The Transforming KC Health Research Grant awarded to a partnership focused on addressing food insecurity in the KC community.

For more information contact:
Kelly Cannon
W: 816.395.3711, C: 816.686-3842

KANSAS CITY, MO. (September 24, 2019)—This is the eighth year that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and BioNexus KC have partnered to award health outcomes research grants. This year, Blue KC will award the 2019-2021 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.

“Since 2012, Blue KC has given over $1 million to health outcomes research funding through BioNexus KC,” said Qiana Thomason, Blue KC Vice President of Community Health. “This year, we’ve re-aligned the grant with our Community Health strategy and corporate responsibility program, Well Stocked, to focus on partnerships that research and address nutritional access in food insecure communities. We’re grateful that our partnership with BioNexus continues to promote and improve the health and wellness of our community, particularly within the context of the social determinants of health. We know that nutrition and health are inextricably tied, so we look forward to seeing the success of the 2019 recipients.”

“Our collaboration with Blue KC provides the opportunity to directly improve our community’s health by addressing important environmental factors that have a direct impact on health outcomes,” said Dr. Keith Gary, BioNexus KC Vice President. “The Transforming KC Health Research Grant directly supports our region’s strengths in outcomes research identified in our ‘Path to 2025’ report.”

The Transforming KC Health Research Grant focuses on partnerships that aim to address socioeconomic and environmental barriers to health, specifically through research on improving access to nutritious foods in nutritionally insecure communities. The awarded partnership will receive up to $400,000 over two years to help combat food insecurity in the Kansas City area.

This joint research proposal “Food Rx + CHW: Investigating the Role of a Community Health Worker (CHW) to Close the Food Insecurity Gap in Chronic Disease” aligns with Blue KC’s aspiration for scalable nutritional prescribing programs with our clinical partners and utilizes Community Health Workers who will support individuals with poorly controlled diabetes and the propensity for frequent inpatient and emergency department care.

“Our team is honored to be funded, and excited to partner with Vibrant Health and the University of Kansas Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Our project will investigate the best ways that health systems and community-based organizations can improve the health of our Kansas metro area community members who are diagnosed with chronic disease and experiencing difficulty in accessing healthy foods. We will implement these interventions in the community, where patients spend most of their time, as opposed to controlled clinical settings,” said Donna Young, Interim Executive Director, Community Health Council. “We believe it has the potential to help researchers better understand the impact of individualized prescription food programs and community health workers in chronic disease management and prevention. We’re eager to see what emerges when researchers focus first on patients’ needs and concerns, and openly collaborate with patients and community experts, including those engaged in local agriculture and existing food access programs. This opportunity could illuminate a path for the development of new therapies scaled to serve a broader community.”

Additional information about the Transforming KC Research Health Grant, including eligibility, review criteria and application procedures, is available at

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in Missouri and the only not-for-profit commercial health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage services to more than one million residents in the greater Kansas City area, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and 30 counties in Northwest Missouri. Our mission: to provide affordable access to healthcare and to improve the health of our members. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information on the company, visit its website at

About BioNexus KC:
Through its Research Development Grants program, BioNexus KC manages a variety of individual grants for area corporations and trusts, helping them identify proposals with the best scientific, medical and technical merit. Research grants are awarded to generate initial results and stimulate the submission of major multidisciplinary research proposals to government or private agencies. BioNexus KC’s Research Development Grants program includes proposal review, evaluation by subject matter experts, written reviews for all applicants, and post-award management.