The Memorial Health Policy Award is named for Gil Friedell, first director of the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky and cofounder of the Kentucky Cancer Registry. He helped launch a nonprofit advocacy education organization in 2005 that later became the Friedell Committee for Health System Transformation. The Foundation created the award when it united with the Friedell Committee in 2018.
Denise Hall of Trimble County is this year’s winner of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky‘s Gil Friedell Health Policy Award for her substance-use prevention efforts among youth.
“Drug addiction is something far too many Kentuckians have seen first-hand, and that’s why Denise Hall’s work is so critical,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the foundation. “Her efforts to prevent future addictions and support the overall wellbeing of the youth of her community makes her the perfect person to receive the Friedell Award. At a time when so many young people are struggling with their mental health, Trimble County students can take comfort in knowing what a strong advocate they have on their side.”
Hall began working in the substance-use prevention field in 1998 at Seven Counties Services. In 2003, she became coordinator for the Trimble County Family Resource and Youth Services Center, an organization that connects students and their families to needed services, like utility assistance or clothes and food, as a way to remove nonacademic barriers to learning.
While with the FRYSC, Hall wrote two Drug Free Communities grants and directed them. In 2017, she gave up her coordinator position to focus on the grant program, which is in its 10th and final year.
Hall retired Oct. 1, with plans to assist local nonprofits and schools with grant writing and continue attending meetings of the Trimble CARES Coalition, of which she was managing director. CARES stands for Community Assessing Resources and Education on Substance misuse.
Hall’s work also includes implementing a Drug Education Series and a Sources of Strength group at Trimble County Junior/Senior High School. She made tools such as drug-testing kits and medication-deactivation kits available to parents and she provided one-on-one education for students who violated school drug and alcohol policies. She was also crucial in getting vape detectors installed at the high school. She has written grants for a small kitchen that allows for life-skills lessons in a special-needs classroom and for a washer and dryer at TCJSHS, and was instrumental in finding money to build a new wheelchair ramp after the old one broke.
“I am so honored to be chosen for this award,” Hall said. “So many wonderful people worked on these projects with me, and we so appreciate the amazing students of this community.”
The foundation makes a $5,000 grant to a Kentucky nonprofit working to improve health policy in the commonwealth in honor of the Friedell Award winner. Hall selected Trimble CARES Coalition, which works against the harmful effect of substance abuse and strives to ensure that all youth have support available to make positive, healthy choices.
Hall was selected from the foundation’s 2022 Healthy Kentucky Champions, Kentuckians honored for making a difference in the health of their communities or the state. Click here to nominate someone for the 2023 class of Healthy Kentucky Champions.