Alicia joined Health Forward in 2015. She processes grant applications and payments. Previously, she worked at Zimmerman Associates, Inc., which operates document control rooms for various government agencies. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
Keonna joined Health Forward in 2014. She oversees the grant database and application review. Previously, she was the team lead at Zimmerman Associates, Inc., which operates document control rooms for various government agencies.
Donna joined Health Forward in 2015 as a program officer. She is the co-lead for Health Forward’s Mental Health funding area. Before joining Health Forward, Donna served as executive director of the Resource Development Institute. Past positions include coordinator of the Jackson County Safe Family Coalition, adjunct faculty at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Social Work, and director of the United Way KIDSAFE Initiative. Donna has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Speech & Hearing Science and a Master of Social Work from the University of Missouri Kansas City.
Brenda joined Health Forward in 2010 and is a co-lead for Healthy Communities funding area. She works closely with a variety of organizations focusing on policy and community environmental change in the healthy eating and active living field. Prior to joining Health Forward, Brenda worked as a program officer and community relations manager for Hallmark Cards, Inc. She has served on a number of boards of health care delivery and youth-serving organizations. She earned her Master of Science in Management from Friends University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Park University.
Karen joined Health Forward in 2005. She has managed grant applications and provided guidance to countless grantees during this time. As the grants manager, Karen provides oversight to the Grants Operations Team, collaborates with program staff regarding grant strategy and process, and works with grant data to inform strategic goals. Before joining Health Forward, Karen worked for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and was a Peace Corps Volunteer stationed in Senegal, West Africa.
Graciela joined Health Forward in 2005. She leads the Foundation’s programmatic strategy development, implementation and evolution. Graciela also has primary responsibility for the overall quality and effectiveness of the foundation’s programming.
Graciela has extensive experience working with clinics and organizations to improve health equity. She led the Foundation’s work related to health homes/medical homes, health information technology (HIT), health information exchange (HIE), community health workers, and care coordination. Graciela earned a Ph.D. in social welfare from the University of Kansas.
Karen joined Health Forward in 2018. She drives assessment of emerging health equity issues and is responsible for integrating research and community findings into Health Forward’s work. She previously worked as a nonprofit consultant, human service agency manager, and public sector policy analyst for organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals and communities. Karen received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Arts in Public Policy from Duke University, and a Master of Science in Epidemiology from the University at Albany, State University of New York.
Christena joined Health Forward in 2016. Her responsibilities include accounts payable, payroll, investment accounting and preparation of financial statements. Prior to Health Forward, Christena worked at a local public accounting firm specializing in nonprofit accounting and consulting, with areas of expertise in financial statements, accounting systems, internal controls, and compliance audits. Christena earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Missouri Western State University and is a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Andres is a senior program officer focusing on Safety Net issues and is the co-lead of the Safety Net funding area. He also reviews technical assistance requests for prospective grantees. Prior to joining Health Forward, Andres served as a senior community affairs advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was a director/senior program officer at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Andres has a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Mary and a Master of Science in Education from Kansas State University.
Bradford Hart joined Health Forward in 2015 as program officer and is a co-lead for the Safety Net funding area. Previously, Brad was a managing director with Carnevale Associates, LLC, a national public policy consulting firm. Brad earned a bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University and a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University.
Tania joined Health Forward in 2017 as a policy associate. She provides support to grantees through training and technical assistance on advocacy skills and content. She also manages a small portfolio of advocacy related grants. Prior to joining Health Forward, Tania managed grants and operations for a public health nonprofit in Seattle, WA. She earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a master’s degree from the University of Denver.
Ross joined Health Forward in 2017 as a communications coordinator. He assists with media relations, digital communications and project management. Previously he worked as a communications specialist for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
McClain joined Health Forward in 2020 as director of policy and strategic initiatives. She is responsible for establishing the strategy for Health Forward’s policy priorities and executing a plan to fulfill those objectives through direct lobbying, grantmaking, and strategic partnerships and initiatives. Prior to joining Health Forward, McClain served as director of policy and research for the Greater Kansas City Civic Council. McClain earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Master of Business Administration from Florida A&M university. She also holds a law degree from The George Washington University Law School.
