The Foundation’s Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion Awards Program recognizes individuals and organizations engaged in improving the health of people in their communities and/or the entire Commonwealth through policy change. The goals of this awards program include:
  • Raising awareness of the role that laws, regulations and policies can play in creating conditions to improve health, in part by making the healthier choice an easier choice.
  • Lifting up the efforts of individuals and organizations promoting evidence-based policies to improve health in Kentucky.
  • Further supporting the work of nonprofit organizations working in this space.
There are two levels of awards in this program:

The Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion Award: Honorees receive a framed certificate, and are publicly recognized by a Foundation official. The Foundation also distributes a news release announcing the award to local and statewide media. Honorees of this award automatically become eligible for the higher-level award:

The Gil Friedell Health Policy Champion Award: The Friedell Award winner is selected from among Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion Award honorees each year. The winner is announced at the annual Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum, typically held in September. The Foundation distributes a news release announcing the award to local and statewide media and also makes a $5,000 cash award in the Friedell Award winner’s name to a Kentucky-based 501(c)(3) organization of their choice that is working to advance health policy in the Commonwealth.

Nominee Minimum Qualifications:

  • An Individual or organization residing or working in Kentucky
  • Nonprofit, for-profit, education or government
  • Those not eligible for awards include campaigns for political office, religious organizations for religious purposes, and organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, disability, military or marital status in hiring
  • Has not received the Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion Award during the prior two years

Award Criteria:

  • The nominee has advanced policy ─ private corporate, nonprofit or other institutional policy, or a local or statewide law ─ or work that will lead to policy change, that is or would be instrumental to achieving improvement in community or statewide health in Kentucky.
  • Either the quantified health improvement(s) already has been achieved, or the work is reasonably expected to generate future health benefits.
  • The policy focuses on one or more of the following:
    • one or more specific health issues
    • access to health care
    • equity in public health
    • adding a health perspective to a non-health policy

Nominations are accepted at any time during the year. All nominations are reviewed and winners are chosen by a team of Foundation staff and selected Community Advisory Council members. Up to two honorees may be selected monthly. See complete award qualifications and nomination requirements here.

2017 Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion Award Recipients

  • Casey County Youth Coalition 

2018 Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion Award Recipients

  • Dr. Pat Withrow
  • Andy Shea, President and CEO, Lexington Legends
  • Jim Gray, Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky
  • Brandi Harless, Mayor of Paducah, Kentucky
  • Dr. Van Breeding 
  • Jack Rose, Mayor of Murray, Kentucky
  • McCreary County Kentucky
  • Wayne County Kentucky

2019 Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion Award Recipients

  • JUUL Breakers (Johnson County Middle School)
  • Valerie Horn
  • Carolyn Richey
  • Alice Bridges
  • Hazard High school Tobacco-Free Ambassador Partnership
  • Teresa Koeller
  • Jamie Bloyd
  • Sheila Schuster
  • Neva Francis
  • Scott Lockard

2020 Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion Award Recipients

  • Abby Hefner
  • Richard Seckel
  • Sadiqa Reynolds
  • Fran Feltner
  • Melissa Patrick
  • Albert Gray

2017-2018 Gil Friedell Health Policy Champion Award Recipient (formerly Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion of the Year Award)

  • McCreary County and Wayne County

2019 Gil Friedell Health Policy Champion Award Recipient  

  • Sheila Schuster 

2020 Gil Friedell Health Policy Champion Award Recipient

  • Richard Seckel

Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion Award

Nomination Form

Please send two (2) letters of endorsement and up to five (5) additional pages of background to Alexa Kerley at with the nominee name in the subject line. Nominations also may be mailed to: Alexa Kerley, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, 1640 Lyndon Farm Court, Suite 100, Louisville, KY 40223.