I am filled with great humility, purpose, and elation to begin this next chapter as president/CEO of Health Forward Foundation. I can’t imagine a finer organization to lead.
Because of my own experience as a former uninsured patient and then later an administrator within the Kansas City safety-net system, I am embracing this leadership opportunity as a true “homecoming” to an organization whose mission dovetails with my own roots and purpose — to improve the health and well-being of people living in marginalized conditions.
I’m most excited about whom I get to serve with. Working alongside Health Forward associates, board of directors, the Community Advisory Committee, and partners will most certainly be an iron-sharpening-iron experience.
There is much to learn and many people to engage. My first six months will be focused on listening, learning, and getting to know my new team, board, and the Community Advisory Committee. I also look forward to meeting with stakeholders from our partner communities spanning from Iola, Kansas, to Lafayette, Missouri, and everywhere in-between.
I’m sure to learn much during this transition. Particularly, assessing the needs of the community and where we have opportunities for improvement. These learnings will inform a new strategy and elucidate new tactics. But rest assured, our mission to provide leadership, advocacy, and resources to eliminate barriers and promote quality health for the uninsured and underserved remains the same.
One of the best ways to eliminate barriers and promote health is by expanding Medicaid. I will be keenly focused on advancing the bi-state Medicaid expansion agenda. The momentum in Kansas and Missouri is the highest it has been since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2012. An additional 350,000 individuals in Kansas and Missouri will receive health coverage under an expanded Medicaid. These individuals have our commitment to advocate fiercely on their behalf.
Health Forward’s vision of healthy people in healthy communities is a simple, straightforward vision that requires an incredible amount of innovation, collaboration, advocacy, and transformation to achieve. I plan to do so by leveraging my core values of equity, community, and effectiveness. I’m so happy to have you join me on this journey in ensuring everyone has a fair and just opportunity to achieve optimal health.
I’d like to thank my new Health Forward family for a wonderfully warm reception. I also want to thank Bridget for an exceptional hand-off. Last but not least, thank you for your kind sentiments and well wishes. I’ve never been more ready to partner with our communities to move health forward. Let’s go to work!