President/CEO, Health Forward Foundation

Qiana Thomason

Qiana Thomason, a life-long Kansas Citian, has dedicated her career to the improvement of health and wellness across the region, with a special focus on powerful and resilient communities experiencing health injustices and people living in marginalized conditions. Thomason serves as the president and CEO of Health Forward Foundation, an independent purpose-led foundation with assets just under $1 billion serving urban, suburban, and rural communities in the Kansas City region.

Thomason, a visionary leader and pathfinder, is leading the foundation through a myriad of transformational pursuits, including the establishment of Health Forward’s purpose: “Every day we work to build and support inclusive, powerful, and healthy communities characterized by racial equity and economically just systems.” In this journey, she has led Health Forward to operationalize racial equity in all areas of the foundation, including governance, grantmaking, policy and advocacy, investments, human resources, and procurement. Thomason has also led the staff in cultivating a high-trust culture and authorizing the foundation’s work by centering solutions around community voices and the lived experiences of communities served.

Nationally, Thomason serves on the board of directors for Grantmakers in Health, the National Rural Health Resource Center, and the National Academy for State Health Policy. Regionally, she serves on the boards of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Civic Council, Urban Neighborhood Initiative, and is a board trustee for William Jewell College. She received her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Florida A&M University and has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kansas.

Thomason came to Health Forward from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC), where she formerly served as vice president of population health and community health. During her tenure at Blue KC, she led development and implementation of new care delivery and payment models, to include building innovative payment models for social care, in partnership with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and primary care providers throughout Kansas City. She was also a successful champion for including health equity and the social influencers of health in Blue KC’s corporate strategy.

Thomason also spent eight years at Swope Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center, as program manager of a regional Mental Health Court and as the director of clinical operations, behavioral health. Qiana also served as deputy director and health and human services liaison for United States Senator Jean Carnahan.