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APS Mental Health Series Part 1: Socioeconomics & Trauma

6:00 PM
Webinar via Zoom

APS Mental Health Series Part 1: Socioeconomics & Trauma

6:00 PM
Webinar via Zoom

The issues surrounding mental health and well-being in our modern world and in our unique community are complex. Further complicating these issues is the fact that discussion of mental health is often considered taboo.

Mental health is important to the overall health of our community, BUT if we can’t openly talk about the issues that affect our well-being, how can we hope to adequately support the needs of our community, particularly in a time of crisis?

Join American Public Square at Jewell for a three-part virtual series this summer, From Resistance to Resilience: The Mental Health of KC Residents, where we will explore the root causes of mental illness in our community and how we can find ways to meaningfully address them.

We will bring together leading experts and practitioners, and KC residents invested in the health and well-being of our community to explore mental health through three distinct lenses:

Socioeconomics and Trauma

Trauma: The Invisible Injury – Traumatic events are experienced across all classes of people, but does socioeconomic status change the impact of the experience? Is living in poverty traumatic in and of itself, and how does poverty contribute to individual and/or collective trauma? Join American Public Square as we explore the relationship between socioeconomic status and trauma responses.



Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter has worked in the education field for more than two decades. For the past 14 years he has served in senior level administrative roles. Dr. Carpenter has served as superintendent of schools in urban and suburban districts.  In addition to the superintendency, Dr. Carpenter has served as deputy superintendent for operations, associate superintendent for human resources and assistant superintendent for support services in rural, suburban and urban settings. Dr. Carpenter has also worked as an elementary principal, middle school assistant principal and elementary school classroom teacher.

Dr. Carpenter is the youngest of six siblings and he was the first among them to earn a four-year college degree (Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, Georgia Southern University).  He finds joy in noting that after earning this degree, two older siblings went on to earn four year degrees. Dr. Carpenter went on to earn his master’s degree in educational leadership from Augusta State University, an education specialist degree and a doctorate degree in educational leadership and educational administration respectively, both from Georgia Southern University.

His national recognitions include the ASCD Emerging Leader Award and serving on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Education Research and Technology.  Other accolades include: South Kansas City Alliance Innovative Educational Program Award, Friend of the Council for Exceptional Children Award, and the Phi Beta Sigma Tau Beta Chapter Educator of the Year Award. Dr. Carpenter has been a presenter at numerous state and national conferences on topics such as STEM education, student achievement, digital equity, racial equity and parent/community involvement. In addition, Dr. Carpenter is a dedicated member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and has held leadership positions on many state and local boards.  Dr. Carpenter is married to Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter and they have two young children.

Pamela “Denise” Long, MS, is director of organizational development and applied research at Alive and Well Communities. Her work focuses on translating the principles of trauma informed care into internal organizational practices and internal/external organizational approaches to work life and service delivery. Her organizational writing and professional publications focus on shifting race-related narratives and implementing institutional racial equity/anti-racism. In 2012, due to her family experiencing education-related racialized toxic stress, Denise began her study of resilience/trauma, how people learn and unlearn racial socialization, and how racial socialization manifests in care relationships and institutional culture. She earned her Bachelor of Health Science in occupational therapy from Mizzou (1997) and a Master of Educational Psychology (learning and cognition) from University of North Texas (2015). Denise is a doctoral student of organizational leadership and development with a focus on PreK-12 executive leadership of institution-wide racial equity. She is intimately familiar with trauma and rural Black poverty having grown up in an out-house equipped tin roof shack in segregated Mississippi and accumulating an ACE score of 8.

Qiana Thomason, a life-long Kansas Citian, has dedicated her career to the improvement of health and wellness across the region, with a special focus on communities with significant health disparities and those living in marginalized conditions. Thomason serves as the president and CEO of Health Forward. By focusing on people most in need, Health Forward works through partnership and advocacy to transform communities so everyone has a fair and just opportunity for better health. Thomason currently serves on the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Health Commission, is a board trustee for William Jewel College, and is a board member of ArtsKC. She received her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Florida A&M University and has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kansas. Thomason came to Health Forward from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC), where she most recently served as vice president of community health. During her tenure at Blue KC, she spearheaded development and implementation of new care delivery and payment models in partnership with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and primary care providers throughout Kansas City. She was also a successful champion for the inclusion of health equity and the social determinants of health in Blue KC’s corporate strategy. Prior to her tenure at Blue KC, Thomason spent eight years at Swope Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center, as program manager of a multi-municipality Mental Health Court and as the director of clinical operations, behavioral health. Qiana also served as deputy director and health and human services liaison for United States Senator Jean Carnahan.

Danielle S. Jackson, MD MPH, Bio coming soon.


Jana Calkins is Assistant News Director at FOX4 News, WDAF-TV in Kansas City, MO. She brings more than 25 years of experience in the broadcast and digital news media industry — from news writing, to breaking news and field production, strategic planning, recruiting and coaching, plus digital/social media and brand management. Jana is the management lead for FOX4’s You Matter campaign to promote mental wellness and suicide prevention. She produced a mental health special in March, “Coping With Coronavirus,” designed to help people navigate the mental wellness challenges that came with the global health crisis. She also is a 3rd year member of the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Jana is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas and also attended the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. Jana lives in Olathe, Kansas with her husband Troy, their teenagers Evan and Claire, and their rescue dogs, Milo and Astro.

This program is generously supported by: