Lightner, Carney Appointed to Kansas City Health Commission

Joseph Lightner, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor and director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, has been appointed to the Kansas City Health Commission.

Lightner has helped launch the School of Nursing’s undergraduate public health degree and worked to involve undergraduates in innovative research bringing fitness and nutrition programs to area schools.

“It is an honor to be appointed to the Health Commission,” Lightner said. “I hope that over the next three years, we can work to reduce health inequality that is prominent in Kansas City.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, in appointing Lightner and several others, said it was important to have “experts in outreach to at-risk communities” on the commission, along with “medical professionals with specialties in trauma, infectious disease treatment, pediatric and prenatal care; supporters for survivors of domestic violence; advocates for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; educators; long-time community health reformers; and more.”

In his research and outreach, Lightner has collaborated with community groups and institutions including Kansas City schools and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Health Department. That made him a natural choice for the commission, which provides oversight for the city’s Community Health Improvement Plan and fosters collaborative community efforts in the wider metropolitan area.

The mayor also appointed Erica Carney, M.D., as a co-chair of the commission. Besides graduating from the UMKC School of Medicine’s innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program, she is an assistant professor, emergency care physician at Truman Medical Centers and the medical director of emergency medical services for the City of Kansas City. Lucas said Carney’s work had been instrumental in the city’s response to COVID-19 and collaboration with area health providers.

Lucas said, “Kansas Citians can be proud of the varied backgrounds of our health commissioners, their devotion to all communities, and their commitment to addressing the many physical, mental, and social health challenges our communities face.”