Decade of Difference

Walk Friendly Communities on the rise

Charing FernandezBy Charing Fernandez, intern with KC Healthy Kids

Cities all across the United States are applying to become Walk Friendly Communities, and Grandview, Missouri, is one of them!

In early summer, KC Healthy Kids, Mid-America Regional Council, the city of Grandview, Missouri, and the AARP Missouri state office sponsored the Step Up, Walk Friendly Summit, a two-day workshop that attracted more than 80 advocates, planners and engineers. The goal of the summit was to provide information on the benefits of being a Walk Friendly Community and how cities can get involved.

Actively living

In 2015, HCF is celebrating 10 Years of Grantmaking. But we are nothing without the organizations that work every day on eliminating barriers to quality health in our community. To mark this milestone, we are launching a special series — A Healthy 10. Each month we’ll highlight one of 10 areas of health that saw progress in the past decade. August is active living.

Active living

Whether it’s an evening spent walking with a friend, playing on the playground with your children, or zooming around the neighborhood on a bike, active living is a cornerstone of better health, independence and quality of life.

Electronic health records improve a patient's care

Bridget McCandlessBy Bridget McCandless, M.D., president and CEO of HCF

Anyone who has ever touched a computer knows that they are a blessing and a curse — a blessing when I need quick information, and lots of cursing when the machine refuses to read my mind about what I want it to do!

Electronic health records (EHRs) are slowly evolving from a curse to a blessing. If you have kept a medical appointment in the past five years, there’s a good chance that you witnessed your provider or nurse struggling to migrate your chart into a new computerized records system.

Making good health decisions every day

By Dr. Catina O’Leary, PhD, LMSW, president and CEO of Health Literacy Missouri and Ioana Staiculescu, MPH, research specialist at Center for Health Policy

Health literacy is the ability to make good health decisions every day.

While traditional literacy skills are a part of health literacy, health literacy focuses on skills required to function in the health care environment, including:

  • Reading, writing, and filling out forms
  • Listening and verbal communication skills
  • Numeracy, which involves computing, interpreting and evaluating risk
  • Self-efficacy, or one’s belief in their ability to perform a task
  • Navigation of health care systems and facilities

KC agency helps refugees access culturally competent health services

By Tara Burkhart, social work program manager of Jewish Vocational Services

Nearly 60 million people were counted as forcibly displaced in 2014, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR). Currently, one person out of every 122 on the planet is said to be a refugee, internally displaced person or asylum seeker. If those people were the population of one country, it would be the 24th largest in the world.

Therapy pets help improve patients' quality of life

Roxy and DonnaBy Donna J. Amato and her dog Roxy. Ms. Amato is president of Pets for Life, Inc

The purpose of Pets for Life, Inc. is to provide the therapeutic touch of pets and volunteers for people with either physical or mental disorders who are confined in local institutions. We hope to improve the quality of life for these patients, and to assist with the patients’ care plan.

Clinical research continues to verify the positive effects of animal-assisted therapy:

  • anxiety is lessened
  • depression is improved
  • blood pressure is lowered
  • heart rates decrease
  • reduced risk of heart attack

There's progress, but our LGBTQ youth are still suffering

Daniel LukenbillBy Daniel Lukenbill, youth services intern at Kansas City Anti-Violence Project

Within this last year the LGBTQ community as a whole has made great strides. Marriage was legalized, Caitlyn Jenner publicly transitioned, and President Barack Obama openly condemned conversion therapy.

We’ve definitely made progress, but we still have a long way to go. Specifically we need to start focusing on the problems within our youth.

Recent studies have concluded that 33 percent of LGBTQ youth between the ages of 16 and 20 meet criteria for any mental disorder, while the same number of youth have reported attempting suicide within their lifetime.

HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at



About Bridget's Blog

Bridget McCandless

Bridget McCandless, MD, MBA, FACP, HCF President/CEO

Bridget McCandless is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and is a Board Certified Internal Medicine Specialist with an interest in chronic disease management and poverty medicine. She shares her thoughts and perspectives on health and policy issues that impact the health of the community as a whole.