The importance of public health has become even more apparent in 2020, making it a fitting time to launch an award honoring Community Health Champions in Kentucky.
Last week, WellCare, the largest Medicaid provider in the state, honored nine Kentucky “Champions” for their work improving the “social determinants” of health. “Social determinants” is a phrase that refers to non-medical factors that affect health, like access to transportation and fresh food.
One “champion” was selected from each of eight Kentucky regions, with a statewide award going to Dr. Frances Feltner, who is the Director of the University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard.
“Dr. Feltner represents exactly the type of service, commitment, and passion that we want to support in Kentucky,” said Ben Orris, Chief Operating Officer for WellCare of Kentucky. “We know that people like Dr. Feltner help make Kentucky communities healthier.”
Felter and the other eight Kentucky champions were chosen from more than 200 nominees to be honored for volunteerism and service. The event, originally planned for March, was held virtually last week because of the pandemic.
WellCare of Kentucky awarded a $3,000 grant to the organization that nominated each of the eight regional winners and a $5,000 grant to the Center for Excellence in Rural Health in Dr. Feltner’s honor.
“I see our Community Health Champions as examples of the best of Kentucky,” Orris said. “Each of these individuals have 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.”
Winners received an original piece of artwork created by Jennifer Robertson, an eastern Kentucky welder and artist. The award was a metal sculpture that depicts Kentucky with a rising mountain and sun behind it.
Watch the event: