By Abuzar Iqbal, Building Kentucky
On September 20, 2023, WellCare of Kentucky hosted its fourth annual Community Health Champions Awards at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The award honors individuals and organizations throughout the Commonwealth that play a pivotal role in removing barriers, improving outcomes, and supporting community wellbeing.
Gov. Andy Beshear attended and spoke at the event. “A big thank you to WellCare of Kentucky for its role in the health of our communities, and for continuing to recognize those that go above and beyond and beyond in helping their neighbors,” Beshear said. “Thanks to efforts of these winners, we’ve connected Kentuckians to important social supports like food pantries and meal programs, mental health services, housing and utility programs, and transportation.”
The nine winners were selected from 295 nominations. Those honored represent the eight Kentucky Medicaid regions and one statewide winner. WellCare will award a $3,000 grant to the regional winners and a $5,000 grant to the statewide winner.
“I see our Community Health Champions as examples of the best of Kentucky,” said Corey Ewing, Plan President for WellCare. “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 of Catholic Charities of Owensboro. In Hayden’s nomination, she was described as person that played a crucial role managing recovery efforts from the tornados that ripped across Western Kentucky, and helped the most marginalized Kentuckians recover from the natural disaster. Hayden provided assistance to over 4,000 survivors through her tireless work, bringing hope back 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.”
2023 Community Health Champion winners
Statewide: Katina Hayden, Catholic Charities of Owensboro
Region 1: Tiffany Riley, Kentucky Care
Region 2: Christy Hinton, River Valley Behavioral Health
Region 3: Sonja Grey, ECHO
Region 4: Stacy Kuhn, Farmstead, Inc.
Region 5: Dustin Bowman, Frankfort Police Department
Region 6: Matt and Jennifer Westwood, Chelsea Ryan Festival of Hope
Region 7: Faith Fountain, Ramey-Estep/Re-Group.
Region 8: Dr. Key Douthitt, Breathitt County Long Term Recovery Team