(Joplin, MO) – Freeman Health System invites area residents to travel the world of health care without leaving Joplin. The annual Freeman Advantage Health & Resource Fair is your passport to good health and will take place from 7:30 am – 11:00 am on Wednesday, August 3, at  Freeman Business Center, located at 3220 McClelland Blvd. Participants are encouraged to use the back entrance.

“We’re excited about the return of the Freeman Advantage Health & Resource Fair,” said Paula F. Baker, Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer. “It hasn’t been held since April of 2019 due to the pandemic, and this year’s fair features a diverse lineup. There will be guided mindfulness sessions, fitness assessments, and a presentation by Matt Adrian, Freeman’s General Counsel, on the legal aspects of hospitalization, such as power of attorney and advance medical directives. We’re looking forward to a fun and informative event and hope to see you there.”

The come-and-go event features health screenings, informative presentations, interactive booths, door prizes, and free breakfast.

“The Freeman Screen Team will be available doing fasting blood screens that check cholesterol levels, lipids, and much more,” said Jamie Gillmore, Freeman Advantage Coordinator. “Guests will need to fast eight hours for those screenings, so we are offering free breakfast for everyone. The blood screenings have a $10 fee but all other screenings, such as blood pressure checks, bone density, and body mass index (BMI), are free.”

Visitors will receive a “passport” upon entry and then collect stamps from the various vendors or by participating in activities, which then qualifies them for door prizes.

“It’s a win-win,” said Gillmore. “Seniors get valuable information in a fun way as well as giveaways and door prizes. Folks look forward to this event. They can learn about Freeman physicians and services, Medicare assistance, senior living options, home insurance, and can even try out a driving simulator that replicates dawn and dusk conditions, which can be challenging for seniors.”

Ozark Center Innovative Solutions is a new participant in the Advantage Health & Resource Fair and will offer a presentation on resiliency in aging. Ozark Center professionals will also be available to address questions about mental health.

The schedule for Advantage Health & Resource Fair presentations is:

  • 8:00 am – What Do Those Food Labels Mean?
  • 8:30 am – Resiliency in Aging
  • 9:30 am – Balance, Strength, and Flexibility
  • 10:00 am – What You Need to Know If You Are Ill or Hospitalized

Freeman Advantage is a medical, education and social program for those over the age of 50, who can receive a lifetime membership for just $20. Activities include walking and bowling groups that meet three times a week, exercise classes, game days, book club, day trips, and extended travel opportunities. Advantage currently has 3,100 members.

For additional information, contact Jamie Gillmore at 417.347.5837 or click here.


Jamie Gillmore, Freeman Advantage Coordinator
Freeman Health System

Chi Chi MaMa’s Breastfeeding Support Group is holding a breastfeeding celebration to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2022 from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday, August 6 at the Joplin Senior Center.

This event offers fun for the whole family with vendors, free lunch, door prizes, and games. The group will take a walk after the event, so make sure to bring strollers and/or carriers for the little ones.

This event is sponsored by the Breastfeeding Coalition of SWMO, Healthy Blue, Home State Health, and United Health Care.

For more information about this event, please call 417.623.1928, ext. 1763.


(Joplin, MO) – Suicide is among the top three leading causes of death in Missouri for people ages 10 to 34. One in five Missourians above the age of 18 has a mental health condition. Behind each of these statistics are people, families and communities who have been impacted, but there is hope in the face of these urgent realities. Beginning July 16, crisis staff at Ozark Center, an entity of Freeman Health System, will answer the new 988 dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“Ozark Center is one of 200 crisis centers nationwide to join this new 988 network,” said Paula F. Baker, Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer. “Staffed by specialists with extensive training in supportive counseling and self-harm risk reduction, the Ozark Center 988 line will receive calls from Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties. Suicide is the most preventable, leading cause of death in the country, and we encourage anyone having an emotional or mental crisis to call 988 for help, day or night.”

“988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number — it’s a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress,” said Vicky Mieseler, Ozark Center Chief Administrative Officer.

People can use 988 if they are experiencing thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

“988 is the first step toward strengthening and transforming crisis care in this country!” Mieseler said. “It will serve as a universal entry point, so that no matter where you live, you can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help. The vision for 988 is to have additional crisis services available in communities across the nation, much the way emergency medical services work.”

Ozark Center received a 988 State Planning Grant through Vibrant Emotional Health, the non-profit administrator of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Those funds enabled Ozark Center Crisis Services to add staff, equipment and furnishings to accommodate the anticipated increase in calls for help.

“Our community members have known for many years that they can call 911 during a crisis for help from first responders or police,” said Debbie Fitzgerald, Ozark Center Director of Crisis Services. “Sometimes these crisis situations involve individuals struggling with behavioral health needs. Now, anyone can call 988 directly from their cell phone to reach a trained crisis specialist at any time. With workforce shortages nationwide and particularly within law enforcement, this will help our community be safer, and provide responses and interventions for those requiring emotional support.”

