KHF Think Tank-Style Advisory Group


The Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) is creating an advisory “think tank” to spur critical thinking, innovation and creativity. This is necessitated by KHF’s new strategic framework, including a bold purpose statement designed to pressure the board, staff and partners to do our best work for the people of Kansas.

Our purpose is three-fold: 1) Help Kansas lead the nation in health. 2) Eliminate the inequities that create health disparities. 3) To become the model for philanthropic impact.

KHF is currently recruiting for contract professionals to serve as part of this “think tank.”

Why is KHF creating this think tank?

According to America’s Health Rankings, Kansas currently ranks 29th nationally in a composite of primary health factors. To KHF, this is unacceptable, and the drive to ranking first will both motivate and inform all of KHF’s work.

In an effort to dive deeper into what it will take to lead the nation in health, KHF also recognizes the need to contract with outside experts. And, KHF knows the key to climbing the rankings—and thus, achieving the first part of its purpose statement—rests in making steady, sustainable progress on the final two parts of the purpose statement.

Ed O’Malley, KHF President and CEO, explains it this way: “We won’t become number one in the rankings by helping healthy people get healthier. Progress requires us to knock down the barriers, the inequities some Kansans face that make it harder to live a full, healthy, and thriving life. These barriers include things like food and health care deserts, lack of transportation and economic opportunities, and more. Personal agency is key, but we need to make sure the playing field is level.”

KHF also knows these lofty aims will require more from its board, staff and partners. Thus, we will need outside perspectives to help us research and analyze cutting-edge ideas for leveraging the opportunities available to a philanthropic organization.

Description of the “think tank” and expectations of team members

This team will be comprised of up to nine contracted individuals, each with expertise (learned or lived) in at least one of the three parts of the KHF purpose statement. Members will receive an annual honorarium for their contributions, will engage in research and analysis, participate in quarterly retreats, and stay up-to-date on KHF activities and goals.

Susan Kang, KHF Senior Advisor, is guiding the development, execution and activities of this group. Members will work collaboratively with KHF staff, but also independently on special assignments and research.

Potential work from the Think Tank could include projects such as:

  • Analyze America’s Health Rankings and identify the major reasons for our decline from #8 in the 1990s to #29 today.
  • Stimulate creative and bold approaches to improving health in communities facing the greatest health disparities, such as our rural and urban core communities.
  • Craft new philanthropic models that leverage grants, public funding, and the private sector to unleash great progress on the issues affecting health and vitality of our people and communities.
  • Prioritize the barriers or inequities that are creating the greatest burden for Kansans working to achieve full, prosperous and healthy lives.

How to express interest

We are looking for advisors, with learned or lived experience, who are passionate about the work and purpose of KHF and who have expertise or research interest in one of the three parts of the KHF purpose statement.

Interested candidates should contact Susan Kang at, and include the following information:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • In your cover letter, please state which of the three parts of the KHF purpose statement your expertise most closely aligns.

In our own words

Read on for a few quotes that further describe KHF’s reasoning for developing this think tank.

“We are looking for great minds, in Kansas and beyond, to push us. That three-part purpose statement isn’t just rhetoric. We mean it, which means we need to surround ourselves with as many great minds as possible.” –Ed O’Malley, KHF President and CEO

“This Think Tank will push KHF, but will push Kansas too. Leading the nation in health is possible, but not without challenging our thinking and discovering new pathways forward. This will be a wonderful way for great minds to join our quest.” –O’Malley

“The third part of the purpose statement is perhaps grandiose, but it also conveys what we think must happen, inside our own organization for us to succeed. Best practices are good, but we need to be a place that discovers the next practices.” –Junetta Everett, Chair, KHF Board of Directors

“This will be a special group, with a unique purpose. It will push KHF and Kansas, and I believe their work will uncover cutting-edge ideas, models, and approaches that others around the country will want to emulate in time. As this role offers a unique opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking initiatives that will shape health, we expect it will be a highlight of each team member’s career.” –Susan Kang, KHF Senior Advisor

“We are looking for people with lived and learned experiences related to health, creating change, and impactful philanthropy.” –Kang

About the Kansas Health Foundation

The Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) is a nonprofit organization based on Wichita but statewide in its focus. At KHF, all our work centers on our mission: to improve the health of all Kansans. As part of a new strategic framework, developed by our staff and board of directors, KHF also strives to accomplish three primary purposes: empower Kansas to lead the nation in health; eliminate the inequities that create health disparities; and, for KHF to become THE model for philanthropic impact.

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