Kansas Disability and Health Program Logo. Kansans with disabilities can be healthy

Kansas Disability and Health Program News

Fall 2017

In this Issue: 

  • Greetings from the Director
  • Deb Young: Health Champion
  • "Feeling Good About Your Smile" Teaches Oral Health Skills
  • "14 Weeks to a Healthier You" Offers Online Program
  • Success Story: Turning Back Diabetes
  • Technical Assistance Offered
  • Where to Find Us

Greetings from the Director

Jean Hall, director of Kansas DHPWelcome to the inaugural issue of the Kansas Disability & Health Program (DHP) E-newsletter! The purpose of this semi-annual mailing is to provide news about opportunities to improve health and access to health activities for Kansans with disabilities. We encourage you to share the information widely and to send us any news you would like to include in future issues. Our goal is to ensure that "Kansans with Disabilities Can Be Healthy."

Jean Hall, PhD
Director, Kansas Disability & Health Program

Deb Young: Health Champion

Deb Young in her tiara and sashWe're delighted that Deb Young, a member of our Consumer Advisory Board, has agreed to be a DHP Health Champion, helping to promote our program across the state. As Ms. Wheelchair Kansas, Deb already visits with many groups and conferences around the state to carry out her platform: "Disability Does Not Promote Dependence."

Now she will also share our message that people with disabilities CAN be healthy. If you're sponsoring an event where Deb could visit, please let us know.

We're also looking for a second health champion who is a health professional to take our message to his or her peers in the medical community. If you know a doctor, nurse, dentist, or other health professional who would be a good candidate, please let us know!

"Feeling Good about Your Smile" Teaches Oral Health Skills

Woman holding a flashy lightIs it better for your teeth to sip on a sugary drink like soda all day long or to drink it all in one sitting?

Last May, Kansans with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers learned the answer by taking part in the workshop "Feeling Good about Your Smile": You should finish a sugary drink all at one time. Then you can rinse your teeth with water or brush to remove the bacteria that cause cavities.

Through our partnership with Oral Health Kansas, dental hygienist Kathy Hunt delivered this fun and informative workshop for eight people in Olathe and 20 people in Parsons. Caregivers are included because they can reinforce the lessons learned.

Like the person in the photo at left, participants checked their teeth with a blue LED light to see how well they were removing bacteria when brushing their teeth. They also learned about tooth-healthy foods and snacks.

Ms Hunt will train two dental hygienists from Pittsburg and Garden City to deliver the "Feeling Good about Your Smile" workshop so more Kansans can learned how to keep their teeth, gums and mouth healthy. Contact us if you are interested in hosting this event.

"14 Weeks to a Healthier You" Offers Online Program

NCHPAD 14 Weeks to a Healthier YouWe are working with the National Center on Heath and Physical Activity for People with Disabilities (NCHPAD) to offer Kansans with disabilities a free web-based physical activity and nutrition program.

The goal of "14 Weeks to a Healthier You" is to help you get moving and making healthy nutrition choices. The program provides you with personalized resources to meet your individual needs, plus access to a 14-week coach. Each week you receive exercises, recipes and nutrition tips that build on materials from previous weeks.

Success Story: Turning Back Diabetes

Brad Linnenkamp in the kitchenSeveral months ago, Brad Linnenkamp, a member of our Consumer Advisory Board, got some bad news from his doctor. When they tested his blood glucose levels, he said, "I zoomed right into the diabetic range." If his A1C count remained so high, he would need to take new medications and possibly insulin.

So he decided to take the doctor's advice to "stop the pop." He quit his longtime habit of drinking full-sugar soda pop every day, several times a day. "I didn't want to be a pincushion, having to stab my fingers to test my blood," he said.

When he was tested three months later, Brad's blood count had fallen to pre-diabetic levels. Seeing those numbers change has also motivated him to eat better and to eat at home more often. He still drinks pop on occasion, but "It doesn't taste the same."

Brad owes some of his success to teamwork with his friend and colleague Stephanie Sanford, who is director of self-advocacy at the Self Advocate Coalition of Kansas (SACK), where Brad works.

"I told him I would support him by quitting something I enjoy," Stephanie said. Her personal sacrifice was to quit adding sugar to her coffee. She still drinks coffee all day long (only fresh, whole-ground beans), but now she doesn't miss the sugar - and to her surprise, she lost 24 pounds.

Both Brad and Stephanie say that guilt was not part of their mutual support. They just kept each other accountable and stayed positive about making one change as often as they could. "You don't have to have a huge goal to be successful," noted Stephanie.

Thanks to Susan Palmer for the photo of Brad.

Technical Assistance Offered

Disability Technical Assistance (TA) is available for local health departments from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). This national association offers TA for all health department programs and activities, including health promotion and emergency preparedness. The application deadline is Nov. 30.

We'll See You on Facebook . . . 

Facebook ThumbPlease join us in conversation on the Knasas DHP Facebook page. We share tips related to living a healthy lifestyle, focusing on physical activity, oral health and nutrition.

And Look for Us in Person! 

DHP staff will present at various meetings and conferences in 2018, including the SACK conference and the Disability Caucus. Please let us know if we can present information about our program at an event in your area.

In 2017, we were pleased to exhibit or present information at the following conferences and health fairs:

  • InterHab Conference
  • SACK Conference
  • Haskell Indian Nations University Safety and Wellness Fair
  • Oral Health Kansas Annual Conference
  • University of Kansas Wellness Fair
  • Kansas Public Health Association Conference
  • Heartland Health Equity and Patient Centered Care

For More Information

Kim Bruns, DHP Program Coordinator
kbruns@ku.edu, 785-864-0704
The University of Kansas
Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies
1000 Sunnyside Ave.
Lawrence, KS 66045

This newsletter was supported by Grant/Cooperative Agreement Number DD000006 from CDC, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Disability and Health Branch. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of DCD, NCBDDD, Disability and Health Branch.