CHICAGO and TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Harmony Health Plan, Inc., a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), recently honored four local champions in southern Illinois who are dedicated to helping their community members live better, healthier lives.
The 2017 Harmony CommUnity Hero awards were given in four categories—health care, education, advocacy and community support—based on nominations received from throughout the region. The winners are:
Health Care – Elizabeth Patton-Whiteside, public health administrator of the East Side Health District in East St. Louis, Illinois. Under Patton-Whiteside's leadership, East Side Health District has received numerous awards and proclamations including the coveted Illinois Governor's Hometown Award. She has contributed more than 40 years to the health care field including as head nurse of neurology intensive care, the operating room and recovery room. She also has served as director of professional services with Gibson Health Services. According to her nominator, Patton-Whiteside steps "… beyond her official role to truly engage the community she serves …. Her wiliness to partner and engage with organizations willing to better the overall health of the community is amazing."
Education –Reona Wise, vice president of educational programs at Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House in East St. Louis. Before taking on this role, Wise worked as a consultant on several projects with Lessie Bates and helped aid in the success of its "Put Illinois to Work Program and Summer Youth Employment Program." As a teen mom, Wise had to overcome many barriers and challenges in her educational journey. She is a strong advocate for education at every level and believes everyone needs support to reach their success. "Reona Wise has dedicated her career to education of the young residents of East St. Louis. She is an outspoken advocate for resources and a true leader in the field of early education," stated her nomination.
Advocacy – Sherrie Crabb, executive director of Family Counseling Center in Vienna, Illinois. Crabb began her career at Family Counseling Center in 2008 and was named its executive director in 2014, and has spent the last two years meeting with many state legislators and leaders, including Speaker Michael Madigan and Governor Bruce Rauner, to advocate for services throughout southern Illinois. In the spring of 2017, Crabb was honored by WPSD-TV on International Women's Day for her advocacy work. Her nominator said, "Sherrie is very passionate about educating local community members and professionals about issues and trends related to behavioral, developmental, and senior health in southern Illinois. Sherrie's deep commitment to keeping her community strong and vibrant transcends into everything she does ...."
Community Support – Keith Fletcher, pastor of Johnston City Free Will Baptist Church in Johnston City, Illinois. For the past eight years, Fletcher has coordinated the JC Kids' Lunch Bunch, providing summer meals to children and others in the community. Since 2014, this program has distributed more than 15,000 meals. It draws volunteers and support from dozens of local churches and businesses. "Rev. Keith Fletcher cares deeply about the health and well-being of all people, especially our children. He cared enough that he stepped up and formed a group here to feed healthy meals all summer, five days a week to any child in our town or Williamson County two to eighteen years of age with no cost to the child," said his nomination.
"Harmony Health Plan is proud to recognize these outstanding individuals who are working to help ensure our communities have access to vital services and resources," said David Reynolds, Harmony acting president and WellCare north division senior vice president. "We are committed to providing our members and communities with the resources they need to reach their optimal health. This cannot be achieved without the support of men and women like the ones honored as 2017 Harmony CommUnity Heroes."
Honorees received a $500 donation from Harmony Health Plan to the charity of their choice.
As of June 30, 2017, WellCare and Harmony Health Plan serve approximately 196,000 members in Illinois, including 145,000 Medicaid members, 17,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 34,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. WellCare serves approximately 4.4 million members nationwide as of June 30, 2017. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at www.wellcare.com or view the company's videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.