from Health Partnership Clinic!