With the 25th anniversary of her start with the Health Department in November, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Sue McDaneld reflects on two things that have kept her here: the mission and the people.
“I’ve loved the agency and its focus on providing health services to individuals who might not otherwise be able to access them at all,” Sue said. “And I like working with the staff that is dedicated to that principle of making health care accessible. There have been so many wonderful people on the staff over the years.”
When she started on Nov. 28, 1994, as a nurse practitioner in Family Planning with the Health Department, Sue came from nine years at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment where she was an advanced practice registered nurse there her final three years, after earning her master’s degree in women’s health from the University of Kansas Medical Center.
In reflecting upon her 25 years here, she sees one highlight as moving from a wing of Lawrence Memorial Hospital in 1999 into the current Community Health Facility, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
“I’ve seen us move from a very old wing of the hospital into a wonderful new building,” Sue said. “That was a change that kind of let the community know how important their public health services were.”
She also values the clients she has been able to work with over the years in offering women’s health services and the department’s STD clinic, and she also enjoys engagement opportunities to speak or teach in the community.
“I do like helping people who are trying to meet their health needs with a lot of limitation to how they can do that and often they don’t know where the resources to do that are,” Sue said.
The 2018 Health Equity report health detailed disparities in Douglas County among several health outcomes by race, socioeconomic status, geographic location and other factors, and the current Douglas County Community Health Plan included applying a lens of health equity to all four strategic areas of the plan.
“My own personal principle is everyone who walks int the door deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” Sue said. “I think socioeconomic status has been a big factor in why health care has been difficult for a lot of people to attain, and I think us being a part of that efforts to provide services has been really important over time.”
She sees future challenges for the Health Department as figuring out ways to keep our services accessible and affordable, including in family planning and women’s health services.
“It is highly important to Sue that women have access to not only family planning services but total wellness care. To this end she has worked hard to stay up to date on all current guidelines for women’s health and shared that knowledge to staff,” said Clinic Supervisor Kathy Colson, who started about two years after Sue. “I have said before she is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ on women’s health issues.”
Sue also is a contributing editor to the Family Planning and Reproductive Health Manual for the state of Kansas. In 2008, she received the first Kay Kent Excellence in Public Health Service Award at the Health Department, and she said realizes many of her longtime colleagues have moved on.
“There are a lot more newer faces here than old faces, but that’s OK,” she said. “That has to happen to keep our agency moving forward, having those new thoughts.”