NKY Health Honors Local Public Health Heroes

February 19, 2020


Contact:    Laura Brinson
Public Health Impacts Administrator

NKY Health Honors Local Public Health Heroes

FLORENCE, Ky. — NKY Health has presented five Northern Kentucky Public Health Heroes awards to four individuals and one organization for their support of public health initiatives in the region. These awards are to honor an organization, group and/or individual in recognition of outstanding work for the advancement of public health efforts that have significantly contributed to the establishment of a healthier community.

Awards were recently presented to the following:

  • Bill Birkle and the Kentucky Fire Commission, for the use of their mobile command center to support harm reduction services in Covington and Newport.  Through their partnership, as of February 1, 2020, the Newport syringe access exchange program has served 805 individuals, and the Covington program has served 1,473 individuals. The syringe access exchange program creates a healthier community by preventing overdose deaths, reducing the spread of infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C, and providing connections to addiction treatment and other services.
  • Ashel Kruetzkamp, MSN, RN and Leigh Tekulve, MSN, RN, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, for championing routine HIV and hepatitis C testing and hepatitis A vaccines to high risk individuals who present to St. Elizabeth Emergency Departments. Early identification of diseases like HIV and hepatitis C can lead to earlier treatment, better health outcomes and reduce the spread of infection in the community.
  • Kentucky Representative Kim Moser, for her sponsorship of Kentucky House Bill 11, otherwise known as the Tobacco Free Schools Bill. This bill, which became law in 2019, has led to 100% of the public school districts in Northern Kentucky adopting smoke-free policies. Smoke-free policies in schools not only protect students and staff from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, but also support healthy role modeling for youth.

“Congratulations to Northern Kentucky’s Public Health Heroes,” stated NKY Health’s District Director of Health, Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH. “It is because of their hard work and dedication that we are able to move further towards our vision of Northern Kentucky being the healthiest region in the nation.”

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The Northern Kentucky Health Department provides high-quality public health services to more than 400,000 residents of Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties, with a goal of preventing disease, promoting wellness and protecting against health threats. The Health Department seeks to be a nationwide leader in public health and was one of the first in the country to earn national public health accreditation. For more information, visit www.nkyhealth.org.