Health Forward announces 15 participants in Healthy Communities Leadership Academy

For immediate release:
Aug. 21, 2015

Jennifer Sykes
(816) 241-7006

KANSAS CITY, MO – The Health Forward Foundation (Health Forward) has announced 15 participants in its Healthy Communities Leadership Academy.

Health Forward developed the Leadership Academy to contribute to the development of a critical mass of change agents, local expertise, and field capacity to effect policy and community environment changes that result in improved health choices for the underserved.

The participants in the Leadership Academy include

  • Joe Blankenship – Bike/Walk KC Safe Routes to School Planner
  • Nozella Brown – Kstate Extension County Extension Educator
  • Michelle Dake – KC Healthy Kids Advocacy Educator
  • Ray Dlugolecki – Cass Cnty. Health Dept. Health Educator
  • Terry Glenn – Harvest Learning Center Pastor, World Harvest Church
  • Ann Gosnell – House of Hope Executive Director
  • Amanda Grodie Jackson – County Health Dept. Comm. Health Educator
  • Lori Hendrickson – ReDiscover Research Associate
  • Jessica McGinnis – Thrive Allen County Comm. Healthcare Educator
  • Monica Mendez – Latino Health for All Community Mobilizer
  • Ashley Peaches – Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries Community Care Coordinator
  • Cristina Ramirez – Truman Medical Center Team Leader
  • David Valdiviezo – Mattie Rhodes Comm. Outreach Organizer
  • Jessica Velazquez – YMCA Healthy Living Comm. Director
  • Terrence Williams – KCMO Parks & Recreation Special Projects Manager

“Health Forward has a long history of funding activities related to healthy eating, active living and tobacco prevention,” said Adriana Pecina, Health Forward Program Officer. “Recently our funding has shifted to support equity-focused efforts that mobilize communitites to change their policies, systems, and environments to improve access to healthy eating, active living and prevent the use of tobacco. We are committed to building community capacity to achieve our vision of healthy people in healthy communities and welcome these individuals as we continue to work toward policy and system changes.

The year-long Leadership Academy will help participants deepen their knowledge, understanding, and practice in the following four competency areas:

  • Civic Leadership
  • Policy and System Change
  • Community Collaboration
  • Resource Leveraging

“Although the focus of this Academy is on the individual, participants are expected to bring what they learn back to their organization and community,” said Brenda Calvin, Health Forward Program Officer. “Those selected have the full support of their organization and we look forward to seeing how their communities will reap the benefits of the wisdom gained through the Academy.”