Executive Director, Central Kansas Foundation, Central Kansas Foundation
Les Sperling serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Kansas Foundation, a substance abuse prevention and treatment organization offering a full continuum of services in six locations across Kansas. He has held this position since October of 1999. Les is a Licensed Addiction Counselor and a Certified Child Custody Mediator and holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from McPherson College. He has 30 years of experience in the substance abuse field and has worked extensively in the private and public sector. Les has served on the Kansas Substance Abuse Policy Board, Kansas DUI Commission, the Kansas Governor’s Mental Health Task Force, and is chairman of the Kansas Association of Addiction Professionals Public Policy committee. Les also engages nationally as a consultant for substance use disorder and medical care integration.
For more than 60 years, community health workers (CHWs) have had an important role in improving health behaviors and outcomes, particularly for racial and ethnic minority communities. In chronic disease care, CHWs provide culturally responsive services to educate patients, identify resources, provide case management and support care coordination activities, and become part of an individual’s support network. Understanding the mental health and substance use challenges of the people in their communities expands the CHW’s ability to provide necessary services, but is often a gap in their training.