Health Equity in Kansas City

Welcome to Multi-Cultural Initiatives in Kansas City (Kansas / Missouri)

What Do We Do?
The American Heart Association is dedicated to Fighting the factors that keep our communities unhealthy like Heart Disease and Stroke.
Think of it as leveling the playing field. We work to eliminate distractions like food deserts (areas that lack nutritional grocery markets), food swamps (areas with too much fast food), overcrowded clinics, lack of coverage and broken infrastructures.

Picture this… Would your life or the life of someone you love be different if:

  • You could always get healthy food at a good price; walk, bike or play anywhere you wanted and feel safe;
  • not worry about being tempted by high fat/high sodium food on every corner;
  • and visit the doctor for all the preventative and maintenance care you needed in a clean safe environment
  • without the worry of not being able to afford your care or medication?

Health equity efforts include executing projects that help build awareness of the prevalence of heart disease in minority communities and raise funding for scientific research to improve cardiovascular disease and stroke outcomes in minority communities.

Consider this... Missouri's Urgency for Changing the System
Cardiovascular Disease Burden:

  • Heart Disease continues to be the leading cause of death in   Missouri (14,210 in 2014 ; Heart Attack is 27.1% of all Heart Disease Deaths).  Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in US.
  • Stroke is the fifth cause of death in Missouri (3,010 in 2014).
  • Prevalence of hypertension in Missouri is 34.1% in the adult population and 37.9% in the African-American adults. (2015)

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Data:

Missouri’s prevalence of smoking, physical inactivity, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes are all higher than the U.S.

Missouri: Estimated Total Population = 6,028,076 including 4,621,582 18 and older.  76.7 percent
White = 4,991,914 Black or AA = 695,813 Hispanic = 226,388
White: 82.8 % Black or African-American: 11.5 % Hispanic:  3.8 %
2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Prevalence of hypertension in Missouri is 34.1% in the adult population and 37.9% in the African-American adults. (2015 BRFSS)
Estimated Total Over 18 With High Blood Pressure  = 1,575,959
Estimated Total of AA with High Blood Pressure = 263,713

With your support and passion, the American Heart Association will continue saving lives and building stronger communities.
For more information or to sign up please contact Tru-Kechia Smith, (913) 652-1930, Health Equity Director in the Kansas City office.

Become a ETS Ambassador Today!  Online sign-up      Download form
Follow the easy steps below to complete the Power Ambassador training.

  • Take the Power Ambassador Orientation
  • Join the You're the Cure Network
  • Learn more about AHA/ASA causes and initiatives (Pick 2)

    —  My Life Check and Life's Simple 7

  • Participate in Power To End Stroke Activities
    —  Start a Power Walk Team
    —  Host a Have Faith in Heart Sunday
    —  Power Sundays during American Stroke Month (May)
    —  Advocacy work in support of issues such as nutritional school lunches and public health funding
    —  Activating the power of social media to create health and healthcare change.

How can you make your neighborhood healthier? Try this interactive game.
Our work takes place in churches, schools, social/fraternal organizations, community groups and organizations, family reunions, barber shops, beauty salons and wherever people can benefit from our efforts to inspire and support healthier living.


Check. Change. Control

Are you one of the approximately 78 million people in the United States who has high blood pressure? Do you have a family history of it? Known also as the silent killer or hypertension, high blood pressure typically has no symptoms but can lead to deadly health consequences such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. Some populations are more at risk of developing hypertension than others. Despite how widespread it is and damaging it can be, high blood pressure is still unknown, misunderstood or ignored by many people. For that reason, a scientific study was developed to see if a multi-disciplinary, community-wide program could be effective in improving blood pressure results in its participants. The answer is "yes".

Join the movement…
Based on the positive results of Check. Change. Control. is rolling out throughout the Greater Kansas City community. This program empowers people to learn about, monitor and manage their blood pressures through a combination of resources.  Let us help you achieve your goal and join Check. Change. Control. 

If you have any questions feel free to reach out An American Heart Association staff member or program representative will then contact you regarding next steps.

Kansas City Empowered To Serve 

EmPOWERED To Serve (ETS) exists to improve health within multicultural communities. Community can be defined in many ways and EmPOWERED To Serve embraces that.

You may consider your extended family, neighborhood, or church your community. It may be your apartment complex, school, or the city or social organizations in which you participate.

EmPOWERED To Serve has something for everyone looking to improve their health and make an impact on health within their communities.

Learn more in the ETS Overview  
Empowered to Serve Logo
Learn how your organization can become a partner in ETS and help create a culture of health in our community.

It begins with an community assessment at

The American Heart Association’s Healthy Community Food and Beverage Toolkit was created to help organizations improve their food environment and promote a culture of health. It provides practical action steps and suggestions that are easy to understand and apply. 

Skip the Salt help the heart
Printable Health Information Fact Sheets