Bourbon County Community Health Workers: Addressing Health Inequalities

Left to right: Lindsey McNeil, Community Health Worker, and Lisa Robertson, Community Health Worker. Submitted photo.

The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team (HBCAT) contracted with Kansas University Medical Center to implement the  Communities Organizing to Promote Equity, (COPE Grant) program and hired Community Health Workers.

One of the workers, Lindsey McNeil,  was hired in partnership with KU Medical Center, and one, Lisa Robertson,  in partnership with the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas. They are housed in the HBCAT office, on 104 North National Avenue in Fort Scott. They are also part of a coalition, Local Health Equity Action Team (LHEAT), that helps develop strategies to address health inequities in our area.

“Equity looks different for us all,” said Robertson. “We serve others without judgment and want better for them and for them to live their best life.”

“We have been able to help about 400 clients with their specific needs,” said McNeil.  “We have helped house over 40 people, including nine of our chronically homeless individuals. Through our LHEAT we have been able to bring FREE public transportation to the county (BB-Go), we have partnered with two different local laundry mats to bring FREE laundry programs to the county, and we have helped fund multiple other things with partner organizations like CORE, First United Methodist Church, etc.

McNeil has been a Bourbon County Community Health Worker,  serving residents, since October 2022.

She is paid by KU Medical Center, through the COPE Grant, which is a grant through the Center for Disease Control (U.S. Government) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Robertson has been a social worker for 29 years and employed through the grant, since March 2022.

“We link individuals to needed services in the community such as Kansas Works for a job, local housing resources, medical and mental health providers, transportation providers the Department of Children’s and Families for SNAP Benefit or application for Medicaid,” Robertson said. “We help them get access to clothing, blankets, utility resources, food pantries and hot meals through Feeding Families in HIS Name.”

“I truly have a passion for doing this work,”  Robertson said. “It is not an 8-5 job that you just walk away from. You think of things in the middle of the night that may help someone so you make yourself a note or text your co-worker so you don’t forget to run an idea by them. It takes teamwork. I go to garage sales or thrift stores and buy something because I know someone can use it.”

“We have amazing Community Partners that without them we could not do our jobs,” Robertson said. “Our partners help us when we need help or resources. We are blessed to live in a community that works together for the benefit of others.”

The following are excerpts from two testimonials by people helped through this program: 

“They helped me find a place to live when I was facing homelessness again and connected me with resources such as SNAP, the Beacon and HCBS services.​

“They have walked alongside me and supported me in my sobriety journey and have helped connect me to other people who are fighting the same battles as me.​” ~Kelly

” I suffered a brain aneurysm and was put into a coma for my safety. By the grace of God, I survived. I woke up to a divorce, no home, and I had to start over. ​

“I had to relearn to read, write and try to make it…. I had nowhere to go, no job and no means of transportation. I found a hotel that worked with me and my service dog… I was able to find a job at Walmart. I still had no transportation, so I walked everywhere.” ​

“God put those CHWs in my life…They helped me look for a place, took me to doctor appointments and gave me rides wherever needed, and they have been huge supports in my life. With their help, I am back on my feet with a place to live and I am currently working on getting a vehicle. I appreciate them for all they do!” ​     ~ T.

“The COPE grant was established in 2021 and was meant to only be around for 2 years,”  McNeil said. “It was originally supposed to end in June of 2023. However, the grant was able to be extended until May of this year. Our grant officially ends on May 31st, 2024, so we are desperately seeking ways to continue funding the CHW positions in Bourbon County.”

To contact

Lindsey McNeil,

Cell: (620)952-3966

[email protected]\


Lisa Robertson

[email protected]

(620) 687-2782

Left to right: Lindsey McNeil, Community Health Worker, Rachel Carpenter, Executive Director of Healthy Bourbon County Action Team and LHEAT Lead and Lisa Robertson, Community Health worker. Submitted photo.



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