The current toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, 800.273.8255 (TALK) will remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally. 988 will be the new three-digit number for call (multiple languages), text or chat (English only) that connects people to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which has helped thousands of people overcome suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress since it began in 2005. With the transition to 988, these life-saving services will be even easier to reach.

Ozark Center also operates other crisis lines for those in distress including a local number for Joplin 417.347.7720 or toll free at 800.247.0661 and both will remain active.

About Freeman Health System:

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit freemanhealth.com.


Lisa Olliges, Media Specialist
Freeman Health System


(Joplin, MO) – The Joplin Trails Coalition is pleased to announce it has been designated as a 2022 AARP Community Challenge Grant Recipient, one of only four in the state of Missouri. These AARP grants fund quick-action projects to improve livability of communities for people of all ages.

The AARP grant will provide the needed funds to install an ADA-compliant concrete ramp on the Frisco Greenway Trail, on the south side of Fountain Road, in Webb City. This will make the trail access and road crossing safer, and it will make the trail more accessible for community members of all ages, especially those using mobility supports.

There is no official work start date but the project should be completed by the end of November.

To learn more about the Joplin Trails Coalition, please click here.


Bob Herbst
Joplin Trails Coalition

Learn about what’s new in local healthcare with Freeman Health System’s newsletter, Freeman in a Flash. Read about a new medical office, workplace wellness, upcoming events, and much more. 

Freeman Hosted Groundbreaking for Medical Office Building

Freeman Health System held a groundbreaking ceremony on May 31 for a new $10.1 million medical office building at 34th Street and McIntosh Circle.

The medical office building is part of phase one for a long-term expansion plan for Freeman. The building will house offices for physicians specializing in pain management, dermatology, urology, general surgery, and others in the near future.

Find out more here.

Freeman Brings Pain Management Physician to Pittsburg

Dr. Roger Misasi, interventional pain management specialist, is no stranger to southeast Kansas. He was born in Pittsburg, raised in Arma, attended St. Mary’s Colgan and Pittsburg State University, and was a founding physician and anesthesiologist of the surgery center in Pittsburg.

For the past eight years, Dr. Misasi has been driving to the Kansas City area for work while his wife and daughter lived in Pittsburg. Joining the Freeman Specialty Clinic of Pittsburg means he is home for good.

“It’s great, really,” said Dr. Misasi. “I’ve been living in both places. This creates a balance between work and personal life.”

Read more here.

World Hepatitis Day

Each year on July 28, the World Health Organization sponsors World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about the global burden of viral hepatitis. This year’s theme, Hep Can’t Wait, emphasizes that we must act now to address the problem of hepatitis.

Protect yourself with a Hepatitis B screening and learn about screening for Hepatitis C. Contact Freeman OccuMed at 417.347.6625 to schedule your Hepatitis A and B vaccinations or to check immunity levels from previous vaccinations. Onsite vacations are available.

Learn more here.

MOCAN Quarterly Conference Registration Open

Registration for the July Quarterly MOCAN Conference is now open. This quarter’s topic is all things Worksite Wellness, so invite anyone who may be interested outside of the MOCAN membership!

Speakers will present on worksite environment, culture, moving back to in-office from remote work, occupational balance and more. Companies will receive their Worksite Wellness Awards. An overview of the Missouri WorkWell Toolkit will round out the activities.

Register online to receive the Zoom link to the conference.

Cost: Free

Contact: Candace Rodman at 660.269.9656

Register and learn more here.

Freeman Hosting Joplin Area Chamber Morning Brew

Hosted once a month, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Morning Brews highlight individual businesses and offer an informal setting for the area’s business professionals to meet, mingle, and make contacts. This month’s Morning Brew is hosted by Freeman and will take place in the Freeman Hospital Tower Conference Rooms from 7:30 to 8:30 am on Friday, July 8. You can learn more here.

We’ll see you there!

Wellness for Business Series: Part 2, Building Your Employee Wellness Program

During this free session, attendees will be guided through a “crash course” in workplace wellness by the WorkWell Missouri Toolkit. Developed to assist businesses in starting, adding to, or maintaining a wellness program, this is a step-by-step guide for employers to use in assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating a workplace wellness program.

Interested individuals can register to participate in-person at the Freeman Business Center, here, or register here to attend virtually.

Caregiver Support Group

The Freeman Caregiver Support Group will meet on Thursday, January 20 at 10:30 am in the Freeman East Conference Rooms.

Join fellow caregivers for this support group meeting to gain advice on what lies ahead, make new friends and learn how to better take care of family members. Door prizes will be given out.

RSVP to Kathy Mason at 417.347.8463 or kdmason@freemanhealth.com. To see the full list of upcoming events offered by Freeman, click here.

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