Shayla A. Sullivant, MD
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, University of Kansas School of MedicineFull Biography
Shayla Sullivant, MD, Developmental and Behavioral Health, was awarded a 1-year, $103,943 Funding and Services Contract from the Healthy Levy Innovation Fund. The funding comes from the city of Kansas City, MO.
Dr. Sullivant will use the funding for her “Prepped and Ready: Experts Edition” program. Prepped and Ready is designed to empower parents. The goal is to make homes safer for children with actionable changes that make a difference. Dr. Sullivant and her team have created a brief video series that parents can watch in under an hour. The series includes topics pertinent to raising adolescents, with the goal to attract all parents, not just those who consider their children at risk.
Dr. Sullivant explains that they would like to increase engagement in the Black community on this project, particularly given the rise in suicides among Black youth.
“We know that many barriers exist to participating, one being time. Feedback we have received from within the community emphasizes that group gatherings may help to decrease some barriers, and thus we plan to deliver the education through group viewings of the videos while providing childcare and a gift card,” she said.
The funding will be used to partner with trusted organizations, churches, and schools who are willing to host a viewing of the videos. The goal is for the videos to be shown during eight separate community viewings, with at least one showing in ever Council district, with approximately 50 attendees at each viewing.
Those who are raising kids up to 18 who participate in the research portion of the project, by completing brief online surveys before and after the videos, will receive a safety toolkit in the mail to help them enact safe storage practices. The toolkit is made up of a lockable medication storage box, four weekly medication organizers, a resealable bag with a travel size liquid dish soap bottle and instructions for safe disposal of medications, and a handout that describes the importance of making the recommended changes, as well as information guiding the participant on how to use the items. Firearm owners will also be provided a cable gun lock, as well as lockable gun box, as part of their toolkit.
Participation in the research portion of the program is not mandatory. Community members are welcome to attend the viewing without participating in the online surveys.
“Our program falls in line with the goal of improving public health capacity of residents in Kansas City, MO. It also supports efforts towards reducing violence in our community. Limiting access to firearms for youth can prevent suicides, homicides, and the preventable deaths of young children who find a gun,” said Dr. Sullivant. “Many of the health disparities we’re looking to address are related to racism that is structural in nature, that impacts how youth receive mental health treatment and diagnosis, for example. Reaching parents before a mental health diagnosis is documented is critical, given most who die by suicide are not in mental health treatment when they die.”