2024 Kansas Health Champion Awards

By Trish Svoboda

The 2024 Kansas Health Champion Awards will be presented at the Community Health Promotion Summit on Thursday, January 11, by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Governor’s Council on Wellness (GCOW).

The Health Champion Award was developed by the Governor’s Council to acknowledge and encourage outstanding contributions to wellness in the state.

The honorees include an individual and an organization, along with honorable mentions in each category.

Individual Health Champions are Vicki Gieber and Pat Brehm, Abilene. Gieber and Brehm are active members of the Quality-of-Life Coalition in Dickinson County, and have been involved in the Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant since 2020. Their efforts in the community include implementing tobacco-free policies, establishing a resident-led garden with a long-term care center, and contributing to the construction of a walking path at an Abilene hospital.

Organizational Health Champion is awarded to The City of Arma, which has actively pursued improvements in the health and well-being of its residents. In partnership with Live Well Crawford County, the city created a community garden at the Arma Public Library that offers free fresh produce to the community and surrounding areas. They have also recently introduced policies designating their city parks and sidewalks in McDonald Park as tobacco/vape-free zones.

Individual Honorable Mention goes to Lauren Wolf of Overland Park, a registered nurse and health and wellness advocate who assisted with organizing a walkathon for over 500 students while serving as President of her children’s elementary school Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).

Lastly, Organizational Honorable Mention is awarded to the Stormont Vail Health Mobile Clinic Team which has served Shawnee County since February of 2022, providing healthcare to underserved neighborhoods. They also aid with transportation needs and assist patients with Medicaid applications. In addition, the team collaborates with the Mobile Access Partnership to help those experiencing homelessness and offer services including showers, food, clothing, cell phones, and even veterinary care for pets.

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