Blog Posts By: Bridget McCandless, MD

Bridget McCandless: ‘My final week at Health Forward’

October 9, 2019

This week is my last as president/CEO of Health Forward Foundation.  While my commitment to the mission of Health Forward will continue to be a guiding force in my life, this marks the formal end of what has been a 15-year relationship with this foundation, first as an inaugural board member, then a grantee, and […]

Campaign asks Missouri voters to put Medicaid expansion on ballot

September 5, 2019

Available. Accessible. Affordable. Health Forward Foundation has been working toward these goals for health care services in our two states since our founding in 2003. While we realize health entails far more than just access to care, having quality health care still matters.  I arrived at Health Forward six years ago this week. It was a […]

I am retiring as Health Forward’s President/CEO

January 23, 2019

This week, I announced to the Health Forward Board of Directors my retirement. This has been one of the toughest decisions of my life. For the past five years and four months, I have loved serving as president/CEO of this organization. I love my job. I love the mission. And I especially love my co-workers. […]

Health Care Foundation is now Health Forward Foundation

November 14, 2018

Most of you know us as Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. But we also answer to the Kansas City Health Care Foundation, the Greater Kansas City Health Care Foundation, and sometimes even the health department. It can be confusing, we know. It was hard on our partners when they sometimes struggled to introduce […]

Health Forward responds to family separation and detention border policies

June 28, 2018

Our focus at Health Forward has always been to advocate for the health of those in our community who are most in need. It was a promise we made at the inception of the organization in 2003. It is not only our obligation to do this, but our privilege. Over the years, we have supported […]

What we learned from 10 months of community dialogue

April 4, 2018

For many decades before I joined Health Forward, I ran a free health clinic, treating uninsured, low-income patients. They entrusted me with not only their physical health, but also their struggles and their accomplishments. These relationships and the stories my patients shared gave me a pulse on my community. It was something I deeply valued […]

Reflections on 2017 and a look ahead at 2018

January 4, 2018

No one can dispute that we are in a time of unprecedented change. With a new administration this year on the federal and local levels, there are many changes that impact the vulnerable populations we serve. There is a dynamic momentum around heath in our area. Agencies are truly igniting a culture of health on […]

Survey: finding Health Forward’s permanent location

August 2, 2017

It has been some months now that we have relocated to our office space at 2300 Main Street. We have been so appreciative that this office was able to accommodate our urgent need for interim office space. If you get a chance to drive by our old home at 18th and Prospect, you will see […]

Our national health care system should work for everyone

June 23, 2017

For the last eight years, we have watched our elected officials introduce and pass health care legislation. We advocated that any bill should protect our citizens with the least means and the most health needs. We are again advocating that any changes to the current health care coverage protect the most vulnerable around us. What is […]

Health Forward to host community forums in service area

May 15, 2017

The Health Forward Foundation highly values listening and engaging with our community. While Health Forward is best known for our annual $20 million in grantmaking, we know that this funding is just one component to achieving our mission of eliminating barriers to quality health and supporting those who care for the underserved and uninsured. We […]

American Health Care Act: Senate must protect our most vulnerable

May 10, 2017

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that takes a major step toward repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The bill, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), damages many elements of the Affordable Care Act that have worked to lower rates of uninsured. In particular, the AHCA allows states to […]

With deep gratitude, thank you to all our volunteers

April 26, 2017

Did you know that 62 million people volunteer each year? Most of them volunteer for an average of 40 hours per year. It never ceases to amaze me how much people are willing to invest time and energy into their communities. That expertise, love and devotion are indispensable. This week we celebrate National Volunteer Week. […]

A great week for Kansas

Topeka Kansas Capitol

March 29, 2017

Editor’s note: Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed the bill. We expect the House to delay a vote on a motion to override the veto until next week. The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas has compiled a list of key lawmakers to contact with your concerns.  What a great week for Kansas!! I could not be more proud […]

A Health Care Foundation series: Exploring #RepealAndReplace

March 23, 2017

I have been reading so many opinions and analyses of the recently proposed American Health Care Act.  In some of the more nuanced discussions, people differ on what it will and won’t do. I think we can be certain that everyone involved recognizes that health care and insurance is complicated and that solutions for one […]

Now that the lawsuit is over, where do we go from here?

