Over 150 health and civic leaders gathered to lead our community's united response to this call for action:

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls for a community-wide effort to recognize toxic stress as “a slow moving public health threat that can be tempered by a preventative approach aimed at developing and strengthening healthy relationships”.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry have issued a national crisis alert calling for action to prevent the serious toll on children’s mental health caused by toxic stress.

Left to right; first photo: Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw and Johnson County Chair Mike Kelly; middle photo: Overland Park Mayor Curt Skoog, Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Tyrone Garner, Johnson County Chair Mike Kelly, Johnson County Commissioners Jeff Meyers and Michael Ashcraft; third photo: Health and civic leaders launched RaisingKC at Johnson County Community College, streamed live by Fox4 News. Photo credit: Jill Ballard

Civic leaders from Missouri and Kansas, community advocates, education and business leaders and medical and behavioral health leaders across the metropolitan area joined together in this groundbreaking, historic public health campaign focused on the #1 way to prevent toxic stress in children. 

Why is that important? Because toxic stress is a root cause of so many urgent mental, behavioral and medical health crises of our time—a root cause of violence, bullying, drug addiction, anxiety, depression, suicide, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more.

Held at the Regnier Center at Johnson County Community College, the event featured a panel of local experts in news-making presentations about the problem, the solution and the action steps we can all take to build safe, stable, nurturing relationships that prevent toxic stress. 

Presenters included:

  • Stephen Lauer, MD, PhD, Division Director Pediatrics Children’s Mercy; Assoc. Chair Pediatrics University of Kansas Health System
  • Clarice Podrebarac, Executive Director PACES, Wyandot Behavioral Health Network
  • Rochelle DePriest, LCSW, MPA, Program Liaison, Community Mental Health Fund
  • Vladimir Sainte, LCSW, Senior Project Coordinator, University Health
  • Roy Jensen, MD, Director of University of Kansas Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Michelle Kelly, Director, Blue Valley Parents as Teachers

Watch Official Proclamations declaring June as RaisingKC Month!

Presenters and Campaign team, left to right: Kate Allen, Steve Lauer, Sondra Wallace, Vladimir Sainte, Clarice Podrebarac, Michelle Kelly, Rochelle DePriest, Roy Jensen and Barbara Unell. Photo: Jill Ballard

Who is behind this work? A team of caring volunteers from the Raised with Love and Limits Foundation, a national nonprofit in KC. This organization is leading an amazing bi-state, collaborative public health consortium, which has come together to launch this campaign, a campaign that belongs to all of us.