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August 08, 2022

Wil Franklin, President & CEO of KC CARE Health Center, announces $1.2M award from SAMHSA supporting harm reduction

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In January 2022 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced an unprecedented funding opportunity of nearly $30M over the next three years to support harm reduction efforts across the United States. KC CARE Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center in urban Kansas City, received one of only 25 awards nationally. This award, which funds a partnership between KC CARE Health Center, First Call, and University of Missouri-Kansas City, underscores the critical role of Federally Qualified Health Centers as leaders in all underserved communities in the United States. This week, during National Health Center Week, KC CARE Health Center is proud to announce this landmark award and to celebrate all Federally Qualified Health Centers and their unique roles in their communities. 

Kansas City, Mo., August 8, 2022:  

KC CARE Health Center, a trusted provider of unconditional, whole-person healthcare to the underserved for over 50 years, announced today that its’ harm reduction efforts have been bolstered by a $1.2M award from SAMHSA over the next three years. SAMHSA’s Harm Reduction Grant Program seeks to improve the health outcomes of people who use substances and decrease overdose deaths. This comes at a time when overdose deaths due to the opioid crisis in the United States have reached an all-time high. KC CARE was honored with this award as one of Kansas City’s most experienced providers of harm reduction. 

KC CARE Health Center is partnering with First Call and the University of Missouri- Kansas City to maximize the impact of this initiative in the Kansas City community. Together, these three organizations make up the Kansas City Harm Reduction Coalition. First Call, the region’s Prevention Resource Center for substance use and a provider of person & family centered recovery support, was founded in 1958.First Call will provide expanded access to live-saving naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. First Call will also offer peer support to help keep people who use substances safe and healthy, and recovery advocacy. The University of Missouri-Kansas City is the home of the Collaborative to Advance Health Services, which is one of several organizations funded as part of the National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center. KC CARE Health Center’s primary role will include providing testing for conditions commonly transmitted while using substances—such as hepatitis C and HIV—and linking people to medical care who need it. KC CARE Health Center will also offer behavioral healthcare to people who use substances, including medication assisted therapy for those who seek to end their substance use.  

Kimberly L. Nelson, LAC, MPA, Regional Administrator for SAMHSA said, “as one of only 25 places in the country who were awarded a brand new, highly competitive SAMHSA grant focused on harm reduction, I am so grateful for the Kansas City Harm Reduction Coalition’s commitment to the lives and health of all of us in this area. KC CARE Health Center has long been a leader in reducing harm and saving lives in our community. We are so fortunate to have them in our community and I look forward to all the additional good they will do with this grant!”  


“KC CARE Health Center is grateful and excited to be working in such a collaborative way with First Call and UMKC,” says President & CEO Wil Franklin. “We will be addressing the root causes of substance use and providing upstream interventions. All too often, we are trying to intervene or mitigate the damage when it’s too late.”  

Franklin continues, “This project combines what multiple organizations do best to collectively address issues of health equity, opioid use, and disease prevention in a comprehensive, patient-centered way. This effort moves us toward a path of not just early intervention, but prevention. It puts the people providing care in a position to impact future policy and pave a way forward for best practices.”  

Franklin concludes, “This is how things are supposed to work!” 


About KC CARE Health Center: 

KC CARE Health Center was founded in 1971 as the Westport Free Health Clinic by a group of volunteer medical and dental students caring for uninsured young people and veterans in Midtown. 51 years later, KC CARE Health Center’s vision of creating solutions for a healthy community remains the same. The mission of KC CARE Health Center is to promote health and wellness by providing quality care, access, research, and education to the underserved and all people in our community. For more information, please visit www.kccare.org  

About SAMHSA: 

SAMHSA is a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services. It is charged with improving the quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and the cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illness. 


KC CARE Health Center Media Contact: 

Doug Day, Chief Marketing & Development Officer 




Kansas City, Mo. 


SAMHSA Media Inquiries: