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Kansas Disability and Health Program News

Spring/Summer 2019

In this Issue:

  • Greetings from the Director
  • AHEC Success Story
  • Stoplight Healthy Living
  • Oral Health Training for People with Mobility Limitations
  • Advisor Profile: Sean Beebe
  • CHEC Assessments
  • New Resources Online
  • Peer-Reviewed Publication
  • Presentations

Jean Hall, Director of the Kansas Disability & Health ProgramGreetings from the Director

Happy summer! As we recover from all the rain and storms, we are thankful for your continuing support of and interest in the Kansas Disability and Health Program. Our work would not be possible without our partnerships in communities. 

As always, we welcome your ideas for additional outreach or activities for us to pursue in the coming year. In particular, we hope to expand several of the interventions described below and appreciate your suggestions for how to do so. 

Wishing you good health,

Jean Hall, PhD
Director, Kansas Disability & Health Program

Webinars Delivered through the University of Kansas Medical Center Area Health Education Center

In early 2019, the Kansas Disability and Health Program partnered with the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) to deliver a series of four webinars about how medical staff can more effectively serve patients with disabilities and chronic health conditions. AHEC is KUMC's primary statewide educational program for outreach to medical, nursing, and allied health professionals. 

Ultimately, the webinar series was well-received, with a total attendance of 178 medical professionals. 

View the full KUMC Area Health Education Center success story (PDF), along with information received through the evaluation of each webinar session, illustrating the growth in knowledge and understanding among participating medical professionals.

Stoplight Healthy Living

Graphic: A stoplight, with the words "Go" "Slow" and "Whoa!" using the lights as the letter O in each.The overall goal of Stoplight Healthy Living is to help participants understand the impact of nutrition and exercise on their lives. Even small changes to their daily routines and diets will help them improve their health. 

The research-based healthy living program is easy to follow. Foods are divided into three groups to facilitate healthy food choices:

  • Green foods ("anytime choices" and GO foods, such as apples)
  • Yellow foods ("sometime choices" and SLOW foods, such as potatoes)
  • Red foods ("rarely choices" and WOAH foods, such as candy)

Sponsoring organizations are asked to recruit 6 to 10 participants and 2 facilitators and provide meeting space. The Kansas Disability and Health Program will provide the curriculum, staff training, and all materials at no cost. Want to learn more? Contact Kim Bruns at kbruns@ku.edu

Oral Health Training for People with Intellectual Disabilities: Feeling Good About Your Smile

Graphic: Cartoon drawing of a large tooth brushing a smaller tooth with a toothbrush. Both teeth are smiling.The Kansas DHP is working with a network of partners to improve Kansas' knowledge of oral health (the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums) and the capacity of the oral health system. We are offering Kansas with disabilities a chance to take part in programs that have been tested and proven effective, like "Feeling Good About Your Smile." 

This 90-minute hands-on workshop is designed to improve oral health for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their personal assistants/attendants. Read the Feeling Good About Your Smile Success Story (PDF) for more information and highlights of participant responses. In the workshop, a certified dental hygenist leads fun activities to teach participants about: 

  • cavity-causing bacteria and how to remove them
  • how to choose tooth-healthy foods and snacks
  • causes of cavities and the best ways to prevent them

We have provided this workshop to more than 100 individuals in locations across the state. Oral Health Kansas is a key partner in this work. 

If your organization is interested in hosting a Feeling Good About Your Smile workshop, please contact Kim Bruns at kbruns@ku.edu

Advisor Profile: Sean Beebe is Talented in More Ways than One

sean beebe in front of a computerSean has been a member of the Kansas Disability and Health Program's Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) since its inception in 2016. He is also involved with the Independent Living Resource Center in Wichita and serves on the Wichita Disability Access Advisory Group. 

He has been advocating for himself since he was young--especially since when he was born at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita. His parents were advised to abandon him because of his medical issues. They were told he would not amount to anything. Sean quickly proved this to be untrue, even becoming the first student with a disability selected to be a lunch server. He credits his parents and the good medical care he received from a urologist for the good life he enjoys to this day. Sean has one sister, whom he states is 51 weeks older than he is. He enjoys spending time with her and his parents. 

Sean also considers himself a bookworm and he enjoys reading a variety of genres. His love of books has led him to volunteering at the Wichita Westlink Public Library since it opened--over 30 years ago. He likes to visit public libraries when he travels. Another passion of Sean's is Star Trek. He has been a Trekkie for many years and has met all the actors from the original Star Trek series. He loves attending Star Trek conventions and expos. He estimates he has about 100 autographs, including one from Adam West. 

The CAB has benefited from Sean's gift and keen eye for photography. He recommends everyone visit the Wichita Botanical Gardens, one of his favorite places to use his photography skills. 

Sean's advice to everyone is to just be yourself. We all have different abilities and have something to offer no matter what setting we find ourselves in. 

CHEC Assessments

 The Community Health Environment Checklist (PDF) is a tool for measuring how usable public spaces are for people with disabilities, including health care and fitness facilities. This information can then be shared with people in the community. The CHEC was developed by disability researchers at Washington University in St. Louis. 

New Resources Online

These resources have been created by DHP staff members. You can find them on our website at DHP resources--and feel free to share widely! 

  • Take Charge of Your Own Health!: This inforgraphic encourages self-determination for people with IDD. It compares the effects of good and bad health habits and provides resources for finding more support to eat well, exercise more, etc. 
  • Knowledge is Power: Data for Advocates (PDF): This document identifies sources of data at the national and state levels. The tools included here can be extremely valuable in preparing grant proposals and creating programs that address real needs, along with other information about health disparities, employment and more. 
  • Making Homes Visitable: A Guide for Wheelchair Users and Hosts: All to often, steps and other environmental barriers contribute to social isolation for people who use mobility devices, which may contribute to depression or other health problems. Dot Nary and collagues created this guide, which provides tips for making visits possible and ideas for how to start a conversation about visiting. 
  • Health Disparities Experienced by Kansans with Disabilities (PDF): Kansans with disabilities experience worse health and have higher rates of health risk behaviors than their non-disabled peers. Learn more about the disparities with this fact sheet. 
  • Health Insurance and Coverage Options for Kansans with Disabilities (PDF): Finding health insurance that fits your needs and is affordable can be challenging, but this fact sheet provides important information and resources that can help you do so. 

Peer-Reviewed Publication

This article in a national publication, which has been reviewed by other researchers, advances our knowledge of the experiences of people with disabilities. 

Jean Hall, Noelle Kurth, and colleagues published Perspectives of Adults with Disabilities on Access to Health Care After the ACA: Qualitative Findings in the Disability and Health Journal (July 2019). 


DHP staff members present at state and national conferences. If you are interested in learning more about any of the topics mentioned above, or having us present to your organization, please contact us

For More Information

Kim Bruns, DHP Program Coordinator
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 CDC, NCBDDD, Disability and Health Branch.