Suzanne Gladney with Legal Aid of Western Missouri Receives 2012 Healthy Lafayette Award

Date: October 1, 2012
Contact: Jennifer Sykes
Phone: 816-241-7006
KANSAS CITY, MO – The Health Forward Foundation (Health Forward) is pleased to announce Suzanne Gladney as the 2012 recipient of the Healthy Lafayette Award. Gladney founded the Migrant Farmworkers Project to help migrant farmworkers in Lafayette County gain access to essential services including quality health and dental care.

The Healthy Lafayette Award is awarded to an individuals and or agency that work toward promoting quality health among the uninsured and underserved in Lafayette County.

Gladney joined Legal Aid of Western Missouri in 1976 and serves now as the West Office Managing Attorney. She quickly noticed many rural clients were migrant farmworkers who came to the area to work in the apple orchards of Lafayette County. To address the lack of services, Gladney founded the Migrant Farmworkers Project (MFP) in 1984. Initially the program provided weekly health and dental services by volunteer providers who worked in the basement of an area school. Gladney worked with the Samuel U. Rodgers Community Health Center in Kansas City to open a satellite clinic in Lexington to provide services to the migrant and wider Lafayette County community patients. Today, MFP provides case management services for over 600 appointments annually for farmworkers and their families.

The Migrant Farmworkers Project services include:

Arranging health and dental health care on a income-based sliding fee scale
Assistance in making appointments
Transportation services
Interpretation services
Hygiene and sun-care kits
Culturally competent health and nutrition education
“The community of workers and families value their time in Lafayette County and rely on the health services that are often unavailable to them in other picking locations,” said Gladney.

“The migrant farmworkers and families arrived in Lafayette County earlier this summer because of the high temperatures. The apple picking began in late July and packing sheds opened in early August. We’ve been out in the labor camps with sun-kits and sun and heat safety information as our staff make outreach visits to identify a variety of needs.”

In the nomination for Gladney, Kelley Carpenter said “Today, under Gladney’s daily guidance, MFP continues to identify and address healthcare issues among Lafayette County’s migrant farmworkers and the approximately 180 former migrants who now permanently live in the area. MFP staff visits the orchards each fall to meet the 300-500 arriving migrants and identify their healthcare needs. We believe her dedication to the health of the underserved and uninsured in Lafayette County, Missouri makes her very deserving of this honor.”

Each nomination was reviewed by a panel of judges representing the Health Forward Board of Directors, the Health Forward Community Advisory Committee and Health Forward Associates. The judges developed a point system to measure the nominee’s level of involvement in health improvement activities and the impact of the activities. Nominations were judged on whether the nominee helped the uninsured and underserved through an initiative, actively influencing public policies, participating or planning events and working or volunteering to help individuals and families to lead healthier lives.

“Through the Healthy Lafayette award, the Health Care Foundation recognizes and acknowledges all of those in Lafayette County who are actively helping the uninsured and underserved lead healthier lives. We are privileged this year to honor Suzanne Gladney with this award.
Suzanne has worked for nearly 30 years to improve the health of people in rural Lafayette County and is most deserving of this honor” said Steve Roling, Health Forward President/CEO.

Other nominees included Toniann Richard, the University of Missouri Extension, Kathy Rehmsmeyer, Missouri Valley Community Action Agency and Jamey Onnen, DDS.