Conversations from experts, medical practitioners and advocates on various health topics.
The cold winter months can be especially hard for people experiencing homelessness, but the faith communities in Columbia have collaborated to provide emergency winter shelter since 2008, hosted at various churches around the city – called Room at the Inn.
Jim Jantz and Rockie Alden, who both work with Room at the Inn, spoke about the health issues their guests most often face, as well as the importance of treating everyone with dignity.
Heather Harlan is prevention specialist and adolescent counselor at Phoenix Health Programs in Columbia. She says addiction to drugs like alcohol and tobacco often stems from childhood trauma, and substance use disorders can make it difficult for those experiencing homelessness, in particular, to get help.
She spoke about the importance of primary prevention of substance use disorders and about the challenges these disorders can create for those experiencing homelessness and their families
Teresa and Frankie Graham work with Harvest House, the local homeless shelter in Boonville. Teresa has been the resident manager since May, and Frankie is a longtime volunteer.
They spoke about the sometimes forgotten or overlooked needs of a shelter and what individuals can do to help fight homelessness – sometimes things as easy as calling the local homeless shelter to find out exactly what they need.
Katie Burnham Wilkins is the Homeless Program Coordinator at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital, and Blake Witter is the Program Coordinator for HUD-VASH, a program that combines Housing and Urban Development Vouchers with VA services to help homeless veterans get stable housing.
While the exact number of homeless veterans is hard to pin down, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released a reportlast year that found that although the number of homeless veterans has overall decreased by 17% since 2015, the number of homeless veterans in Missouri has slightly increased, to nearly 600.
Katie and Blake spoke about the challenges of reaching out to and housing homeless veterans in the Columbia community.
Deborah Baker and Patty McClendon have worked together at the Pulaski County Health Department for years. Deborah is the Director of the Health Department, and Patty is the Public Health Program Director.
They spoke about how they have benefited from public health in the past, and how their duties at the health department go beyond simply giving shots.
Susie McGee and Bev Borgeson both work for Audrain Developmental Disability Services. Susie works as the Community RN proving nursing care, and Bev is the Quality Assurance Coordinator, but according to Susie, Bev wears “many hats.”
They spoke about how the needs of the people they work with, who they call “consumers,” are changing.
Sam McMillen and Elizabeth Modde are both medical students at the University of Missouri, and they work with MedZou – a free community health clinic run by medical staff and students.
Sam is currently the Director of Patient Advocacy and Referrals, and he sat down with Elizabeth in May to discuss some of the healthcare struggles their homeless patients face, and how their relationships with patients has changed them.
Jon Reagan is a dentist in Neosho, Mo., who has been practicing for almost 20 years. We met as he volunteered at the sixth annual Missouri Mission of Mercy (MOMOM). This is a once a year, two-day dental clinic providing free care for anyone who’s willing to wait in line. It’s in a different place every year, and this year the event was held in Joplin.
Nine years ago, Jon began visiting North Belize as a medical missionary, helping people with extractions and oral health care education. He spoke about the similarities he sees between the oral health issues in rural communities in Missouri and in Belize, as well as his passion for volunteering at MOMOM.
Health reporter Rebecca Smith recently sat down with Dr. John Dane, the current state Dental Director, and Gary Harbison, the Executive Director for the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health.
In this 30 minute Missouri Health Talks Special, they cover the Missouri Oral Health Plan, which runs from 2015 to 2020, advances that have been made in oral health policy and struggles Missourians still face when it comes to accessing quality, affordable dental care.
You will also hear conversations gathered by Smith in June at the 6th Annual MOMOM, or Missouri Mission of Mercy, in Joplin. This yearly, two-day dental clinic put on by the Missouri Dental Association provides free dental care for anyone willing to wait in line. This year approximately 1,200 people were served and more than $800,000 worth of care was provided.
Janelle Williams and JoAnne Marietta both work at Audrain County Crisis Intervention Service or ACCIS – a non-profit that provides resources to people in domestic and sexual violence situations.
Janelle is the executive director and JoAnne works as the equal access advocate. They spoke about the challenges their clients without legal immigration status have when pursuing legal action against abusive partners and when trying to obtain U visas, a nonimmigrant visa set aside for people who are victims of crimes and have suffered substantial abuse.
Tad Dobyns is a community organizer for Central Missouri Community Action in Audrain County. He recently sat down with his next-door neighbor of sorts: Phil Iman, the director of the Help Center next door.
They spoke about a new program at the Help Center – called the Senior Box program – that provides extra food resources to low-income elderly individuals and helps meet some of the need in their community.
Simon McKeown has been a physician in Mexico, Missouri, for many years. Now, he works as the medical director for the Audrain County Health Department and works at a local Urgent Care office.
He sat down with his oldest son, Jonah, to speak about some of the health issues in Audrain County – like high STD rates – and reflect on how their family has benefited from social programs in the past, like years ago, when Simon was in medical school.
Dr. Andrew Quint has been the Medical Director at Family Health Center in Columbia for many years. For the past 11 years, he has worked with nurse Beth Rahn. They spoke about the many patients they have seen over the years and how those patients have changed their lives.
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