Healing the Heroes

Healing Heroic Heroes aims to rescue healthcare workers from burnout

A typical workday for Marshea Ross is 12 hours, mostly on her feet, managing a dozen or more struggling teenagers at the Crittenton Children’s Center in south Kansas City. It’s a physically demanding job where the 5-foot 2-inch, 110-pound Marshea often must restrain young people much larger than herself.

And it’s an emotionally demanding job caring for those with depression,anxiety, and suicidal tendencies.

“I understand that I can’t help everyone, but I think kids need lots of love and support, and that’s what I try to provide,” Marshea says.

It’s a tough job that naturally takes its toll on Marshea, no matter how much she loves her work.

Enter Dr. Brenton Hicks, DC, owner of More Life Chiropractic on Barry Road. He recognizes the important work that Marshea does, so much so that he calls her a hero. Two or three times a month, he evaluates Marshea and adjusts her spine to its most effective and natural

“This is one thing I can do to support the community,” Brenton says. “They take care of us, so it’s my honor to take care of them.”

Marshea and Brenton connected through an organization called Healing Heroic Healers, a non-profit that provides frontline healthcare workers access to holistic wellness care that allows respite from the physical and emotional demands of their jobs. The goal is to minimize burn out and depression that frequently overwhelms frontline workers.

Karla Perez-Solorzano founded HHH and received the 501c3 status in July 2021. As a healthcare worker who has had several roles in the past 22 years, including EMT, she has first-hand experience in frontline healthcare, including all the physical, emotional, mental, and
psychological demands.

While the Covid pandemic placed a well-deserved spotlight on medical professionals, Karla believes the demands on frontline healthcare workers like Marshea and herself are not always recognized. Nor are they cared for properly to prevent burnout.

“There are dozens of people in a healthcare setting who provide a variety of services, clearing the way for nurses and doctors to focus on performing their duties,” Karla says. “This wellness initiative is to keep them going and show them that they are valued and appreciated.”

Healing Heroic Healers aims to provide natural and holistic ways to heal from daily exposure to trauma and medical emergencies. Due to limited funding, during the 2023 fiscal year, Healing Heroic Healers is committed to serving frontline healthcare "heroes" in roles such as CNAs, EMT-Bs, ER techs, firefighters, paramedics, patient care techs, patient care associates, patient transporters, behavior health techs, and military first responders. Healthcare professionals in these positions are regarded as “peak performers” on the frontlines, frequently laboring with minimal acknowledgment despite shouldering a significant physical and emotional burden.

Brenton saw his first hero patient in March and since then has seen about 20 patients a month. Other service providers include a gym that offers jiu jitsu classes and a spa that provides massages, facials, yoga classes and a sauna, among other opportunities.

Prior to connecting with Healing Heroic Healers, Marshea struggled with insomnia and back pain. Since she began seeing Dr. Brenton two or three times a month, she says she is sleeping better and feeling more rested when she wakes.

Community outreach is another aspect the program. Healing Heroic Healers coordinates CPR classes and first aid classes for the public, particularly in neighborhoods where such services are lacking. Research indicates Black and Hispanic households are the least trained in CPR and first aid. Such training directly impacts the number of calls and the stress on frontline healthcare workers who respond to these needs.

Karla has been able to begin this process and coordinate services because of financial support from the Kauffman Foundation, Kansas Health Foundation, and Health Forward Foundation. But to grow, she needs additional contributions from the public who are thankful and appreciative of the work of frontline healthcare workers.

The organization needs individuals to help grow awareness through marketing, community outreach and social media. If you have skills and time to contribute, or if you are a business owner who might provide a service, Karla would love to collaborate with you.

And if you are a frontline healthcare worker, first of all, thank you. If the physical and emotional demands of your work are taking a toll, reach out to Healing Heroic Healers. We need you to take care of yourself. Your work is valuable and appreciated. You are a hero.

If you’d like to support Healing Heroic Healers this Giving Tuesday and holiday season, you can find more information at heroichealers.org.

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