(LOUISVILLE, Ky - May 3, 2018) Paducah cardiologist Pat Withrow has been named a Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The award recognizes individuals and organizations working to improve the health of Kentuckians through policy change.
Dr. Withrow, director of outreach for Baptist Health Paducah and governor-elect of the Kentucky Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, has "worked tirelessly to promote education, prevention and health care improvement in our region," according to the Foundation's immediate past board chair, Charlie Ross, of Mayfield. "From improved ambulance response in rural counties, to writing op-ed pieces on preventive health in the local newspaper, Pat has been a leader in raising awareness of science-based, data-driven health improvements," Ross said.
Dr. Pat Withrow, Paducah cardiologist, receives the Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion award from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. Pictured, left to right: Chris Roty, president, Baptist Health Paducah; Dr. Withrow; Ben Chandler, president and CEO, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky; Charlie Ross, immediate past board chair of the Foundation; and Dona Rains, director of community outreach, Baptist Health Paducah.
Withrow's recent advocacy work to promote a $1 increase in the state cigarette tax to reduce smoking - during which he holds high his home-made oversized cigarette, calling it the most effective drug delivery device on the planet - follows a long history of health promotion efforts in the Commonwealth. He became director of the heart center at Baptist Health Paducah when it opened in 2007. In that role, he focused on reducing childhood obesity as a heart disease prevention effort. His "Wizard of Health" presentations for elementary students focus on healthy eating, exercise and refraining from smoking. Withrow also advocated for CPR training in high schools, after which he worked with area EMS teams to provide the student instruction. He often tours middle schools with a police officer and recovering addict to discuss with the children the dangers of opioids.
"His ability to communicate and enhance public understanding of these issues has made him a favorite for media interviews and civic club speeches," said Dona Rains, Director of Community Outreach at Baptist Health Paducah and a member of the Foundation's board of directors. "He is known locally and statewide for his advocacy of improved health. I know firsthand he is a health champion for our area."
"Pat is certainly an advocate for policies that will help make people healthier," said Foundation President and CEO Ben Chandler. "But he goes beyond advocacy to education and implementation. He engages in the work from beginning to end, only he has yet to cross a finish line that made him hang up his stethoscope. He keeps on advocating, keeps on teaching and keeps on working to ensure his Kentucky neighbors and colleagues have the best chance at a healthier life."
Dr. Withrow is now eligible for the Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion of the Year award, which comes with a $5,000 grant from the Foundation to a Kentucky-based nonprofit of the winner's choice. That winner of that award will be announced on Sept. 24 at the Foundation's Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum in Lexington. Nominations for the Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion Award are accepted at any time. See details on the Foundation's website.
About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested more than $27 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth