WellCare of Kentucky Held Fourth Annual Community Health Champions Awards, Recognizing Individuals Helping to Support Healthy Communities Across the Commonwealth

Nine healthcare professionals recognized with awards and grants 

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Sept. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- WellCare of Kentucky, a prominent statewide provider of Medicaid managed care services, hosted its fourth annual Community Health Champions Awards on Wednesday, September 20, at Churchill Downs to honor individuals and organizations that have played a pivotal role in removing healthcare barriers, improving outcomes and supporting community wellbeing throughout the Commonwealth.

Governor Andy Beshear spoke at the event and recognize the extraordinary healthcare professionals who work to improve the quality of life in Kentucky's communities through service, volunteerism and advocacy.

"As Governor, and as a dad to two amazing kids, I believe access to quality health care is a basic human right – and ensuring that every family has access is an essential part of building a better Kentucky," said Gov. Beshear. "That is why I am so grateful for the work of this year's Community Health Champions. 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. Thank you to WellCare of Kentucky for continuing to recognize those who go above and beyond in helping their neighbors."

This year, nearly 300 nominations were submitted. One winner statewide winner was selected from each of the eight Kentucky Medicaid regions. Regional winners were awarded a $3,000 grant each for their organization and the state award winner received a $5,000 grant to go toward continuing the mission of their organization.

"I see our Community Health Champions as examples of the best of Kentucky," said WellCare of Kentucky Plan President, Corey Ewing. "Each of these individuals has worked to ensure that Kentuckians are physically, emotionally and mentally healthy – and they did it in deeply personal ways, giving their time, talent and heart in the process."

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

In Hayden's nomination by her peers she was described as playing 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. 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," said Ewing. "We know that people like her help make Kentucky communities healthier."

The 2023 Regional Community Health Champions included:

Region 1: Tiffany Riley, Kentucky Care
Riley is an inspiring Community Health Worker for Kentucky Care. Her impact on the lives of homeless individuals with physical and mental health problems is remarkable. She is also a lead facilitator at Western Kentucky Situation Table, connecting people at risk with essential resources. Tiffany's dedication goes above and beyond to secure every possible resource for her patients. Thanks to her valiant efforts, countless individuals who often slip through the cracks have been provided medical, dental, vision, and behavioral health services.

Region 2: Christy Hinton, River Valley Behavioral Health
As a 988 mental health first responder, Hinton is always on call, putting in up to 70 hours a week. But her commitment does not stop there. Hinton goes above and beyond for everyone she meets, always having a smile on her face. Alongside her demanding work schedule, Christy finds time to volunteer for New Beginnings and her local church.

Region 3: Sonja Grey, ECHO
Grey is dedicated to preventing and reducing child abuse through education, advocacy and support services in Louisville Metro. 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, she raises awareness and support for various causes. 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.

Region 4: Stacy Kuhn, Farmstead, Inc.
Kuhn volunteers at Farmstead, providing pro-bono equine-assisted psychotherapy to veterans. Equine-assisted therapy helps individuals with therapy through activities with horses. Farmstead provides a haven for those who have served our country. They understand that walking into a mental health clinic can be overwhelming, and they have created an anxiety-free environment. Kuhn, a trauma survivor, holds multiple licenses in counseling. Her unique qualifications and personal journey make her the perfect advocate for our veterans.

Region 5: Dustin Bowman, Frankfort Police Department
Chief Bowman has seen how drug use has impacted residents and families and understands that arresting their way out of the problem is not a long-term solution. Instead, he works with many organizations to address substance abuse treatment and prevention. 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.

Region 6: Matt and Jennifer Westwood, Chelsea Ryan Festival of Hope
Matt and Jennifer Westwood, our Region 6 winners, turned their pain into purpose. 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
Fountain works consistently to better the lives of individuals. She joined Ramey-Estep Regroup 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.

Dr. Key Douthitt, Breathitt County Long Term Recovery Team
Dr. Douthitt is the medical director of the North Fork Valley Community Health Center. Dr. Douthitt played a pivotal role in in helping rural communities during the flooding earlier this year. He organized door-to-door medical teams to hit the hardest effected 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.

Link to additional photos.

About WellCare of Kentucky
WellCare of Kentucky provides government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors, and individuals with complex needs primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans across the state. WellCare is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC), a Fortune 26 company that offers affordable and high-quality products to nearly 1 in 15 individuals across the nation. For more information, please visit www.wellcare.com/kentucky

SOURCE WellCare of Kentucky