Should Your Zip Code Determine Whether You Live Or Die?

Should your zip code determine whether you live or die? Often this is the case with several
ethnic groups in under-resourced areas. When access to healthcare is an issue, telemedicine
can bridge the healthcare disparity gap.  Telemedicine provides a needed service by connecting
patients and health care providers who are separated by distance, time, and accessibility. 1
Diversity Telehealth brings healthcare to all communities, especially underserved populations
by collaborating with federally qualified health centers, schools, and community organizations.
My name is Dr. Shelley Cooper, and I am the founder of Diversity Telehealth, located near the
18 th & Vine Jazz District, promotes virtual health care and behavioral therapy services remotely
to schools, businesses, and under-served communities. In 2015, I earned my Doctorate in
Education (Instructional Technology & Distance Education) degree at Nova Southeastern
University. My dissertation, “Opinion Leaders’ Perspective of the Benefits and Barriers in
Telemedicine: A Grounded Theory Study of Telehealth in the Midwest,” is an in-depth
exploration into the legal, legislative, ethical, financial, and equipment issues related to
telemedicine. I completed my telemedicine training at the University of Arizona and telehealth
mentoring at the University of Kansas.
Following 25 years as a technology educator, I decided to create an outlet to increase access to
healthcare for underserved populations, improve continuity of care for patients in under-
resourced communities, provide healthcare education by addressing social determinants of
health and help to close the healthcare disparity gap. Below is a partial list of my recent
projects, products, and services:
Come On Now software platform
I developed a way to allow patients to have increased access to healthcare from their doctor’s
offices. Come On Now is a patent-pending platform that allows clinics and Federally Qualified
Health Centers to replace no-show appointments with telehealth visits. It creates revenue
streams for healthcare facilities and provides continuity of care for patients who might need
medical services sooner than their appointment allows. Patients with chronic diseases can have
the option to visit with a doctor sooner than trying to get into the clinic for a face-to-face
Diversity Telehealth Community Network, Inc. (501c3) – True Light Family Resource Center
Due to the large number of underserved individuals who could not afford telehealth service, I
created a philanthropic arm to my company called Diversity Telehealth Community Network,
Inc. I raise money through Facebook fundraisers and personal donations to provide free
telehealth services to families at True Light Family Resource Center and other organizations
that assist homeless families.
Asthma Ready Communities
Diversity Telehealth is partnering with the University of Missouri School of Medicine-Asthma
Ready Communities on its Teaming Up for Asthma Control initiative within the Kansas City,

Missouri School District. This project is aligned with patient-centered education, care, and
population health for an underserved minority community in Kansas City. In addition, I am
implementing the first school-based asthma telehealth pilot in Kansas City. I am also assisting in
generating provider and strategic partnerships within the community.
Remodel Relief software platform
Home buyers may not know the maintenance history or specific needs of the property. I
created the app to help people who have difficulty organizing and streamlining the home
maintenance and renovation process. Maintenance reminders are sent to your calendar.
Remodel Relief documents home projects on a timeline. It organizes information about
contractors (contacts, license, permits). I added a Message board for users and advertisers.
Adding an A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) helper, called “Ask Bob” assists with DIY projects. It also
keeps track of financial information, invoices and home remodeling and maintenance expenses.
It shares referral information via email, text, and app notification. Finally, affiliate partners will
have the ability to assist users with additional home-related services.
Children’s Mercy Hospital
I participated in an environmental justice asthma-related study where residents of select zip
codes were surveyed regarding perceptions of their neighborhoods, residence, preventive
health, living arrangements and factors contributing to their community’s air quality. There are
several common risks and health and safety concerns that arise in homes. Assessing your home
for these issues and correcting them promptly can lead to improved health. Many of the factors
contributing to triggering asthma symptoms were related to home maintenance issues such as,
home ventilation, peeling paint and cracks in the basement floor or walls.
Swope Health Services
I have conducted quite a bit of telehealth consulting with Federally Qualified Health Centers
because they serve underserved communities. "Diversity Telehealth provided research and
advice to Swope Health Services as they approach the expansion of their telehealth initiatives"
stated Mark Miller, Vice President of Behavioral Health at Swope Health Services. My Come On
Now app was used as a collaborative tool to improve immunization rates among Health Start
students at Excelsior Springs Early Childhood Center.
Rashaan Gilmore, CEO of BlaqOut, is collaborating with me to create telehealth solutions that
assist HIV populations gain confidential and culturally competent access to healthcare.
Currently, Diversity Telehealth is providing access to virtual healthcare to several of its
members. BlaqOut is a united community of individual advocates, community activists and
healthcare professionals who work to address the psychosocial and environmental challenges
faced by Black MSM in the Greater Kansas City Area.
REESSI (Dr. Laverne Morrow Carter)

