Summit explores topics critical to building partnerships

Blue KC issues grant during Hunger-Free Summit. The grant will help partnering organizations research the relationship between food insecurity and adverse health outcomes, as well as evaluate how best to implement programs that can address this issue.

One in eight individuals in our community are impacted by food insecurity or the lack of affordable fresh food. 

Hunger Free Healthcare KC — a coalition of nonprofits, government organizations, and hospitals — hosted the third annual Hunger-Free Healthcare Summit, Tuesday, Sept. 24 at the Kaufman Foundation Center. The summit was sponsored by Children’s Mercy, St. Luke’s Health System, Advent Health, Blue KC, and Humana. 

During the summit, attendees connected with local resources for patients and families and learned about national trends. Richard Sheward, director of Innovative Partnerships at Children’s Health Watch, shared best practices from national models using the collective impact framework to address food insecurity.

This year’s breakout session provided attendees with an opportunity to explore topics critical for building strong partnerships. Summit materials and slides are available at harvesters.org/hungerfreehealthcaresummit.

Richard Sheward led a session on making the most of the collective impact framework. One attendee stated, “This was the first information I had received about collective impact. I am excited to see how this strategy can make an impact on the communities I serve.”

Jessica Kejr, director of Programs and Client Collaboration Initiatives at Harvesters, shared local models of effective nutrition interventions in health care settings. “Today’s event provided me with a spectrum of programs and collaborations that could serve as models for our community, said one attendee. 

Renee Bryant, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, moderated a panel discussion on bridging the referral gap.

Tonya Conway, Food Equality Initiative

Tonya Conway, Food Equality Initiative, discussed opportunities and challenges of social referral platforms from the perspective of community-based organizations. Mandi LaRue shared how a public health agency navigated from the existing menu of platforms and is working with their staff and community to assure a successful implementation.

In the session entitled Sustaining the Work: A discussion on the integration of social care in the healthcare delivery model, Lesly and Qiana Thomason of BlueKC discussed the role of payers in building the ecosystem of support for patients.

“This is what it is going to take — competitors sitting down together in collaboration with community to figure out how we might support infrastructure that is addressing social determinants of health” said Jerry Jones. 

In the spirit of collective impact, Blue KC awarded the 2019-2020 Transforming KC Health Research Grant to the partnership between the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County (CHC), the University of Kansas Medical Center Research Institute (KUMC) and Vibrant Health. The grant will help partnering organizations research the relationship between food insecurity and adverse health outcomes, as well as evaluate how best to implement programs that can address this issue.

At the end of the summit, attendees were encouraged to network and connect on next steps. The 4th Annual Hunger-Free Healthcare Summit will be held in September 2020. 


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