LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two statewide health promotion organizations today announced that they have joined forces to strengthen advocacy for state and local policies for improving health in Kentucky.
In announcing the unification, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Friedell Committee for Health System Transformation emphasized the organizations’ congruent missions and committed volunteers, and the value of speaking with a single, amplified voice to influence community and statewide health policy change.
Current members of the Friedell Committee with an interest will be appointed to the Foundation’s Community Advisory Council, which advises the foundation’s board of directors on overall policy and strategic direction. Foundation council members also serve as liaisons with Kentucky communities, putting the council at the center of the strategy shared by both the foundation and the Friedell Committee to expand community engagement statewide. The new members will join the existing 22 foundation council members.
In addition, the Foundation’s Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion of the Year award has been renamed the Gil Friedell Health Policy Champion award. Dr. Gil Friedell, the first director of the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky, helped launch a nonprofit advocacy education organization in 2005 that later became the Friedell Committee. Friedell died in September.
“We are looking forward to continuing the legacy of Dr. Friedell and supporting the advocacy and accountability efforts of the Foundation,” said Dr. Richard Heine, Friedell Committee executive director.
“Potentially tripling the size of our council and adding Friedell Committee members’ wealth of knowledge and expertise means reaching far deeper into Kentucky communities,” said LeChrista Finn, incoming chair of the foundation’s Community Advisory Council. “Friedell Committee and Foundation Council members make their homes throughout the commonwealth, so they can help the foundation better understand both the local issues and the local solutions. This is about better connecting the dots to a healthier future for the people of the commonwealth.”
The merger has been approved by boards for both organizations and is effective immediately. The legacy of the Friedell Committee – including in the areas of diabetes and obesity prevention – will continue through members’ work with the foundation. As of today, the Friedell Committee will no longer exist as an independent organization.
Mark Carter, chair of the foundation’s board of directors, said: “The prevention of obesity and diabetes is among the work included in the foundation’s 2019-2020 strategic plan, which we just approved. Our hope is to leverage Friedell Committee members’ expertise in this area to better bring coordinated community-wide solutions to this increasingly serious societal health issue.”