Mike Sherry

Reporter, Heartland Health Monitor

Mike Sherry is a reporter for the Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT television, a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor team. HHM is a reporting collaboration among KCUR, KHI News Service in Topeka, Kan., KCPT television in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas Public Radio in Lawrence, Kan.

Mike spent the first chunk of his career as a journalistic nomad. He averaged one move a year in the nearly two decades between college and his homecoming in 2003 to work for The Kansas City Star. Journalism has taught him that truth is stranger than fiction. He once covered a story where deputies arrested a groom at his wedding reception for failing to pay child support from a previous marriage.

In his younger days, Mike rode his bike across Iowa and backpacked through Asia. Now, he enjoys spending time with his family.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

It’s the serviceman who beats himself up about being unable to save a dying buddy. Or the truck driver who follows orders to run over children in the road, because they might be placed there to facilitate an ambush of a convoy.

While it has been more than half a century since the United States began celebrating Veterans Day, the national holiday the nation observes Friday, it has only been in the recent past that military mental health professionals have parsed out what they consider to be a significant after-effect of service.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Supporters of a new mental health crisis center in Kansas City hailed the facility as a model for the rest of the state — and beyond — during its ceremonial opening this afternoon.

“Other communities in Missouri are going to have their eyes on this project because they want to emulate it,” said Mike Nietzel, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH).

Nietzel was one of many speakers who took to the podium outside the new Kansas City Assessment and Triage Center, at 12th Street and Prospect Avenue.

Courtesy Glore Psychiatric Museum

When Missouri’s second mental hospital opened in the late 19th century, State Lunatic Asylum No. 2 in St. Joseph was designed to provide lots of natural light and fresh air.

Yet as war and economic calamity frayed the nation’s psyche, over-crowding swamped the hospital’s lofty goals. The census of the St. Joseph facility peaked at around 3,000 patients in the 1950s — more than 10 times its intended capacity.

John McGrath / Flatland

Four years ago, former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius returned home as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services with a prize the University of Kansas Cancer Center had been seeking for years: certification as a nationally recognized center through the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

But amid the hoopla, KU Cancer Center Director Dr. Roy Jensen declared the NCI designation was “merely a water break and a rest stop” on the way toward earning higher-echelon status from the institute as a “comprehensive” cancer center.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

New federal legislation aimed at combating the nation’s opioid addiction crisis has a provision tailored specifically for Missouri, which is the only state without a database designed to prevent pill shopping among multiple dispensers.

The language, inserted by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, makes counties and municipalities eligible for federal funds that help establish a prescription drug monitoring program. Her amendment applies only to states without a prescription drug monitoring database.

File photo / Heartland Health Monitor

The Overland Park City Council on Monday set 21 as the minimum age to buy tobacco products, meaning that a regional campaign has now upped the legal age in the metropolitan area’s five largest cities.

The council approved the ordinance Monday on a 9-3 vote, with council members Dave Janson, Fred Spears and Dan Stock voting against the measure.

KCPT Television / Heartland Health Monitor

The University of Missouri-Kansas City is a diverse, urban institution with around 1,200 full- and part-time faculty dispersed across dozens of academic areas.

As multifaceted as it is, academicians from the disparate fields of fine arts and medicine have found their way to Associate Professor Greg King in the School of Computing and Engineering.

The University of Kansas Hospital said Friday that it is partnering with KVC Health Systems to provide adult psychiatric care in Wyandotte County.

Under the arrangement, KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital’s 12 adult psychiatric beds at 4300 Brenner Drive in Kansas City, Kansas, will become part of KU Hospital. It will be called The University of Kansas Hospital Adult Services at KVC Prairie Ridge, according to a news release.

Based in Olathe, KVC is a nonprofit provider of behavioral health care and child welfare services, including foster care and adoption.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

A Kansas City developer with experience around Beacon Hill is talking with the city about a project that could bring a grocery store to a community that has long sought easy access to healthy food options.

City Development Specialist Shawn Hughes said Thursday that UC-B Properties has submitted a concept for a mixed-use development on the northeast corner of 27th Street and Troost Avenue that might include a ground-floor grocery store.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Johnson County has created a panel to advise the county commission on food issues.

One of the Food Policy Council’s goals will be to increase county residents’ access to healthy foods, according to a news release from the county. But the council might also touch on other areas, such as economic development, agriculture and food waste.

The council’s first order of business will be to focus on “food deserts” – areas that lack ready access to affordable and nutritious food – in Olathe, Overland Park and Edgerton.

Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center

The Kansas City Council on Thursday approved a $1.5 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year that boosts spending from health fund reserves to pay for indigent care.

After some last-minute lobbying from providers, the council took $300,000 from the reserve to bump up next year’s allocation for Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center and Children’s Mercy Hospital. Two-thirds of the increase goes to Samuel Rodgers.

Council members did not discuss the health funding at their Thursday meeting.

File photo

A Kansas City Council committee has added some funding for indigent health care services in a revised 2016-17 budget to be considered Thursday by the full council – much to the relief of Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center.

The Finance and Governance Committee on Wednesday recommended approval of the revised budget, which allocates about $300,000 in reserves from the health levy fund to Samuel Rodgers and Children’s Mercy Hospital. Two thirds of the bump would go to Samuel Rodgers.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

A new 16-bed mental health crisis center on Kansas City’s East Side could open as much as two months ahead of early projections. The target date is now July 1.

