President's Perspective – KHA Distinguished Health Care Advocate – Jon Rolph
(Oct. 22, 2021) – The Kansas Hospital Association's Distinguished Health Care Advocate Award honors individuals who provide an exemplary contribution to the health and well-being of the people of Kansas through their leadership in the political or policy arena. At any level of the public spectrum, these award recipients are unique, demonstrating their unwavering commitment to ensuring the availability of health care and improvement to the environment makes access, quality and affordable health care a reality in Kansas.
The Advocate Award honors individuals who have demonstrated their commitment through participation in the public domain. This award provides members of KHA the opportunity to recognize those who work on our behalf from outside our ranks. This year, KHA will be honoring Jon Rolph, president and CEO, Sasnak Management / Thrive Restaurant Group.
Wichita restauranteur and community leader Jon Rolph was chair of a COVID-19 regional effort to regularly communicate essential data to inform regional and state leaders to help them navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, called Regional Report Outs, organized health care leaders in each six regions of the state to provide a local update on what was happening with the COVID-19 pandemic each week. Jon was excellent at engaging and appreciating both Republicans and Democrats while putting politics aside in this unprecedented time to save lives and navigate this pandemic.
Hospitals are among the many who are grateful Jon identified a need for reliable public information early in the pandemic. He dedicated his time to preparing and organizing Report Outs over several months during the pandemic. He also recognized the importance of putting local information about the impact of the pandemic in the hands of city and county leaders as they weighed the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
The idea of the Regional Report Outs has created a new tool in pandemic response for the state. He created a bipartisan space to share local information with the public that was not available anywhere else. He recognized the value of local voices sharing the information, not the news media or politicians, and the need for a regional perspective in a state as diverse as Kansas.
In Jon's words: "Health care is regional. When people need something, they want a solution closer to home," Rolph said. "Knowing this information in real-time can help everyone better understand what's happening and even equip people to help when possible. We need people at all levels to be having these conversations, and this process will simply make that easier."
Jon helped engage and ignite people as advocates for hospitals. By asking hospitals and health care providers to share their stories about COVID-19 and how it impacted their ability to provide care, he facilitated a local narrative that helped many areas in addressing COVID and understanding the value of protective measures designed to protect access to care.
Jon is an active member of the Wichita community and previously has been a board member for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, YMCA Wichita Metro Board, Wichita Children's Home, and a chairman of Visioneering Wichita. He earned his bachelor's degree from Baylor University.
Congratulations to Jon Rolph, the 2021 KHA Distinguished Health Care Advocate! We hope you join us in thanking and recognizing him at the KHA LIVE 2021 Convention on Oct. 27.