We are excited for our co-founder and CEO Brandi Harless for being honored for 2 major health awards in the state of Kentucky!
The award is presented to individuals who have effected positive change in the healthcare space through their advocacy efforts and was established by the KMA House of Delegates in 2017. Mayor Harless has a background in global health, which includes HIV research in Sierra Leone, West Africa. As Mayor of Paducah, she has also been instrumental in expanding the smoke-free ordinance and in working to bring the “Blue Zones” project of improving community health to Paducah.
“Mayor Harless has certainly led the way among local leaders to ensure that her community lives healthier, longer lives,” said KMA Past President Maurice Oakley, M.D.
Brandi has also been named a Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky for her leadership toward enacting a stronger smoke-free ordinance in the city. The award recognizes individuals and organizations working to improve the health of Kentuckians through policy change.
From the media release
Harless worked with several organizations to strengthen Paducah's existing smoke-free law for years before she was elected mayor, according to Michael Muscarella, executive director of ambulatory services at Baptist Health Paducah, who nominated Harless for the award. He said Harless worked with Healthy McCracken County, the Purchase Area Health Connections and McCracken County Agency on Substance Abuse and Prevention.
"Working with her before she became mayor, she guided our coalitions to gain the most current data on smoking ordinances to help our group draft an improved smoking ordinance to reduce the risk of secondhand smoke and to include vaping and e-cigarettes," Muscarella wrote. "She was instrumental in helping us communicate our message to the City Council and the public to gain support. Our coalitions could not have done this without Mayor Harless' wisdom and keen sense of timing."
"Mayor Harless is a change agent for improved policies to protect the public from secondhand smoke," said Dona Rains, director of community outreach at Baptist Health Paducah and a member of the Foundation's board of directors. Rains endorsed Harless for the award. "She also has been a keystone in other efforts to improve regional health and education."
Rains highlighted Harless' work to develop the Purchase Area Health Connections (PAHC) nonprofit organization, which has obtained $1 million in grants.
"She is a prime example of Paducah pride - returning home to put her advance public health education and knowledge to work for the betterment of her fellow citizens," Rains said.
"A strong leader like Mayor Harless can bring committed organizations together to transform community health," said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "She understands the importance of collaboration and her guiding influence with local health coalitions and agencies was key in focusing their efforts and transitioning Paducah to a comprehensive smoke-free community."
"I am honored to have received such awards from these inspiring health industry leaders in Kentucky. I am proud of the work I have been able to do in my hometown. My work with PreventScripts is the extension of that. My vision is to use digital technology to help patients and primary care providers slant our healthcare system towards primary prevention. What better place to do this than from the state with the unhealthiest population?" says Harless.
About the Kentucky Medical Association
The Kentucky Medical Association is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization that supports physician members and their patients with a variety of services. The KMA, established in 1851, represents and supports nearly 7,000 physicians, physician residents, and medical students across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Learn more about the KMA and its programs at www.kyma.org.
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 healthrisks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested nearly $28 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.