A group from the National Association of Hispanic Nurses Kansas City Chapter stops for a photo at this past weekend’s Entre Mujeres conference. The event was a success, and NAHN-KC members were able to administer the HPV vaccine to more than 30 attendees of the event. Courtesy photo

Immunize Kansas Coalition

 

TOPEKA – The Immunize Kansas Coalition (IKC) has taken the next step in building health equity by reaching diverse communities across the state by hosting Entre Mujeres: The Health of Women, the first Spanish-language predominant conference in Kansas City.

To increase access to those in other regions of the state, a bus sponsored by Garden City Community College provided transport for women from western and central Kansas.

The one-day event in late April was supported by 15 sponsors and exhibitors, brought in 200 people across Kansas, and reached tens of thousands with media coverage and digital campaign efforts.

The event kicked off with live entertainment from Trio Aztlan, a popular mariachi band in the area. Attendees shared conversations over lunch, made friends, and visited vendors’ exhibit tables.

The program began at 1 p.m., with speakers highlighting prenatal and infant care initiatives, cancer prevention education, cancer survivor stories, and a motivational speaker session.

Speaker Dr. Sharla A. Smith, Ph.D., MPH, an associate professor in population health at the University of Kansas Health System shared, “I am so honored that I had the opportunity to present at the Health of Women Summit. While it was out of my comfort zone, equity is for all,” she expressed.

Reflecting on her experience graduate student Stephania Lopez of Newman University shared, “This event was evidence of the power of engagement and sharing experiences and information to inspire each other to better serve our community. At this conference, black and brown people felt empowered. Their healthcare needs and discrepancies were voiced. Dr. Sharla Smith’s presentation moved me. We do not talk about these issues enough. I am inspired to continue to share and be a catalyst for change.”

After learning about how the HPV vaccine protects against six different cancers, community members had the opportunity to receive an immunization on-site. Vaccine administration partners, Caritas Clinic: Duchesne Clinic and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses Kansas City Chapter administered 37 immunizations to attendees.

When asked about what contributed to the success of the event, Geovannie Gone, Executive Director of Immunize Kansas Coalition shared “IKC continues to find innovative ways to reach our communities and educate them.”

The event’s impact was achieved through partnerships as each played a significant role in removing barriers to transportation, language, health misinformation, and vaccine access.

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