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Jasper County CASA swears in more volunteers

From Jasper County CASA

Jasper County CASA swore in 8 community members as Court Appointed Special Advocates. The volunteers completed CASA’s 30-hour pre-service training. “CASAs” work with children in foster care by advocating for them and ensuring their best-interests are being met. CASAs meet with kids twice a month and develop a meaningful relationship. They voice the children’s wants and needs to Caseworkers, Juvenile Officers, Judges, Guardians-Ad-Litem, etc.

If you have just 10 hours a month you can make a life changing difference for a child in foster care. CASA will start their next training class in January 2022 for any community member who has a passion for helping children, is over 21, and can pass a background check. If you are interested in becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate but want to know more, please visit jascocasa.org/events to sign up for a 30-minute info session where you can learn about their organization and have your questions answered.

Jasper County CASA is a nonprofit organization that provides trained volunteers who advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children.

There is a child in need waiting for you. Volunteer as a child advocate or donate today. For more ways you can help, visit jascocasa.org or email us at alana@jascocasa.org.

Three brothers work to find best way to deliver cancer fighting drugs

From Pittsburg State University

When Paul Worsley was a child, a university professor asked him if he added salt to water, if it would make it more conductive. He didn’t know how to answer.

Now, he’s a biology pre-med major and the lead researcher for a project that seeks to find a better way to deliver cancer fighting drugs.

And his twin brothers Adam and Caleb, a biochemistry major and a cellular and molecular biology major, are part of his team.

The Worsley brothers grew up in Pittsburg, attending George Nettels Elementary School, Pittsburg Community Middle School, and Pittsburg High School, where all three were active in tennis, in HOSA (Health Occupations Student Association) and excelled academically.

Paul was inspired by high school teacher Jim Foresman (BSEd ‘86, MS ‘93).

“I took all three of his health science courses,” he said, “and went on to qualify for nationals in medical math twice.”

Adam and Caleb were inspired by high school teachers Stuart Perez (BSEd ‘99) and Sally Ricker; they, too, took health science classes and enjoyed them.

These days, you’ll find the Worsley brothers in a lab on the first floor of Heckert-Wells at Pittsburg State, home to the Chemistry and Biology departments, where they’re completing tedious and methodical steps in hopes of using biocompatible polymers as drug delivery systems.

Seven years ago, Paul’s mentor, Associate Professor Santimukul Santra, began conducting research there on the use of polymeric and iron oxide nanotheranostics as a way to deliver life-saving anti-cancer drugs throughout a patients’ body.

“We’re taking monomers — something you can buy — then modify them and connect them,” Paul explained as he and his brothers got to work one afternoon in the lab. “They are small molecules that contain carbon and oxygen that when they bond together they form polymers. Polymers are what we want.”

Inside each polymer, they can put a cancer therapy drug that can kill cancer cells. On the outside, they can put receptor targeting molecules to which cancer cells will connect.

“We’re creating a vehicle, a very teeny-tiny particle, known as nanoparticle or nanomedicine,” Paul said, “and we’re trying to develop the best one possible. We want it water dispersible so it will be easier to absorb.”

The brothers must complete all synthetic steps in a fume hood and a valuable, complicated piece of machinery called a CombiFlash NextGen 300+ to purify all the functional monomers.

A grant from K-INBRE — the Kansas Institutional Development Award Network of Biomedical Research Excellence — is helping to fund the expensive piece of equipment.

“Say we want to make the final Monomer No. 3,” Worsley explained. “We buy Monomer No. 1. We chemically modify it a little bit with a reaction to get Monomer No 2. After this, we can’t go straight to Monomer No. 3, because some of Monomer No. 1 is left over. We purify Monomer No. 2 (therefore removing unreacted Monomer No. 1) to make sure the next reaction will result in Monomer No. 3 and not have any side reactions.”

“It’s like evolution, and we get a different generation each time,” he said.

And when each functional monomers and polymer are complete, they analyze it with Santra.

“How can we make it better? What techniques do we refine?” Paul said.

Soon, they’ll do cancer cell culturing to test the synthesized nanomedicines.

“We’ll actually grow various cancer cells,” Caleb said. “There are live ones upstairs in the Biology Department, frozen in liquid nitrogen. We’ll grow them. Then, we put the chemotherapy drug in the polymer as a result of nanoformulation and test it.”

With time and patience, by January the brothers hope to have results they’ll be proud to share at a prestigious statewide health science conference under the direction of K-INBRE.

K-INBRE is designed to inspire undergraduate researchers to pursue careers in biomedical research; the Worsley brothers’ are among 14 students at Pittsburg State to be named K-INBRE Student Scholars.

Document Shred Event set for November 20 for area residents

From the city of Joplin

Many people may have personal papers that are no longer needed and are cluttering their house, but fear of identity theft prevents some people from trashing or recycling these sensitive documents.

To help with this issue, a Paper Shredding Event is set for Saturday, November 20. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Joplin Recycling Center, 1310 West A Street.

