By Lauren Beatty | April 22, 2020

Our work here at the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas is collaborative in nature. We’re just a small staff of four people, but with valuable input and support from our 80+ Coalition partners, we are able to better advocate for policies that ensure all Kansans are able to live their healthiest lives.

Convening those partners on a regular basis and meeting with health care consumers around the state are key to the Alliance’s mission. We spend quite a bit of time on the road in between legislative sessions, hosting community forums where we provide updates from the Capital and share information about the Alliance and our advocacy on Medicaid expansion.

So naturally we had to scramble to develop a new plan of action when it became clear that the COVID-19 crisis would prevent us from going about our business in the “normal” way.

We knew that our grassroots network, even while staying home, was still interested in advocacy. So we were determined to continue facilitating learning and networking opportunities—but online rather than in-person to ensure everyone’s safety.

So far, it’s going well. We have hosted three Facebook Live town halls (and only ran into tech issues once—a win!). Our first focused on the impact of the pandemic on public health and how Medicaid expansion can help more Kansans access health care. We also invited some of our partners—Tawny Stottlemire of Community Action Inc.; Denise Cyzman of Community Care Network of Kansas; and Amy Falk of Health Partnership Clinic—to join us for discussions on their work to help Kansans in need. Our next virtual town hall will be on April 29 with our partner Jami Reaver of Kansas Appleseed, who will share with us the impact of food and housing insecurity on health.

We hope that you will join us each week as we continue this series of live forums. You can also catch up on past town halls here. We are so grateful for our Coalition partners and for all of you for sticking with us and sharing your stories as we all attempt to navigate a new normal. Working together is the best way to get things done—and that’s true whether we’re gathering in person or through our computers.

Stay well, everyone.

Lauren Beatty is the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas’ communications director. Contact Lauren at lauren@expandkancare.com.