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ICYMI: Virtual Event — County Health Rankings: Addressing Food Insecurity (November 4, 2021)

Virtual Meeting Recap and Recording

By KANSAS HEALTH INSTITUTE | November 04, 2021

ICYMI: Virtual Event — County Health Rankings: Addressing Food Insecurity (November 4, 2021)

Hunger and food insecurity exist within every community in the United States and have been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, negatively impacting the health of millions nationwide, including hundreds of thousands of Kansans.

On November 4, 2021, the Kansas Health Institute, along with the Kansas Hospital Association, Kansas Food Bank, and Harvesters-The Community Food Network, hosted a virtual event with over 100 participants that explored food insecurity and ways to leverage the County Health Rankings data and tools. Event attendees also heard from communities across Kansas about their efforts to increase access, availability and affordability of healthy foods. A recap of the meeting is below.

Select a link below to view items from the meeting:

A recording of the virtual event is below. 


 

Meeting Recap

 

Robert F. St. Peter, M.D., President and CEO, Kansas Health Institute, provided opening remarks. (Time marker 01:35 on the recording.) 

Gita Rampersad, J.D., M.H.A., Vice President of Health Systems Innovation, Feeding America, provided the keynote address. She shared a national perspective on the impact of hunger, describing how the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the rate of food insecurity as well as the inequalities across communities and population groups. She closed her remarks with a call to action that can be applied at state and community levels. (Time marker 07:30 on the recording.) 

Tatiana Lin, M.A., Team Leader for Population Health, Kansas Health Institute, described data and tools contained in the 2021 County Health Rankings that can help communities address food insecurity. (Time marker 39:20 on the recording.)

Cindy Samuelson, Senior Vice President Member and Public Relations, Kansas Hospital Association, introduced experts for the Lightning Talks. The speakers discussed how to leverage community networks to improve affordability, accessibility and availability of food. (Time marker 49:19 on the recording.) 

  • Jessica Kejr, M.S.W., Director of Programs and Client Collaboration Initiatives, Harvesters—The Community Food Network
  • Lacey Mollel, C.R.H.C.P., Clinic Operations Manager, Kearny County Hospital
  • Matt O’Malley, Director of Outreach & Development, Eat Well Food Policy Council Chair, Live Well Crawford County
  • Geovannie Gone, L.M.A.C., M.S., Chief Administrative Officer, Genesis Family Health, Finney County
  • Andrea Clark, A.I.C.P., Policy & Planning Manager, KC Healthy Kids

Kim Gasper, Director of Fund Development, Harvesters—The Community Food Network, introduced the panelists. (Time marker 1:28:20 on the recording.) 

The panelists discussed cross-sector collaboration in addressing food insecurity and highlighted the systemic barriers and health equity issues related to food insecurity. They each shared unique perspectives from philanthropy, business and the farming community. During the session, they described common challenges and lessons learned from statewide and community-based approaches to addressing the determinants that lead to food insecurity.

  • Teresa Miller, J.D., President and CEO, Kansas Health Foundation
  • Qiana Thomason, M.S.W., President and CEO, Health Forward Foundation
  • Virginia Barnes, M.P.H., Director of Blue Health Initiatives, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
  • Scott Thellman, Owner, Juniper Hill Farms, Sunflower Provisions

Brian Walker, President and CEO, Kansas Food Bank, presented closing remarks. (Time marker 1:58:20 on the recording.)

Funding for this event was provided by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaborative program between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Facilitated discussions about the County Health Rankings in your community are available upon request. 

Event Partners

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.

The Kansas Hospital Association is a voluntary, non-profit organization existing to be the leading advocate and resource for members. KHA membership includes 217 member facilities, of which 123 are full-service, community hospitals. KHA and its affiliates provide a wide array of services to the hospitals of Kansas and the Midwest region. Founded in 1910, KHA’s vision is: “Optimal Health for Kansans.”

Harvesters - The Community Food Network is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which provides food and related household products to more than 760 nonprofit agencies including emergency food pantries, community kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes and others. They also offer education programs to increase community awareness of hunger and teach about good nutrition. During fiscal year 2021, Harvesters - The Community Food Network helped distribute more than 76 million pounds of food, providing more than 67 million meals.

The Kansas Food Bank is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charity which provides food throughout 85 of Kansas’ 105 counties. We work with over 700 hunger relief partners. Every year, the Kansas Food Bank provides millions of healthy meals to our neighbors who experience food insecurity. Whether it’s the Food 4 Kids weekend backpack program at work in over 400 schools, our Bob Box program providing missing meals for our seniors or the mobile pantry being deployed in communities that lack or have limited pantry service, the Kansas Food Bank provides healthy, nutritious food for our neighbors in the far reaches of our great state. In addition, we offer assistance navigating the SNAP food stamp application as part of our work helping ensure benefits are available to qualified households. 


The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.