Ruth Ramsey, publisher of Our Health MattersTM received the 2021 Friend of Medicine Award from the Kansas City Medical Society, the association of physicians across greater Kansas City. The Friend of Medicine Award recognizes a non-physician for outstanding service to medicine.
“Since 2005, Our Health Matters has provided valuable preventive health information to a wide audience representing the diversity of Kansas City,” said Scott Kujath, MD, FSVS, FACS, Medical Society president. “Our Health Matters works to improve health literacy and empower people to take charge of their health. More people are taking better care of themselves as a result of the information they gain from Our Health Matters.”
The award was presented at the Medical Society’s 2021 annual meeting, held October 26. More than 100 area physicians and guests attended the event, the Society’s first in-person gathering since the start of the pandemic. Masking protocols were followed.
Back in the early 2000s, Ruth Ramsey became more keenly aware of the sharp health disparities facing African Americans and other minorities through the experiences of family members and her business clients. The evidence was strong about how hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancer and other diseases are much more prevalent among Blacks. If only people had more understanding about how to take care of themselves and get preventive screenings, she thought, that could make a huge difference and keep more people healthy.
Thus was born the idea of starting a health magazine—one that is visually appealing, easy-to-read and packed with valuable health advice. And, what’s more amazing is the magazine would be made available at no cost to readers. Our Health Matters magazine was launched in 2005.
Sixteen years later, some 15,000 copies of Our Health Matters are distributed five times a year throughout greater Kansas City, mostly through more than 100 free pickup stands at area CVS pharmacies, hospitals, grocery stores, community centers and other sites. More than 4,000 copies are mailed each issue, and thousands more people read Our Health Matters online.
For her contributions to health in greater Kansas City, Ramsey has been chosen to receive the 2021 KCMS Friend of Medicine Award.
She described the editorial profile of Our Health Matters: “We focus on improving health literacy and encourage our audience to adopt a healthier lifestyle. In every edition, we provide critical information to our readers while highlighting local healthcare providers.”
Topics covered in recent editions of Our Health Matters include current trends in cancer treatment and the importance of early diagnosis, how a patient-centered care team improves health outcomes, the science behind COVID-19 vaccines, better sleep health and much more. Content is shaped to reach a diverse audience reflecting the Kansas City community racially, ethnically, culturally and socioeconomically.
She reflected on the impact of Our Health Matters: “We have helped people increase their level of health literacy so they can understand what influences their health. We have equipped people with information … knowledge is power! We are concerned with the whole community. Everyone should know they matter. That’s why, regardless of race, ethnicity or neighborhood, everyone should get early screenings and see their doctors regularly.”
Articles typically are contributed by local experts; some are staff written or compiled from federal government resources. Graphic design is provided by Ramsey & Associates Design, the firm she founded in 1990.
Partnerships have been a key ingredient of the success of Our Health Matters. These along with advertising provide the main sources of revenue. Ramsey explained, “Throughout the years we have developed relationships with a number of organizations including Blue Cross Blue Shield KC, Truman Medical Centers, the University of Kansas Medical Center, local FQHC’s Samuel U. Rodgers health Center and Swope Health. One special partnership is the Health Forward Foundation, where their sponsored ads feature the extraordinary services offered by their grantees.”
A reader survey showed that the publication has a strong, loyal following. Nearly one third of respondents indicated they have read every issue over the past 12 months, and more than two thirds pass along their copy to family, friends and others.
Our Health Matters has been recognized with numerous awards including the 2017 Black Girls Rock Award from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Xi Tau Omega Chapter, the 2011 Delta Sigma Theta Women of Courage Award, the 2007 Black Health Care Coalition Media Award, the 2007 Missouri Public Health Association Media Award and the 2006 Kansas City Chronic Disease Association Health Media Award. Ramsey served as a member of the Kansas City Minority Health Commission for six years.
Daphne Bascom, MD, chair of the KCMS & Foundation Wellness and Prevention Committee, praised Ramsey’s work: “Ruth has been a key leader in providing resources to our community about health, wellness and care. As the publisher of Our Health Matters, Ruth has focused on developing partnerships with key stakeholders across the KC metro to bring timely, relevant and digestible information to all members of our community.”
About the award, Ramsey said, “I’m surprised and honored. This award shows that someone believes in what we do and that this health education work is important for our community. We invite and encourage other health organizations to consider partnering with us.”
Pick up a copy of Our Health Matters at local CVS pharmacy stores on free magazine display racks. For additional locations email us at email@example.com. You may also DOWNLOAD A COPY from our website.