PITTSBURG, Kan. — UCare, a leading independent, nonprofit health plan, recently announced a $25,000 grant to Inspire Health Foundation in support of their work promoting health careers among Kansas students. That gift will be doubled by Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHCSEK), bringing the total donation to $50,000.
Inspire Health champions learning about careers in health care, beginning in pre-kindergarten all the way through young adulthood. The foundation provides school libraries with age-appropriate, health career-related books, and offers hands-on children’s activities.
These educational opportunities range from examining models of human mouths for cavities to learning what makes a nutritious meal to creating kid-friendly petri dishes to answer questions about bacteria. Through the partnership, students also have the opportunity to tour CHCSEK clinics to view imaging equipment.
“We believe it’s absolutely critical to support our local communities and health care providers, and we’re thrilled to partner with CHCSEK on this donation,” said Jon Hamdorf, UCare’s market president in Kansas. “Inspire Health Foundation’s vision of introducing health careers to students at early ages through interactions with working professionals and immersive activities is an investment that will strengthen rural communities across eastern Kansas and northeast Oklahoma for years to come.”
According to recent data released by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Workforce, more than 70% of primary care health professional shortage areas nationwide are rural or partially rural. In Kansas, more than 820,000 residents are affected by these shortages.
“A key approach to addressing future rural health care shortages is to inspire local children to dream big, and we are delighted to be recognized by UCare and CHCSEK as an innovation partner worthy of support,” said Rebecca Turnbull, Inspire Health Foundation’s executive director. “The first step in our children becoming doctors, health care providers and leaders is for them to imagine themselves in those roles.
“We will stick with the kids as their interests in health care evolve,” Turnbull added. “It’s important they get the hands-on chance to explore all of the fascinating areas where they can focus their studies and ultimately make an impact on the health of the communities where we all live.”
UCare is an independent, nonprofit health plan providing health care and administrative services to more than 600,000 members throughout Minnesota and parts of western Wisconsin. UCare partners with health care providers, counties and community organizations to create and deliver Medicaid, Medicare and Individual & Family health plans.
Inspire Health Foundation (IHF) promotes health careers by engaging students, parents, and educators in and out of the classroom. The foundation supports the efforts of the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas through providing, sponsoring, facilitating, promoting, and supporting healthcare education throughout the region. IHF is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit based in Pittsburg, Kansas.
CHCSEK is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) and Kansas not-for-profit corporation. Today, more than 1,000 employees care for more than 70,000 patients every year, providing medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, and support services across eastern Kansas and northeast Oklahoma – still regardless of the ability to pay.