© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Up To Date

Health Officials' Burnout | Lansing Prison's Career Campus

Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino resigned as Shawnee County, Kansas, health officer in December 2020 after the county commission modified emergency orders he had assigned.
Kansas Health Institute
Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino resigned from his position with the Shawnee County Health Department in December 2020 after the county commission modified emergency orders he had assigned.

Kansas and Missouri are losing public health workers to pandemic burnout, and the Lansing correctional facility is the future site of a career campus providing returning citizens with opportunities before and upon their release.

Segment 1, beginning at 4:53: As the pandemic deepens, health leaders in counties across the nation are leaving their jobs at an unprecedented rate.

According to an AP report, 1 in 8 Americans, roughly 40 million people, live in a county whose health department leader has left the job during the pandemic. Stress of the job compounded by backlash from communities has made these positions untenable. Gianfranco Pezzino says backlash was inevitable "when this became ideological," citing divisive sentiments in regards to masks and other health mandates.

Segment 2, beginning at 32:20: Returning citizens often face few opportunities and stigma following imprisonment.

The Kansas correctional facility in Lansing is to be the site of a planned career campus offering job training and mentorship. Partnering with local businesses like Menlo Inc., the idea is to prepare returning citizens with skills to help them land better jobs upon their release and curb recidivism.

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Chris Young is an Assistant Producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact him at chrisy@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.