Thoughts on Equity is a blog series presented by the Kansas Health Foundation to feature written, video and audio content from multiple KHF contributors. Through this blog, KHF will discuss issues of equity, systemic racism, health disparities and how Kansans have the opportunity to shape a more equitable and inclusive future.
The Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) has been clear about its ongoing commitment to the concept of equity, and specifically how it relates to health.
Just as importantly, we want all our grantees, partners and stakeholders to know how much we value the concept of diversity in all its forms. Diversity, from the standpoint of cultures, races, genders, interests, disabilities, religions and worldviews, is a key component of what makes Kansas a vibrant and growing state in which to live, work and play.
Diversity is also an integral way KHF meets its mission to improve the health of all Kansans. One way this is expressed is through the composition of our Board of Directors and staff.
“Over the years, we’ve tried to be more and more intentional about and dedicated to ensuring our Board and staff are representative of our state,” said Jeffry L. Jack, chair of the KHF Board of Directors. “This means having members with different backgrounds, racial identities, genders and ways of thinking.”
KHF’s nine-member Board is comprised of individuals living in south central, southeast, northeast and southwest Kansas. These members have backgrounds as healthcare professionals, attorneys, judges, financial advisers, faith leaders, civil servants, business leaders and elected officials. We have lifelong Kansans, and others who came to our state for professional or educational opportunities. They have expertise ranging from energy and investments, to oral health, pharmaceuticals, family medicine and city government. Representation also includes those who are Black, white, Hispanic/Latino and have a Filipino heritage.
Similarly, KHF’s current staff also exemplifies diversity. This is seen through race/ethnicity, expertise, colleges/universities, hometowns, gender, physical disabilities and even time at our organization.
“I’m so impressed with the diversity (differences) of ideas, talents and backgrounds of the KHF team,” said Junetta Everett, vice chair of the KHF Board of Directors. “By understanding, respecting and appreciating our differences, it allows the staff to work more cohesively, learn from each other, and better serve the people of Kansas.”
The 14 members of the KHF team hold degrees in areas such as business, accounting, social work, communications, criminal justice, journalism, psychology, healthcare leadership and management. Some have gone on to earn master’s degrees, while others are in school right now.
We have sports fans and book worms. Fitness enthusiasts and binge watchers. Introverts and extroverts. Great cooks and DoorDash/GrubHub connoisseurs. Multiple generations of moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas, uncles, aunts, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. We have employees who are Black, white, multi-racial and Native American. People who have been with KHF for more than 30 years, and others who came to us just months ago.
We even have a dog.
That’s right, Secret, our director of hearing assistance and office morale, is a trained service dog who continually impresses us all with her talents aiding the hearing impaired and bringing joy to everyone she meets.
And the common thread, through all board and staff members, is a desire to do everything we can for this state and the organizations, individuals and communities that make it so great.
Our goal – our hope – is that while there are optical diversities, when you look at our full KHF team, you also see the people of Kansas represented.
It’s this diversity that makes us strong as an organization, as a state, and it’s this diversity we hope to carry forward while addressing health equity for many years to come.
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