During this unique opportunity, large amounts of paper can be shredded quickly at no cost to area residents. The document shredding company, Midwest Fibre, will have their mobile shred truck at the Center. This event is free and open to all residents.

The event is sponsored by the Region M Solid Waste Management District, Joplin Recycling Department, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Identity theft resulting from items stolen from the trash or curbside recycling bins is the easiest type of crime to prevent. By completely shredding documents, receipts, address labels, or pieces of paper with identifying information like account numbers, you can stop identity theft. But simply ripping an item a few times by hand is not sufficient! Identity thieves will spend hours putting ripped documents back together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Types of items identity thieves seek include:

• Expired credit and debit cards.

• Credit and debit card receipts.

• Unused credit card checks.

• Credit card statements.

• Canceled checks.

• Investment account statements.

• Pension account statements.

• Paycheck stubs.

• Wage and earnings statements.

• Phone and utility bills.

• Retail invoices and statements.

• Tax returns and statements.

• Medical bills.

• Insurance claim information.

• Checking and savings account statements.

• Pre-approved credit card offers and applications.

• Insurance policy information (auto, health, life).

• Expired identification documents (driver’s licenses and passports).

If residents fear they have been a victim of identity theft, they should contact their local law enforcement agency.

If unable to attend this event, the Joplin Recycling Center has a paper document destruction service on site throughout the year.

The Center utilizes three locked 96-gallon containers that are switched out with empty containers on a weekly basis by CRC Shredding. The process is self-serve—patrons can drop approximately 200 pages at a time through the restricted opening on the container. This service is no cost to patrons. All paper is shredded, mixed with other non-sensitive shredded paper, pulped, and then used in the manufacture of products such as egg cartons.

The Center is open Tuesday and Thursday from Noon to 6 p.m. and Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, contact Lindsey James, Joplin Recycling Coordinator at 417-624-0820, extension 1501 or Patty Overman, Region M District Planner, at 417-625-6626.

Missouri Community Service Commission launches Show Me Service campaign, online search tool to encourage volunteerism statewide

From Missouri Community Service Commission

The Missouri Community Service Commission (MCSC), in partnership with the Missouri Broadcasters Association, announced the launch of the Show Me Service campaign to promote volunteerism statewide. In addition to TV, radio, and social media advertising, the campaign includes an online volunteer opportunity search portal.

“Last year, more than 1.5 million Missourians volunteered in their community, for an estimated economic impact of nearly $3.5 billion,” said Scott McFarland, Executive Director of MCSC. “While transformative for communities, this was just 31.9 percent of us volunteering. Imagine a Missouri where everyone recognizes they can give back.”

The new Show Me Service volunteer search tool connects would-be volunteers with local organizations who need their help, whether in-person or virtually. Organizations seeking volunteers can easily create an account to post ongoing needs, events, and service opportunities.

MCSC promotes community service through their Volunteer of the Week program, which features weekly stories on the efforts of volunteers statewide. Missourians can also visit ShowMeService.org to nominate volunteers, take the Bicentennial Community Service Challenge, and find ways to serve.

For assistance with the new search portal, MCSC staff can be reached via email at mcsc@ded.mo.gov.

KU-CHC/SEK Rural Family Medicine Residency receives ACGME initial accreditation

From Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has approved the KU-CHC/SEK Rural Family Medicine Residency, completing the final step to becoming a place to grow and retain the next generation of rural family physicians.

“We are excited to begin the residency program,” said Reta Baker, CHC/SEK vice president of clinical education. “Southeast Kansas has a need for more physicians and certainly welcome them to our community.”

The rural family medicine residency is a collaborative initiative between the University Of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) in Kansas City, Kansas, and the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) in Pittsburg. Applications for the residency will be accepted in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), and should be available by Nov. 10.

By selecting this residency experience the learning and training environments will provide the best of two worlds; urban and rural. Year one residents will be based at the KU academic medical center in Kansas City, Kansas. The curriculum will provide experience in an academic institution providing a solid foundation in preparation for the transition to rural training in years two and three.

The primary residency site for rural training will be with the FQHC of CHC/SEK. All of the resources needed for this underserved rural community will be found under one roof along with the Residency Continuity Clinic. Residents will also train at Pittsburg’s Ascension Via Christi Hospital to learn care of the acute patient in a rural setting.

Unique benefits and features of the FQHC based residency experience include but are not limited to: learning to manage complex care patients and access specialty care and consultation from a rural environment; being the only residency in the community eliminates competition for procedures and experiences as well as focused support and attention from faculty, and access to a multidisciplinary team on-site to immediately address your patients’ needs may include but not be limited to such services as; dental, behavioral health, wellness, diagnostics, population health, community health worker and care management to name some.

“Having a Family Medicine residency in Pittsburg has been a dream for many years and we are thrilled to see it become a reality,” Associate Program Director Bethany Enoch, MD, said. “Training excellent family doctors has been my passion for a long time, and the ability to do it in southeast Kansas where these physicians are so needed will be another great step toward excellent health for all of us in southeast Kansas.”

To learn more about the residency program people can visit its website at chcsekresidency.org.

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