Healthy Outlook: Head back to school in good health

News and notes from Lawrence

photo by: Contributed and Journal-World File Photos

Journal-World Health news and notes for Aug. 12, 2018

I remember how I loved meandering through stores’ school supply aisles. My eyes would light up as I ran my fingers over sparkly pencil pouches; I adored the spiral-bound notebooks with kittens on their covers. Impractical? Maybe, but oh, how I loved them.

But that was last year, and I like to think I have more self-control nowadays. Plus, I already bought the set of 120 gel pens, and a handful of them still have ink left.

School will be starting up this week for local kiddos, and I have plenty of health news and notes to share from my trapper keeper.

Add to your list: Immunizations

Don’t forget to add “disease prevention” to your shopping lists.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is taking the opportunity to remind folks that throughout childhood, and through their young adult years, kids still need a variety of shots.

LDCHD has the school immunization requirements and a lot of other information available online at Appointments are not necessary for vaccinations at the health department, and parents are encouraged to bring immunizations records.

The health department also participates in the Vaccines for Children Program, which means uninsured kids, and kids whose insurance doesn’t cover immunizations, can get their shots for free if parents bring proof from the insurance company.

Stress kills, too

Although it may not be a disease in the traditional sense, stress causes all kinds of physical and mental health problems. One local practitioner is using a very different type of needle to help combat that problem. (OK, I’ll admit that metaphor was stretched a bit.)

photo by: Jason Dailey/Contributed Photo

This contributed photo shows Lawrence acupuncturist Julie Bear Don’t Walk, front and center, at her clinic at 515 Rockledge Road. Behind her are Elizabeth Runyan, office assistant, at left, and Office Manager Victoria Schmidt.

Lawrence acupuncturist Julie Bear Don’t Walk is offering free 30-minute stress-reduction mini treatments and goodie bags for educators of all kinds through Sept. 30. This deal is aimed at back-to-school stress, but she offered similar relief after the 2016 election, the Journal-World reported at the time.

The practice uses hair-thin needles on particular points of the body to relieve pain or cure illness, according to her website.

Educators can make appointments for the free sessions by calling or texting 773-991-9455, emailing or going online to Her office is at 515 Rockledge Road in Lawrence.

Friendly Smiles to expand

The Douglas County Dental Clinic takes dental services directly to kids in need in more than 50 schools in seven Kansas counties, according to a news release from the organization. That number will likely increase this year.

photo by: Raymond Munoz/Contributed Photo

Douglas County Dental Clinic Executive Director Julie Branstrom, left, and Shannon VanLandingham, of Lawrence, stand next to the clinic’s new Friendly Smiles Dental Outreach Program van in August of 2018. A foundation in the name of VanLandingham’s daughter — #BeMoreLikeClaire Fund — provided the grant that made the van possible.

A van wrapped in the clinic’s logo transports a mobile team of dental hygienists, dental assistants and a dentist straight to underserved kids. Through a grant from the #BeMoreLikeClaire Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation, the Friendly Smiles Dental Outreach Program was able to purchase a second van.

The new foundation was launched to carry on the legacy of Lt. Dr. Claire VanLandingham, a Navy dentist who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, who then took his own life, on Jan. 3.

“Claire believed that quality health and dental care should be available to all,” her mother Shannon VanLandingham, of Lawrence, said in a news release. “Granting funds to purchase the Friendly Smiles van is the perfect way to kick off this new project and to carry on Claire’s legacy.”

photo by: Contributed Image

Lt. Dr. Claire Elizabeth VanLandingham

Julie Branstrom, executive director of DCDC, said in the news release that some of the kids the program serves have gone without dental care for years. Taking care straight to the kids at school eliminates the hassle of parents missing work and kids missing so much class time for appointments.

“Some of them have been suffering with dental pain which has caused them to have difficulty eating, concentrating in school and has even made some self-conscious of their smile,” Branstrom said in the release.

Ask your child’s school nurse, call DCDC at 785-312-7770 ext. 206 or email to find out about availability of services. For more information about Claire and the new fund in her memory, visit

Share your thoughts: Meeting coming up

The next Community Health Planning Meeting to help shape LiveWell Douglas County’s next five-year plan is coming up this Friday.

photo by: Ashley Hocking/Journal-World File Photo

The Community Health Facility, 200 Maine St., is shown in this Journal-World file photo from Jan. 26, 2018.

Free food and child care will be provided at the meeting, which will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17 in the second-floor meeting rooms of the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine St. Let Karrey Britt know if you need child care by emailing her at or calling 785-865-7362 by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

If you can’t make the meeting, you can share your priorities by taking a brief online survey at

About Healthy Outlook

Healthy Outlook is a column written by Journal-World reporter and Health section editor Mackenzie Clark, in hopes of helping readers make their lives a little bit happier, healthier and more active.

Have questions about the world of health and wellness in Lawrence, or a health story idea? Contact Mackenzie:

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