Date: July 26, 2013
Contact: Jennifer Sykes
KANSAS CITY, MO – The Board of Directors of the Health Forward Foundation (Health Forward) has announced the selection of Bridget McCandless, M.D., MBA, FACP, as its new President/CEO. Dr. McCandless will begin her duties Sept. 3. She succeeds founding President/CEO Steve Roling, who announced his retirement in December 2012. Roling will remain in the position until Sept. 3.
Dr. McCandless has spent her career working to provide medical care to low-income, uninsured individuals. Most recently, she has served the past 13 years as medical director of the Shared Care Free Clinic of Jackson County (formerly the Jackson County Free Health Clinic). Since establishing the clinic in 2001, it has served 2,500 patients with chronic medical illnesses. She has established a multidisciplinary volunteer network that includes pharmacists, ophthalmologists, radiologic services, oral health providers, diabetes educators, mental health providers and specialty care physicians.
She also served as an inaugural member of the Health Forward Board of Directors from 2003-2008. During that time, she chaired Health Forward’s Program and Grants committee and was critical in the development of Health Forward’s guiding principles, ethics policy, funding focus areas, funding guidelines and grant review process.
“It was important to the Board of Directors that we find a candidate who could build on the strong culture and foundation that was created under Steve’s leadership,” said Dr. Karen Cox, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, and chair of the Health Forward Board of Directors.
“Bridget clearly has a strong passion for the underserved in this community and also has a deep passion and investment in this Foundation. She is committed to not only improving the lives of her patients but in improving the health of vulnerable populations and in improving public policies that advance population health. We look forward to her expertise and enthusiasm as we continue on our path to remove barriers to quality health for the uninsured and underserved in Greater Kansas City and beyond.”
Dr. McCandless is currently serving on the MO HealthNet Oversight Committee and is on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Free Health Clinic Association. She has been president of the Metropolitan Medical Society of Greater Kansas City. Dr. McCandless received her medical degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine in 1992, completed her Internal Medicine residency from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and in 2007 received an MBA from Rockhurst University in Health Care Leadership. She is married to Dennis Taylor and has three children, Alexis, Maggie and Nate.
“I am so humbled to be associated with this Foundation which has been on the forefront of innovation in community health and services to the vulnerable populations of Kansas City,” said Dr. McCandless. “I look forward to continuing the great traditions of this organization.”
After Roling’s announcement of his retirement, Health Forward formed a CEO search committee chaired by Vice Board Chair Dr. Kenny Southwick, Ed.D., and retained EFL Associates to lead a national search for the president/CEO.
Health Forward was created in 2002 as part of the Hospital Corporation of America’s (HCA) purchase of Health Midwest. It began grantmaking in 2005 and has invested more than $160 million into its service area of Kansas City, Mo.; Cass, Jackson and Lafayette counties in Missouri; and Allen, Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas.