ConnectCASS, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to addressing the health needs of residents of Cass County, has announced that Chris Molendorp has joined the organization as its new executive director, effective Nov. 1.
Molendorp, who recently announced his decision to retire from the Missouri House of Representatives, was selected through a regional search launched in August and that included stakeholder input from business, civic and nonprofit leadership throughout Cass County.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are thrilled that Chris has agreed to accept our appointment to serve,” ConnectCASS board chair Tiffany Klassen said. “His depth of experience in health issues and stakeholder engagement, combined with his broad view of the needs of the region and connections to the business and healthcare community are invaluable additions to our organization. We look forward to working with him.”
A native of Cass County, Molendorp has served for the past 17 years as president of a family-owned multi-lines insurance agency. Elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2008, Molendorp has served on the Oral Health Issue Development Committee, the Joint Committee on Missouri HealthNet, and the House Health Insurance Committee, where he is Chairman. His work in the legislature advocating for healthcare issues has garnered him service awards from the Missouri Dental Association, Midwest Hemophilia, and the Missouri Optometric Association. He is a former board member Belton Regional Medical Center.
For Molendorp, the post at ConnectCASS represents a unique intersection of causes he is passionate about and comes at a time where he can follow his desire to return home and work to improve the quality of life in his native Cass County. “I am honored to be selected for this position,” Molendorp said. “While Cass County has grown tremendously in recent decades and has benefitted from expanded economic development, the data on the health and well being of our residents clearly shows that we need a focus on healthcare and overall wellness. ConnectCASS is uniquely positioned to leverage resources and partnerships that will help us address critical health and health access issues more effectively and in new ways.
Among the needs cited by healthcare leadership in the County are obesity, lack of transportation to healthcare services, lack of primary care and dental care providers, and an entire array of issues related to poverty in rural areas.
Conceived in 1997 as the Community Health Assessment Resource Team, ConnectCASS has the mission to provide leadership to enhance the whole health of every person in Cass County. ConnectCASS aims to build on CHART's success by establishing partnerships to identify, address and meet the whole health needs of the community that is Cass County.
While Molendorp’s appointment is effective immediately, he will continue to honor his service to the Missouri legislature and his district through the remainder of the upcoming legislative session and the 2014 Veto Session.