I worked with Research, Evaluation & Social Solutions, Inc and Dr. Laverne Morrow Carter
serving as a consulting Study Director on a pilot project to develop a psychosocial serious
learning game for adolescents living in under-resourced families and communities.
I also collaborated with CareSTL formerly Myrtle Hilliard Davis Comprehensive Health Center
(MHDCHC) to assess its telemedicine needs, train the staff and coordinate the implementation
of telehealth programming. I created the telehealth infrastructure to allow CareSTL to begin
offering telemedicine services to its patients. As a result, the center is equipped to offer
telehealth services to Hazelwood and Riverview Gardens school districts. Currently, CareSTL is
the pilot organization entrusted to train students at St. Louis University students on using
telehealth to care for vulnerable populations with limited resources. “Diversity Telehealth made
a huge impact! Our partnership with Diversity Telehealth empowered us to seek new
opportunities to provide care to more people through school-based health centers. Thanks for
everything I. If you hadn’t enlightened me to the benefits of telehealth, the center would be
still struggling with expanding access to care for our youth during the school season.” Angela
Clabon, CEO CareSTL
Doctor Por Teléfono
Diversity Telehealth also sought to provide the opportunity of virtual healthcare to Spanish-
speaking patients who may find it difficult to leave work to see a doctor. I worked with Maria
Antonia Perez-Andujar, owner of Index Lingua, a translation service, to design a Spanish
website called Doctor Por Telefono. Clients had the opportunity to visit to register for Teladoc medical services provided by Spanish-
speaking doctors through an app on their phone or computer. These services were spotlighted
at Shawnee Mission School District’s Migrant Education Program Family Enrichment Event
where Spanish-speaking families were able to register for telehealth services. In the end, there
was not a large group of people interested in gaining healthcare in this way. As a result, it was
Pediatric Telebehavioral Health at a Charter School
I completed an eight-week Pediatric Telebehavioral Health (PTBH) pilot program at Benjamin
Banneker Charter Academy that allowed children in kindergarten through fourth grade to meet
weekly with a behavioral health therapist using their laptops. I designed and coordinated the
scheduling among the staff, students, and provider.  Free State Healthcare (Wichita, KS)
provided in-kind software support and Humana donated a stipend for the provider. “It was
evident the services provided during the brief sessions rendered a notable change in each
student’s behavior.” – Dr. Marian Brown, Superintendent, Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy
I presented my research at conferences and maintains memberships at the following
associations: American Telemedicine Association (ATA), Health Information Management
System Society (HIMSS), School-based health Alliance (SBHA), United States Distance Learning
Association (USDLA), and Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN). I will launch my Remodel Relief
software at the Johnson County Home and Garden Show in two weeks.

Ultimately, my goal is to continue to provide help for underserved populations in
underrepresented communities in any way possible: healthcare, education, and home
I am a native Kansas Citian who has been married to her high school sweetheart for 38 years
and has 3 grown children and 3 grandchildren.
Cooper, S.J. (2015). Opinion leaders’ perspective of the benefits and barriers in telemedicine: A
grounded theory study of telehealth in the Midwest.  Quarterly Review of Distance Education,
Volume 16(1), 2015, pp.


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