Shannon joined Health Forward in 2015. He serves as program officer and co-lead for the Mental Health funding area. Previously, Shannon had served as program manager of residential services for SAVE, Inc. In doing so, he managed mental health support services for homeless populations. Shannon also has more than 18 years of experience in public child welfare and child abuse prevention. His focus areas include child welfare and family violence interventions, family violence system collaborations, homeless programs, and support services for HIV/AIDS populations.
Jane joined Health Forward in 2007. She oversees all evaluation and research efforts and is also responsible for a small portfolio of grants. Prior to joining Health Forward, Jane was an assistant research professor at the Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri Columbia. She earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Melanie joined Health Forward in 2008. She is responsible for events logistics management and day-to-day operations coordination. Prior to joining Health Forward, Melanie had a career in real estate.
Adriana joined Health Forward in 2007. She serves as a senior program officer and is co-lead of the Healthy Communities funding area. She works closely with a variety of organizations focusing on policy and community environmental change in the healthy eating, active living, and tobacco use prevention field. Prior to joining Health Forward, she served as director/senior program officer at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. She earned her Master of Science in Education from Kansas State University and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Missouri Kansas City.
Leigh joined Health Forward as a program officer in 2019. Previously, she was a Project Manager at the University of Kansas Medical Center working on a rural obesity study funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Leigh has experience working in both rural and urban health, community-engaged research, and oral health. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.
Susan joined Health Forward in 2017 as a receptionist/governance and operations assistant. She provides valuable administrative support to the Health Forward team. Additionally, she is often the first Health Forward associate to greet visitors. Susan previously served one year with AmeriCorps where she supported Harvesters’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program outreach. She has a background in corporate communications, writing, and editing.
Karol joined Health Forward in 2018 as a governance coordinator. She provides comprehensive support for our board of directors and Community Advisory Committee. Prior to joining Health Forward, Karol was director of governance and strategic visioning for a nonprofit scientific member association in Arlington, Virginia. She specializes in board governance, including policies and procedures, meeting logistics, bylaws, nominations, and elections processes.
Cori joined Health Forward in 2018. In her role as Program Associate, she supports Health Forward’s grantmaking by coordinating the foundation defined grant processes with a focus on continuous process improvement, cross-departmental collaboration, and improved grantee experience. She has more than ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector—much of it involving safety net health care and mental health services. Cori has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas.
Jennifer is the communications officer at Health Forward. She is responsible for all communications from Health Forward, including traditional media, social media, the website, and all other electronic and print communications. Before joining Health Forward in 2006, Jennifer was the manager of media relations and corporate creative design at Truman Medical Centers and worked in collegiate athletics at the Western Athletic Conference and the University of Kansas.
Qiana is president/CEO of Health Forward Foundation. She previously served as vice president of community health and health equity at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC). Prior to her tenure at Blue KC, Thomason spent eight years at Swope Health as the director of clinical operations for behavioral health and program manager of the multi-municipality Mental Health Court. She also served as deputy director and health and human services liaison for United States Senator Jean Carnahan.
Jason joined Health Forward as a program officer in 2019. He previously served as the director of the Mary L. Kelly Center where his work focused on neighborhood transformation, active living, and youth development. Prior to his work at the Mary L. Kelly Center, Jason developed youth and senior programs at Kansas City Parks and Recreation.
Rick is chief financial officer of Health Forward. Rick’s background includes senior positions in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. Rick served 17 years in executive financial positions for two Fortune 500 companies in the pharmaceutical and home health care industries. Prior to Health Forward, Rick’s not-for-profit career began in 1997 where he was the Kansas City managing director of a national Harvard University initiative aimed at developing inner-city entrepreneurship. He also founded and managed a small CPA firm for 10 years as well as served as a full-time professor in accounting and entrepreneurship at Missouri Western State University.