Centerpoint Medical Center—part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s leading healthcare providers—established a relationship with Thomas Hart Benton Elementary School in 2012. Cardiovascular Service Director Michelle Meyer led the collaboration, in conjunction with the Character Plus program in honor of the late Dr. Robert Clothier, a pediatrician, church leader, Independence City councilman and Independence School Board member whose life exemplified positive character, vision and values.  Each year since students visit the hospital for various educational opportunities, including the popular Heart-Healthy Day.

This year students, along with members of the Missouri Mavericks, will have the opportunity to rotate through stations that will provide hands-on education and orient them to living a healthy lifestyle and making healthy choices, including healthy heart activities and food and how it relates to the anatomy and health of their own hearts.  In addition, students will also have opportunities to see inside the diagnostic procedures of examining the heart by considering blood pressure, heart rate and even echocardiography.

Brent Thiessen, general manager of the Missouri Mavericks, notes the Mavericks’ community involvement with Centerpoint throughout the year, and especially school age kids, is integral to the team’s mission.

“Every chance we have to partner with the physicians and staff at Centerpoint Medical Center to help kids live better, healthier lives, is a win-win,” Thiessen says.  “We’re grateful to work alongside Jackson County’s premier healthcare provider so kids can live full and productive lives and promote overall health and wellness to the community.”

The student and players’ experience culminates to learn more about genetic lipid disorders from cardiologist, Carl Dr. Akin, M.D., FACC.  New guidelines recommend screening in pediatric patients whose parents have lipid disorders.

“Cardiovascular disease, or CVD, is a leading cause of death among adults in the United States and to improve the cardiovascular health of the U.S. population, it is now encouraged to screen children and adolescents for risk factors associated with CVD, including abnormal blood cholesterol levels,” Dr. Akin says. “This applies especially to kids whose parents have CVD.”