30 Kansas City Non Profit Professionals Selected to Participate in National Health Fellowship Program

March 8, 2011
Jennifer Sykes

KANSAS CITY, MO – The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Center for Creative Leadership in collaboration with the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF) has announced the selection of 30 community health leaders from greater Kansas City to participate in a national fellowship program. These individuals will participate in the RWJF Ladder to Leadership: Developing the Next Generation of Community Health Leaders program, which aims to train the next generation of community health leaders.

Those selected include:

  • Farah Abdi, Executive Director, Somali Foundation
  • Krista Allen, Development Officer, Crittenton Children’s Center
  • Lori Blankinship, Clinic Director/CEO, Village Clinic at King Solomon
  • Xochiti Carrasquedo Hernandez, Community Health Program Coordinator, Mattie Rhodes Center
  • Valerie Crenshaw, Coordinator of Therapeutic Services, Rose Brooks Center
  • Katie Cronin, Director of Medical-Legal Partnership, Legal Aid of Western Missouri
  • Rebecca Davis, Care Director, Northland CARE, Northland Health Care Access
  • Ashley DeVilbiss Bieck, Student Interest Manager, American Academy of Family Physicians
  • Julie Donelon, Executive Director, Child Protection Center, Inc.
  • Amber Eastabrooks, Nurse Manager, Duchesne Clinic
  • Alicia Ellinsworth, Farm Manager, Kansas City Community Farm, Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture
  • Callie Grantham, Program Manager, Kansas City Community Center
  • Brian Haines, Independence Family YMCA Executive Director
  • Lindsay Hummer, Director of Development, JDFR – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Jeremy LaFaver, Director of Public Policy, Partnership for Children
  • Sheila Luehrs, Director of Clinical Services, Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center
  • Tracie McClendon-Cole, Justice Program Coordinator/AIM4Peace Program Manager, City of Kansas City, Missouri Health Department
  • Lisa Mizell, Executive Director, Amethyst Place
  • Nicole Morrow, Health Coordinator, KC Urban Youth Center
  • Benjamin Nemenoff, Evaluation Manager, Kansas City Free Health Clinic
  • Melissa Robinson, President/CEO, Black Health Care Coalition
  • KaMara Sams, Quality Improvement Coordinator, The Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics
  • Gregg Shibata, Vice President, Programming and Accountability, KCQIC – Kansas City Quality Improvement Consortium
  • Jennifer Smith, Girls’ Program Director, YWCA of Greater Kansas City
  • Megan Sturges, Human Services Manager, Phoenix Family Housing Corporation
  • Kellie Sullivan, Certified Therapeutic Recreational Therapist, Center for Behavioral Medicine
  • Julia Westhoff, Director of Community Education, MOCSA – Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault
  • Jan Whitlow, Director of Community and Program Development, Saint Luke’s Hospital Foundation
  • Suzanne Wikle, Director of Policy and Research, Kansas Action for Children

The RWJF Ladder to Leadership program aims to boost the skills and capabilities of early- to mid-level professionals working in health and health-related nonprofit organizations so they will be positioned to lead these organizations in the future as many nonprofit leaders retire. The 16-month leadership curriculum includes face-to-face training sessions, individualized executive coaching and team project work.

“This program will offer excellent training to the emerging nonprofit leaders in greater Kansas City, not only enhancing their professional growth but helping our community grow a cadre of skilled health professionals to provide needed leadership,” said Steve Roling, HCF President/CEO.

The nonprofit sector, like many industries and sectors, is facing an impending exodus of senior leaders who plan to retire in the coming years. A study by the Bridgespan Group estimated that by 2016, nonprofit groups will need approximately 80,000 new senior managers each year. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there were 1.4 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S. in 2006.

“Nonprofit organizations are a critical part of health care and service delivery in this country. It is important we work with current leaders to build a pipeline of qualified future CEOs and executive directors, so we do not lose the vision and capacity needed to continue to do this work effectively in the future,” said Sallie Petrucci George, M.P.H., program officer at RWJF. “We are committed to investing in tomorrow’s nonprofit leaders to make sure they receive the training they need to best serve those at-risk communities.”


About Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.

About Center for Creative Leadership
The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) is a top-ranked, global provider of executive education that develops better leaders through its exclusive focus on leadership education and research. Founded in 1970 as a nonprofit, educational institution, CCL helps clients worldwide cultivate creative leadership—the capacity to achieve more than imagined by thinking and acting beyond boundaries—through an array of programs, products and other services. Ranked among the world’s top providers of executive education by Business Week and the Financial Times, CCL is headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., with campuses in Colorado Springs, CO; San Diego, CA; Brussels, Belgium; and Singapore. Its work is supported by more than 500 faculty members and staff.

About the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City
The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City provides leadership, advocacy and resources that eliminate barriers to quality health for the uninsured and underserved in Kansas City, Missouri, Cass, Jackson and Lafayette counties in Missouri and Allen, Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas. Since it began grantmaking in 2005, HCF has awarded over $120 million to agencies addressing health needs in the community. For more information, visit hcfgkc.org.