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MARC Head Start, Swope Health Services and the Excelsior Springs School District were recently awarded $20,000 in Phase 2 of the Building Bridges to Better Health: A Primary Health Care Challenge.

Phase 2 challenge awards provide funding for innovative technical solutions to enhance access to primary care and other services at Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) supported health centers that improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities. The MARC project is a community-based partnership leveraging the resources of MARC Head Start, Swope Health, Excelsior Springs School District and the Come On Now! app to increase access to and utilization of pediatric health care services.

“We are thrilled to receive another award in the HRSA Building Bridges to Better Health Challenge,” said Jovanna Rohs, director of MARC Head Start and Early Learning. “Lack of pediatric options, clinic locations and transportation have been contributing factors to gaps in primary care. The Come on Now! app allows us to engage with MARC Head Start families and allows them to reach out to a health care provider easily. The app provides a mechanism for the medical provider and the school district to connect to families to send invitations to health events and schedule and confirm patient appointments.”

MARC Head Start partnered with Swope Health and the Excelsior Springs School District during the 2022-2023 school year to deliver preventative and interventional health care services for children attending Head Start and pre-K students at the district’s Early Childhood Center. 

“The KidsCARE Early Childhood Health Care Services (ECHS) Program strives to ensure that each participating child and their family has an ongoing source of continuous, accessible health care in a primary care medical home and deploys a model that embeds and links health and family support into an early learning setting based upon a shared commitment between partners,” Rohs said.

In October 2022, the MARC Head Start program at Excelsior Springs received $11,100 in Phase 1 of the Building Bridges to Better Health: A Primary Health Care Challenge.

While other school-based health programs have been implemented, the KidsCARE ECHS project leverages existing resources to fully engage in partnership development, community and family engagement, and delivery of services. It also clearly defines roles and responsibilities with collaborative processes, provides space at a low- or no-cost lease with lower unfunded startup cost, and electronically links all partners in the KidsCARE ECHS program with family members in the Come On Now! app. 


Since 1965, Head Start programs have impacted the lives of millions of children and families nationwide.

In 2005, MARC Head Start was named the Head Start grantee for Clay, Platte and Jackson counties by the U.S. Administration for Children and Families. Today, MARC Head Start serves more than 2,400 infants, toddlers and preschoolers in Missouri.

“The MARC Head Start network provides comprehensive, high-quality early education that serves pregnant women and children birth-through-5. MARC Head Start programs facilitate healthy development including physical and social/emotional development and prepare children for school success,” said Kasey Lawson, interim director of MARC Early Learning and Head Start.

The MARC Head Start difference includes a network of providers and support agencies that work together to provide quality services effectively and efficiently to children and their families. Additional services include training for the early education workforce, mobile medical services to remove barriers to high-quality medical and dental care for children, technology and apps to better reach families, and family engagement activities.

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