As a member of Adventist Health System, Shawnee Mission Health operates as a not-for-profit organization focused on improving the health of the community it serves. Every three years, SMH conducts a Community Health Needs Assessment to determine the major needs in our area.

In 2013, SMH conducted its first CHNA and evaluated health-related needs of the broader community as well as those of low income, minority and underserved people. Using the results, SMH developed a three-year Community Health Improvement Plan that included specific and targeted ways to improve the health of the populations within the communities it serves.

“The Community Health Improvement Plan enhances the health of our community through education, research, financial assistance, special clinical and non-clinical programs, and the provision of spiritual resources,” said SMH president and CEO Ken Bacon. “These services, referred to as community benefits, are offered without regard to profit and have the sole purpose of strengthening the well being of the community and aiding vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and underprivileged.”

Some key needs identified in the first CHNA included better education regarding eating habits and nutrition as well as a greater emphasis on physical activity and wellness. SMH developed and implemented strategies for each of these priorities throughout the three-year period from 2014-2016.

For example, SMH introduced CREATION Health—an eight-week wellness program featuring lifestyle seminars and a special training program for those who want to live healthier and happier lives. Participants are encouraged to consistently practice the principles of CREATION Health (Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook and Nutrition) to better fulfill God’s plan for us to live and be happy.

To improve eating habits and nutrition, SMH expanded its community wellness offerings to include specific weight-loss and nutrition programs. In addition, SMH empowered Kansas City women to live healthier lives physically, mentally and spiritually through its uplifting annual conference called Living in Vitality or LIV. The conference features keynote speakers and breakout sessions on a variety of nutrition, fitness, stress and other wellness-related topics, as well as offers important health screenings for women.

Another excellent community resource SMH continues to provide is the ASK-A-NURSE Resource Center, a free service providing answers to health questions for any person living in or visiting Kansas or Missouri. AAN is staffed 24/7, 365 days a year and offers guidance to individuals needing to make both urgent and non-urgent health care decisions. Through the years, AAN associates have directed more than 11,000 callers to take action by calling 911 or going to a hospital emergency room. AAN also provides assistance in registering for classes and services offered at the SMH campuses.

According to Community Benefit Manager Jeanette Metzler, SMH is working on a new CHNA, which is due by the end of 2016.

“The new assessment has several components, and we conducted the majority of the research in the fall of 2015,” said Metzler. “We have also established an external committee consisting of key community leaders as well as Shawnee Mission Health leadership to provide direction and oversight for the needs assessment process and implementation of the plan.”

The new assessment will help to ensure that SMH is armed with the necessary information to successfully continue fulfilling its mission of Improving Health Through Christian Service.

“The assessment is the foundation for the community health plan,” said Metzler. “From this plan and the needs assessment data, we can monitor and measure the impact we have on the community as well as identify other organizations for collaboration and greater community impact.”

To learn more about the needs assessment at Shawnee Mission Health, visit