February 16, 2017

It was seven years ago Health Forward entered into litigation to ensure that HCA’s commitments to the communities we serve through the sale of Health Midwest were fulfilled. Last month, we were pleased to announce we had reached a mutual agreement to allow us to close these proceedings. In all, Health Forward added $175 million to […]

ACA uncertainty puts health care gains at risk

February 9, 2017

From inception, the Affordable Care Act attempted to strike a delicate balance between affordability for consumers and sustainability for insurers, all against a backdrop of varying health risks. Some components of the ACA have worked tremendously well, resulting in increased health care access for millions of Americans, while other components have been fraught with difficulty, […]

Transparency in Health Forward’s funding

January 4, 2017

I am often asked about the dollars that support the efforts of the Health Forward Foundation. When a foundation grants $20 million annually, those questions are inevitable because so many depend on those funds to serve the uninsured and underserved. I am thankful that our history of fiscal decision-making makes this an easy question to […]

Creating a culture of health

December 15, 2016

As 2016 winds down, we begin our annual blog series where Health Forward associates review highlights from our work this past year. In our final post, Bridget McCandless looks ahead to 2017 and how we can continue to build a culture of health. Join us as we look back on 2016.  A few weeks ago the […]

Wishing you a day of peace and thanksgiving

November 23, 2016

Friends, I write to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. This has been a time of immeasurable gratitude at the foundation. We are so appreciative of the support that has poured forth for our friend and colleague Adriana Pecina and her family. It reminds all of us of what we treasure. We have been holding our […]

What makes a good tobacco tax?

September 21, 2016

The tobacco tax is a powerful public health tool. Tobacco taxes are like antibiotics— dose matters. A drop here and there does nothing. With tobacco taxes, the dose needs to be strong enough to affect the choices of purchasers. This makes phased-in taxes ineffective. The bare minimum to change behavior is an increase of 10 […]

Home is where the heart is

August 11, 2016

Editor’s note: As of March 3, 2017, we have relocated to an interim office while we continue our search for a permanent location. Our temporary home is now 2300 Main Street, Suite 304 in Kansas City, Missouri. Please call (816) 241-7006 if you have any questions. Since our inception, Health Forward has been proud to call […]

Farewell to our beloved Rhonda Holman

June 23, 2016

What a bittersweet message to write. This is a time to celebrate the a wonderful career of our friend and colleague, Rhonda Holman. Rhonda has had a career that spanned education, banking, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. I know that in each of those fields she learned much and gave much—of herself and her wisdom and patience […]

When nothing is better than something

March 2, 2016

Update: Please read why we only support a tobacco tax that has an actual effect on public health. Health Forward intends to pursue a substantial and impactful increase in the tobacco tax in the coming years. Health Forward and many others came together in 2012 to advocate for a ballot initiative to increase Missouri’s tobacco tax from […]

Fanfare for the common man

January 11, 2016

Yesterday was the service for my friend Landon Rowland. It is hard not to smile when thinking of how to describe him. I heard several people lovingly describe him as complex. That complexity manifested as a man of un-ending curiosity, graciousness, fervor and conviction. He was also a provocateur and instigator which made him so […]

Farewell to Tracy Skidgel

Tracy Steve Dr. Jonas

January 6, 2016

There are few words to describe someone as important to the Health Care Foundation as Tracy Skidgel. She was the first employee of Health Forward, and in many ways, helped to shape the way we do business.  At the beginning, we had no available money, and Tracy had to use her credit card to pay the […]

My New Year’s Resolution for Kansas City

Health Forward associates, 2015

December 31, 2015

  2015 was an exciting year for the Health Forward Foundation. It was during this year that we celebrated 10 years of grantmaking. Over the course of the past decade, we have funded over 440 organizations. We took an opportunity this year through our Decade of Difference report and website, events, and our #AHealthy10 series […]

Recognizing trauma will change health landscape

Mental health behavioral health

November 24, 2015

People have been hearing a great deal about trauma lately. The concept is anything but new to social workers, of course. They could have told us 30 years ago that the more adverse situations a child experiences, the higher the chance of real consequences in school, health and life. As a concept though, trauma, unfortunately, didn’t make […]

Proud to live in Kansas City

Culture of Health prize

November 6, 2015

Kansas City is sometimes on great lists and other times on not-so-great lists. My friend, Jim Heeter, at the Kansas City Chamber, says that Kansas City wants to move from a Fat City to a Fit City and the business community has been willing to help in that effort. With that in mind, we were […]

The Health Care Foundation supports Tobacco 21 | KC

Tobacco21 KC logo

October 22, 2015

Cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, kill up to one-third of regular users. The Surgeon General’s report on the dangers of tobacco came out 51 years ago so we have known of the public health implications of tobacco for half a century. We are just now beginning to understand […]

Health Not a Privilege of the Few But an Opportunity for the Many

August 7, 2015

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson traveled to Independence, Missouri, to the Harry S Truman Presidential Library to sign legislation forming Medicare and Medicaid. Former President Harry Truman and First Lady Bess Truman attended the event and were issued the first two Medicare cards. Since then, these programs have saved countless lives. Health ForwardGKC […]

Electronic Health Records Improve a Patient’s Care

July 29, 2015

Anyone who has ever touched a computer knows that they are a blessing and a curse — a blessing when I need quick information, and lots of cursing when the machine refuses to read my mind about what I want it to do! Electronic health records (EHRs) are slowly evolving from a curse to a […]

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Marketplace Subsidies

June 26, 2015

We are pleased by today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court to uphold subsidies for health insurance purchased through federally-run Marketplaces, including in Kansas and Missouri. This decision means that the 70,000 residents of the Kansas City area who rely on the tax subsidies to help pay for their health insurance can continue their […]

Infographics Highlight Resources on Health Data Website

May 29, 2015

Two years ago, Health Forward was pleased to launch a new community website called The goal of the website is to help strengthen and build healthier communities by providing a one-stop shop for data and resources related to the health of specific communities. By visiting the website, you can find health data, explore promising […]

Remembering Mary Kettlewell

May 19, 2015

This week we said goodbye to our friend and colleague Mary Kettlewell. Mary spent her career dedicated to improving the lives of those less fortunate. Many of you had the opportunity to work with her the last nine years in her role as program officer at the Foundation. Mary led the mental health work at […]

Healthy KC Initiative Seeks to Put Kansas City at Leading Edge of Health

April 1, 2015

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce issued a challenge to the broader community: come up with ways that Kansas City could become a community on the leading edge of health. Why would they do this? Well, besides improvements that benefit Kansas Citians themselves, economics is part of the answer. The health of a community […]

5 Years of the Affordable Care Act: Improvement But We Can Still Do More

March 24, 2015

This week marks the five-year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA). This has heralded the largest transformative process in health care since the advent of Medicare and Medicaid 50 years ago. The rates of uninsured have gone down. Preventive measures have gone up. States with Medicaid expansion have seen significant […]

Seeing the Forest: Kansas City’s Progress in Health Care

March 19, 2015

At the beginning of March, a few colleagues and I traveled to sunny Austin, Texas, to attend the Grantmakers in Health conference. I always enjoy the opportunity GIH provides by uniting us in one location, to visit with thinkers from around the nation who are working on similar health issues. It is reaffirming to know […]

Health Levy Funds Must Continue to Support Safety Net Providers

March 4, 2015

There has been much discussion of the proposed changes in the distribution of Kansas City’s health levy funds. In 2013, 72 percent of voters approved the extension of a portion of the health levy. This fund generates about $50 million per year for the support of the safety net system. These organizations include Truman Medical […]

Looking Ahead: 2014 Gives Us Hope for Health in the Coming Year

December 18, 2014

As has become an annual activity for our organization, before we ring in the new year, we take a look back at events, projects and moments from 2014 that have impacted the health care scene in our communities and our nation.On the 10th and final day of our Year In Review series, Health Forward President/CEO […]

Kansas City’s Conversation on Health a Lesson for Us All

October 22, 2014

Last Saturday, I was honored to spend a day with 300 members of our community, talking about how we can make where we live better for everyone. On Oct. 11, Health Forward joined together with Consensus KC, the United Way of Greater Kansas City and a team of volunteers to host a Community Conversation on […]

What’s the True Cost of Untreated Mental Illness?

October 8, 2014

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week. During this time of year, mental health advocates use this opportunity to educate about the symptoms of major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other conditions. It also is an opportunity to have conversations about mental health care, helping to end the silence that often exists. While it is […]

A Look Back at My First Year as President/CEO of Health Forward

September 11, 2014

Two years ago, I was running a small, free health clinic in Independence, Missouri, sitting at my computer and working on a grant application to the Health Forward Foundation. My Shared Care Clinic was blessed to have received support from Health Forward. Those dollars were transformative to the growth of my clinic. It gave it […]

My Children’s Futures Are Hopeful, But Not All Parents Can Say This

August 21, 2014

I was catching up with some friends recently and to no one’s surprise, the conversation quickly turned to our families and children. We shared the stories of our kids growing and changing and driving us crazy. That gathering with my friends afforded me the opportunity to contrast our parenting experiences with a starkly different reality […]

Medicaid Part 2 Begins in 2015

June 17, 2014

I wrote last week about the journey toward Medicaid, Part 1. I was asked by several people what Part 2 would be. That remains to be determined. Part 1 included the work that went into laying the groundwork around Medicaid changes in Missouri. This was the opportunity for people to examine and understand the options […]