Details approved this month by the City Council call for a $1 million contribution from Missouri-side hospitals toward annual operating costs of the Kansas City Assessment and Triage Center and the establishment of ReDiscover, a Lee’s Summit-based community health center, as the service provider.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

A simmering dispute over spending from a multimillion dollar health fund is scheduled to come to a head next Thursday as the Kansas City Council considers the city budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The budget would reallocate the $31 million in health levy funding that supports indigent care at six hospitals and clinics, including Truman Medical Center, Swope Health Services and Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common of all sexually transmitted infections, with more than 100 different types. It causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, and to a lesser extent is to blame for several other cancers, including mouth and throat.

A three-dose vaccine significantly reduces the chances of contracting an HPV-related cancer, especially when it’s given to adolescent boys and girls before they become sexually active.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Hit by recent cuts in state mental health programs, Wyandot Inc., an umbrella organization for four nonprofit agencies in Kansas City, Kansas, has eliminated 26 positions.

Six of the positions were vacant and won’t be filled and six other employees accepted transfers to other positions in the organization, leaving a total of 14 who lost their jobs.

File photo

This story was updated at 4:13 p.m.

Missouri has settled a dispute over the terms of a multibillion settlement with the big tobacco companies that has cost it tens of millions of dollars over the last dozen or so years.

Attorney General Chris Koster announced the settlement Monday, saying it will allow the state to recoup $50 million it lost in arbitration and preserve millions of dollars in future payments.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Residents living just south of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, might just get a grocery store after all.

Truman Medical Centers disappointed people in and around the Beacon Hill and Longfellow neighborhoods when, in mid-2015, it nixed plans to build a supermarket on the northeast corner of 27th Street and Troost Avenue. The project had been in the works for about four years.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Technically, it was a ribbon-cutting for a new health facility, but Thursday afternoon’s christening of a new gym and community center in Raytown was more like removing bandages from an old wound.

That’s because the facility, at 10301 E. 350 Highway, is housed in a refurbished building that the YMCA of Greater Kansas City closed three years ago amid a public outcry, and the bitter taste lasted as long as the building sat empty. The Raytown School District bought and refurbished the 45,000-square-foot building for about $3 million.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

If policy makers in deep-red Indiana can do it, so can their equally conservative counterparts in Kansas.

That was the dominant – though not unanimously held – message at a forum Tuesday at Johnson County Community College, where the topic was expanding the Kansas Medicaid program to cover as many as 150,000 additional Kansans.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

While declaring that Kansas City’s homicide problem won’t be solved by a single prevention strategy, leaders of one of the city’s signature anti-violence initiatives said Monday they plan to modify the program following a surge of murders this year.

The program, the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA), is a three-year-old collaboration among several organizations, including the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Kansas City Police Department, that aims to disrupt criminal groups.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

It might be a stretch for the United States to achieve an 80 percent vaccination rate against the human papillomavirus (HPV) within the next four years, as envisioned by the Healthy People 2020 plan set out by federal health authorities.

Mike Sherry/Heartland Health Monitor

Found in most parts of the body, adult stem cells have the potential to grow into any of the body's more than 200 cell types, offering potential therapies for a number of diseases.

With scientists throughout Kansas working with adult stem cells, state lawmakers created the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center two years ago to serve as a hub for the stem cell research and treatment in Kansas.

The center is housed at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, and it’s headed by Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Two University of Kansas Medical Center researchers at the forefront of national efforts to treat Alzheimer’s disease said scientists are making strides toward reducing the prevalence of a condition that affects as many as 5.1 million Americans.

Key aims include early detection and halting the progression of the disease, said Dr. Jeffrey Burns, a leader of the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center (KUADC).

MARIUS MELLEBYE / CREATIVE COMMONS-FLICKR

A Kansas City Council committee on Wednesday approved three anti-smoking measures that critics said wrongly include electronic cigarettes and premium cigars.

Taken together, the three ordinances raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 and add e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, to the city’s ban on indoor smoking, including in so-called vape shops that sell them.

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences is nearing a milestone in its march toward opening Missouri’s first new medical school in four decades, with a fundraising campaign for its Joplin campus now entering the home stretch.

The Joplin-area committee running the campaign has commitments for more than 80 percent of the $30 million it pledged for the medical school, and the leader of the campaign says it’s on track to complete the task by the end of the year.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Supporters of banning the sale of cigarettes to teens and young adults in the Kansas City area may be close to landing their first major coup.

On Monday night, a legislative committee of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, one of the region’s largest municipalities, endorsed revising its legal code to ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21. The current age under state law is 18.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Business and health leaders on Thursday announced an ambitious initiative to convince elected officials in the dozens of municipalities throughout the Kansas City area to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21.

Spearheaded by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, “Tobacco 21 | KC” aims to build on a movement that now counts nearly 100 communities around the country and the state of Hawaii that have made 21 the legal age for purchasing tobacco products.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

The sale of two Kansas City-area hospitals will generate $20 million in the next decade to help operate a new mental health crisis center on the city’s East Side, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said Wednesday.

Koster made the announcement while standing outside the state office building at the corner of 12th Street and Prospect Avenue that will house the 16-bed Kansas City Area Adult Behavioral Health Assessment and Triage Center.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Jackson and Clay counties are hoping to join a handful of Missouri municipalities that have enacted a local tax to fund services for at-risk children and youth.

The Jackson-Clay Children’s Services Fund Committee wants to persuade voters to enact a quarter-cent sales tax that the committee estimates could generate as much as $40 million in both counties combined for children up to age 19.

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