WellCare of Kentucky, a manager of Medicaid, honors nine Kentucky health heroes with Community Health Champion awards

Kentucky Health News
WellCare of Kentucky, one of the companies that manages Medicaid coverage for the state, honored nine people as “community health champions” for their efforts to improve the physical and mental well-being of Kentuckians.
Gov. Andy Beshear spoke at the Wednesday event, recognizing the health-care professionals who work to improve the quality of life in Kentucky’s communities through service, volunteerism and advocacy.

“All of this year’s nominees are integral partners in supporting the well-being of Kentuckians, and I am proud to be a part of this ceremony honoring their efforts,” said Beshear. “Thank you to WellCare of Kentucky for continuing to recognize those who go above and beyond in helping their neighbors.”

The statewide award was presented to Katina Hayden, director of case management of Catholic Charities of Owensboro.

Hayden’s nomination by her peers said she played a crucial role in managing recovery efforts from the tornados that ripped across Western Kentucky in July, and helped the most marginalized Kentuckians recover from the natural disaster, a nws relese said. Hayden provided assistance to more than 4,000 survivors through her tireless work, helping to provide hope to 14 counties.

“Katina represents exactly the type of service, commitment, and passion that we want to support in Kentucky,” WellCare Plan President Corey Ewing said. “We know that people like her help make Kentucky communities healthier.”

The 2023 Regional Community Health Champions, by Medicaid region, are:

Region 1: Tiffany Riley, Kentucky Care community health worker, for her “remarkable” impact on the lives of homeless individuals with physical and mental health problems. She was also recognized for her work as a lead facilitator at Western Kentucky Situation Table, connecting people at risk with essential resources. “Thanks to her valiant efforts, countless individuals who often slip through the cracks have been provided medical, dental, vision, and behavioral health services,” says the release.

Region 2: Christy Hinton, River Valley Behavioral Health 988 mental-health first responder, for putting in up to 70 hours a week, and her volunteering for New Beginnings and her local church. “But her commitment does not stop there. Hinton goes above and beyond for everyone she meets, always having a smile on her face,” says the release.

Region 3: Sonja Grey, Exploited Children’s Help Organization, for her dedication to preventing and reducing child abuse through education, advocacy and support services in Louisville. It also says she actively partners with non-profit organizations, schools, and youth-serving organizations while serving in multiple leadership roles, with more than 15 years of experience in leading nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses “Grey is extensively involved in the community, serving on multiple task forces and advisory councils for organizations like Kosair for Kids-FaceIt Movement campaign and Jefferson County Public Schools,” says the release.

Region 4: Stacy Kuhn, Farmstead Inc., for her work as a volunteer providing pro bono equine-assisted psychotherapy to veterans. “Kuhn, a trauma survivor, holds multiple licenses in counseling. Her unique qualifications and personal journey make her the perfect advocate for our veterans,” says the release.

Region 5: Dustin Bowman, Frankfort Police Department, for his work in addressing substance abuse treatment and prevention, and understanding that arresting people is not a long-term solution. “Bowman is involved in school activities, substance abuse prevention initiatives, and organizations addressing homelessness and affordable housing. Chief Bowman has secured grants for collaborative efforts between law enforcement and service organizations,” says the release.

Region 6: Matt and Jennifer Westwood, Chelsea Ryan Festival of Hope, for their efforts to spread awareness about mental health, having “turned their pain into purpose,” the release says. “After their daughter’s tragic suicide, they dedicated themselves to helping the students at Lloyd Memorial High School. Through their fall festival, Chelsea Ryann Festival of Hope, they not only raised funds but also spread awareness about mental health. It is a joyful event where the community comes together, and mental health resources are readily available. Every year, they raise an average of $10,000, which helps the counselors bring in outside help for students in need.”

Region 7: Faith Fountain, Ramey-Estep/Re-group, for her work to better people’s lives. She joined the organization as a youth support specialist in 2012 and has worked with more than 200 young people. “Faith is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion within the community. She serves on several community action boards, working to ensure equitable representation and opportunities for all. Faith initiated programs such as free ordainment ceremonies, fostering inclusivity and supporting individuals from various backgrounds,” says the release.

Region 8: Dr. Key Douthitt, Breathitt County Long-Term Recovery Team, for his work as the medical director of the North Fork Valley Community Health Center, where he played a pivotal role in in helping rural communities during the flood of 2022. According to the release, “He organized door-to-door medical teams to hit the hardest affected areas across Breathitt, Knott, Perry and Letcher counties. He coordinated 13 teams and administered over 2,500 tetanus vaccines. Dr. Douthitt also established a hotline for flood-related medical needs. Furthermore, he also helped replace lost medications for those in shelters at Wolfe and Perry counties.”

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