End of Missouri Session—Part One

June 3, 2014

We have come to the end of the Missouri legislative session. I have been absolutely encouraged by the hard work done by so many this session and the progress that was made. I can appreciate how tired the people are who have been working on this issue to see another session slip by without the […]

Reflections on Six Months

March 26, 2014

This month I had the privilege of attending the Grantmakers in Health conference, a gathering of organizations working in the health philanthropy field. While these organizations were of different sizes and different missions, conference discussions clearly demonstrated that we all share the rather large challenges to healing and wellness. The conference featured thoughtful discussions about […]

What Your Gut Tells You

March 12, 2014

There has been a long association between lower incomes and overweight/obesity. It makes sense that access to safe built environment; access to healthy foods, and social factors that influence healthy eating and active living will likely result in healthier lifestyles. Therefore it wasn’t surprising to me to hear the recent improvement rates of teen obesity […]

Hunger Is a Major Culprit in Health Problems

February 25, 2014

A recent study showed that there was an increase at the end of the the month in the number of visits to the emergency room from low-income patients who had low blood sugar. As a physician who treats diabetic patients, this increase doesn’t surprise me as people try to manage their diabetes with fewer food […]

Small Business Engine of Change

February 11, 2014

I was fortunate to travel to Washington D.C. recently with a group of people who are concerned about health and access to health insurance. While there were many sectors represented at our meeting, the overall theme was the same: small businesses want to have a healthy workforce, and recognize the importance of insurance coverage. There’s […]

What Are We Willing to Do on Their Behalf?

January 28, 2014

Let’s face it – the weather recently has certainly been a detriment to spending time outside. That is why it struck me just how addictive cigarettes are. As I looked out the window during the polar vortex with wind chills at -20 degrees, I saw a thin elderly woman standing alone in the freezing wind, […]

Smoking, Prevention and New Year’s Resolutions

January 15, 2014

It’s that time of year again when many of my patients are trying to quit smoking. My job is only to be the cheerleader because I know that they have to choose to quit for their own reasons. I’m as amazed by those who set down the pack and never look back as I am […]

Looking to 2014

December 20, 2013

Before we bid farewell to an eventful year dominated by the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, our Health Forward associates take a look back at significant events and projects and share their insights about the year 2013. On day 10 (and the final day) of our year in review, Health Forward President/CEO Bridget McCandless, […]

Talking About Life Care with Your Family

November 14, 2013

I was able to visit recently with some folks who are working in the area of Palliative Care. Palliative Care is the practice of specialized medical care for people with serious illness but is focused on improving the quality of life as defined by the patient and the family. Palliative Care has been in its […]

Salute to a Statesman

October 29, 2013

I wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to Ike Skelton, who passed away Monday. He will be remembered as one of Missouri’s finest statesmen. He served as a Missouri Senator for six years and then as a U.S. Representative for 34 years. We often bemoan the long tenure of some congressional leaders but […]

Kansas City Treasures

October 23, 2013

I recently attended the Grantmakers in Aging conference here in Kansas City. The Grantmakers in Aging, the host of the conference, is an organization that celebrates aging. The organization speaks of the importance of an age-friendly community — one where, as their website says, a person can grow up and grow old. They support the […]

And the Winning Medical Residents Are …

October 9, 2013

I was delighted to attend the American College of Physicians Medical Conference two weeks ago. The best part to the conference is always the Doctors’ Dilemma where Internal Medicine residents from across the state get together to compete on hard questions about medicine. Think of “Stump the Chump” with challenging question about diseases that are […]

How Our Neighbor’s Health Impacts Us

September 25, 2013

A Missouri Hospital Association report was released this week, drawing a stark contrast between Missouri’s counties. Residents in Pemiscot County in southern Missouri suffer the lowest life expectancy in the state by nine fewer years than the next lowest. The Medicaid Transformation Committee met on July 31 in Pemiscot County and heard dozens of people […]

October Launch of Marketplace Is an Opportunity to Finally Afford Insurance

September 11, 2013

October 1 is right around the corner and with it, the start of open enrollment on the insurance marketplace. I know that this is important to real people—lots of my patients and friends at the clinic are welcoming to opportunity to finally afford medical insurance. There is of course some trepidation as people have to […]

An exciting life change

September 3, 2013

Hello friends, new acquaintances and readers, I am so honored to join the Health Forward Foundation’s team. As anyone who has worked with this organization knows, they are the most dedicated and genuine people around. I’m also excited to work with the nonprofit organizations that Health Forward funds to serve the uninsured and underserved. Coming […]

Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 241-7006