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Health and Wellness Center at the Bluford Branch

The Kansas City Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, Deputy Director, cheptookositany@kclibrary.org

Problem Statement

Today consumers are bombarded by health, wellness and medical advice from traditional and electronic media. The ability to sort through the plethora of information is especially important for minority populations, who generally receive lesser quality health care services. Our challenge was how to respond in the most effective, culturally sensitive ways to the public's demand for meaningful health information.

Innovation

The Kansas City Public Library partnered with Truman Medical Centers and the Health Sciences Institute of Metropolitan Community Colleges – Penn Valley to create a Health & Wellness Center at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch. Among the amenities in the Center are specialized collections featuring materials on topics ranging from teen pregnancy to diabetes; health kits for adults and teens containing books, DVDs, brochures, and articles relating to particular ailments, conditions, and diseases; weight scales in the restrooms; and a machine to measure blood pressure. Additionally, the space houses kiosks connected to an online health and wellness portal (http://www.kchealthwellness.org) for adults and teens featuring information on such health conditions as high blood pressure, sickle cell disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and HIV/AIDS. To complement these written and digital resources, a series of special programs and health screenings take place periodically featuring health experts, health care industry job fairs, workshops, exercise classes and health screenings. As part of this mix, a physician and a dentist from Truman Medical Centers stop by the library branch on a regularly scheduled basis to answer questions from patrons as a part of “The Doctor Is In” series.

Progress

The Health and Wellness Center has been successful the services and resources are being used. Our first health book club event with Marvelyn Brown, author of The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive and an Emmy Award-winning international AIDS activist brought in over 200 people both young and old. The Naked Truth is the surprisingly hopeful autobiographical story of how Brown, a straight, non-promiscuous, everyday girl from Tennessee, contracted HIV and how she manages to stay upbeat, inspired, and more positive about life than ever before.