Your Chamber at Work - November 21, 2023




Congratulations to Charlie Shields, the KC Chamber’s 2023 Kansas Citian of the Year!

The surprise announcement was made at the finale of the Chamber’s Annual Dinner at the KC Convention Center tonight.

I couldn’t be happier – I’ve worked with him the last several years thanks to his service on our Board of Directors and as an Officer. He’s politically astute, incredibly wise, and very genuine.

Charlie, as you probably know, is President & CEO of University Health (formerly known as Truman Medical Centers). He’s been in that position since 2014, and believes that University Health exists to serve as Kansas City's essential hospital, providing quality care to those with the very best insurance and those with no insurance at all as well as to serve as an academic medical center, preparing the doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists of the future.

He’s a visionary – co-founder and board member of the UMKC Health Sciences District in what locals know as Hospital Hill. The new district is a collaboration between University Health, UMKC schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Dentistry; Children’s Mercy Hospital; the Kansas City Health Department, and other entities. The idea: to create a true academic health center investing in research, advancing intellectual collaboration, and developing a space for health innovation unlike any other in the region.

I mentioned his political acumen – Charlie served in the Missouri General Assembly for 20 years, the last two years as Majority Leader of the Senate. Former KCMO Mayor Kay Barnes says he was instrumental in getting the legislation passed that made downtown redevelopment possible during her term.

He started his political career on his local school board, and remains committed to education – now serving as Chair of the Missouri Board of Education. He says, "Education is the number-one determinant of economic status, and economic status is the number-one determinant of health status," bringing together the importance of education in living a long and healthy life.

2022 Kansas Citian of the Year Bill Berkley presented the award, calling him “humble, thoughtful, and wise,” someone who “has all the characteristics of an inspiring leader worthy of recognition – even if he shies away from the attention.”

Congratulations again to Charlie Shields! And Happy Thanksgiving to you all.