October 22, 2021
Kansas City, Kan. — Blanca Menendez, pediatrics’ patient educator at our main campus in Kansas City, has been named 2021 Parent Educator of the Year.
The award, from the Parents as Teachers National Center, recognizes Menendez’ efforts to support, educate and encourage parents and children toward better health, regardless of their disadvantaged circumstances.
Menendez was nominated by her employer, Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, with supporting letters from pediatric clinicians. Though she works for the school district, she is assigned to our health system and has been part of our organization since 2018.
She works closely with staff and providers in pediatrics – which sees nearly 20,000 children annually across several clinics – as well as patients, families and various school districts throughout the Kansas City metro.
Menendez meets families during healthcare visits to provide education and support. She also coordinates referrals to infant, toddler and preschooler developmental services, makes home visits for families with limited literacy skills who need help with forms and aids parents in accessing services for children who have developmental needs.
Michael Lewis, MD, FAAP, pediatrics division chief, says Menendez’ role has become more pivotal during the pandemic, as children miss well-child visits and leave structured childcare programs, putting them at greater risk.
“Our whole team is comforted to know when they reach out to Blanca that her instant response is, ‘Can I come talk to that family now?’” says Dr. Lewis. “Hearing her talk about the success of families shows this isn’t just a job for her. It’s truly a calling.”