Kaley Collins

ARH Scholars Fall 2019 Winner: Kaley Collins

Twice a year, students from across the region are invited to apply for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Scholars program. The ARH Scholars are awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue a degree in healthcare. Their stories are unique, but a common thread unites every winner: a desire to make a difference to the people of Appalachia through healthcare. The Fall 2019 class of ARH Scholars included ten talented future healthcare providers, like Kaley Collins, from West Liberty.

As a senior at Morgan County High School, Kaley, like most teenagers, tries to balance work and fun as much as possible: “I love hanging out with my friends and doing activities on the weekends,” Kaley says, “but I also work very hard in school and try to get the best grades I can.” Even while she’s in the middle of her final year as a high school student, she’s already making plans for her future. In the fall, she’ll be a first-year nursing student at Morehead State University.

“I chose nursing because I love the feeling of helping people,” Kaley says. “My aunt and cousin both worked at Morgan County ARH. Being around them and hearing them talk about the gratifying experiences they’ve had in nursing is what originally sparked my interest in the medical field.”

At Morgan County High School, Kaley has already begun her medical studies. “I have an instructor who worked at ARH as a nurse,” Kaley says, and recalls the classes she’s taken so far: “Principles of Health Science, Medical Terminology, and Emergency Procedures. This year I’m taking Nurse Aide, too, and at the end of the year I’ll get to go and take the state test to become a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant.)” Kaley has enjoyed every medical class she’s taken so far and can’t wait to further her studies in the nursing program at Morehead State.

Kaley talks about nursing in a very specific way: she doesn’t just want to help people, she wants to help the people of Morgan County, where she was born and raised. “I want to give back to this community,” she says, “I love West Liberty. It’s a family town, and everyone knows everyone else. We’re all close. So, in the future, I see myself living and working in Morgan County.”

There’s a lot to be done between now and the future that Kaley is working toward, and she knows it. Already, she’s looking beyond her 2024 college graduation, and exploring post-baccalaureate programs, like the physician assistant program at the University of Kentucky. Seeing years of schooling ahead of her inspired Kaley to apply for the ARH Scholars program.

“Our guidance counselor shares all of the available scholarships with us, and of course, ARH Scholars interested me because it was for the medical field. When I got a letter in the mail saying that I’d gotten the scholarship, I felt so relieved because that money helps a lot.” Kaley says, mentioning how expensive college can be. “And,” she continues, “it’s an honor to be named as a recipient, because ARH is our local hospital. It feels like my community is supporting me now, and then later I can give back to my community. I want to see my patients get better; I want to change people’s lives.”

Courtney Kincaid

ARH Scholars Fall 2019 Winner: Courtney Kincaid

Twice a year, students from across the region are invited to apply for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Scholars program. The ARH Scholars are awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue a degree in healthcare. Their stories are unique, but a common thread unites every winner: a desire to make a difference to the people of Appalachia through healthcare. The Fall 2019 class of ARH Scholars included ten talented future healthcare providers, like Courtney Kincaid, a first-year nursing student from Meadowbridge, West Virginia.

Courtney has always felt drawn to nursing. “Nursing is all I could really see myself doing, even from a very young age,” she says. “My grandmother was an LPN in the neonatal unit at a local hospital, and I always looked up to her. I wanted to care for people like she did and have the kind of heart that she had.”

While Courtney was attending Meadowbridge High School, she was already caring for people in her community by participating in her local church group and volunteering at food pantries. Then, her friend was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a rare type of cancer with next to no funding. Courtney decided to do her senior community service project with the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Network Foundation, an experience that piqued Courtney’s interest in cancer and disease research.

Now a nursing freshman at West Virginia Tech in Beckley, Courtney is convinced that she’s chosen the right path. As a part of WVU Tech’s student nursing association, she’s given the opportunity to talk to more experienced students about what to expect in later years. “I’m not at the point where I’m doing clinicals yet, but talking to older students about their experiences has helped me to know that this is what I want to do.”

Courtney’s hope is to get a nursing externship at ARH, before pursuing post-baccalaureate training to become a Nurse Practitioner. Ultimately, her goal is working at a family practice near her hometown. “I want to stay in this community and give back,” she says. “I want to make a difference in the life of every patient I see. There are so many people around here who need help, and my community has done so much for me.” Beyond just giving treatment, Courtney sees her responsibility as a healthcare provider entailing something more. “I want to have a relationship with my patients and their families. I want to help them feel comforted when they’re sick and scared.”

Courtney is grateful for the support of her parents, teachers, friends, and community. When a friend sent her the link to the ARH Scholars application, Courtney says that she thought “my friend thought maybe I would get this, so I’ll try it.” When she got her acceptance letter in the mail, she was stunned, but honored. “I didn’t expect to get it. So many people apply, and I know it’s hard to choose, but it feels like a vote of confidence in me. It feels like my community believes in me. I’m so grateful for that, and I hope I’ll be able to give back to them in the future.”


This story was featured in the February 23rd edition of the Beckley Register-Herald.

Jaxson Ratliff

ARH Scholars Fall 2019 Winner: Jaxson Ratliff

Twice a year, students from across the region are invited to apply for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Scholars program. The ARH Scholars are awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue a degree in healthcare. Their stories are unique, but a common thread unites every winner: a desire to make a difference to the people of Appalachia through healthcare. The Fall 2019 class of ARH Scholars included ten talented future healthcare providers, like Jaxson Ratliff, a senior at Johnson Central High School.

As part of the Johnson Central High School student council and spirit club, an ARH youth health ambassador, and an active part of his church’s youth group and praise team, Jaxson keeps pretty busy. He attributes that to the positive influence of his family, and especially his mother, who teaches chemistry at Johnson Central. “My mom is one of hardest-working people I know. She tries her best at everything she does, gives everything she has, and drives me to work as hard as possible.” Jaxson says his mom’s example and encouragement has made him the student that he is today.

While Jaxson is wrapping up his senior year in high school, he’s already looking ahead. At Johnson Central, he’s been preparing for a career in healthcare by participating in a biomedical science program through Project Lead the Way. “I just love everything involved with that program: the teachers and the curricula are great, and it’s been very eye-opening in terms of what you can do within the medical field.”

Even before beginning the biomedical sciences program, Jaxson already thought he’d like to go into the medical field. His 7-year-old brother, Carson, was born with Down syndrome, and has had many medical challenges in his short life. “My little brother is an inspiration to me. He’s been through so much in his 7 years: surgeries, therapy three times a week, doctor’s appointments. But he always has a smile on his face and he’s always happy. If anyone embodies perseverance, it’s him.”

Jaxson was particularly influenced by the way that Carson’s occupational therapist positively impacted his life. “He started OT when he was about two weeks old, and his therapist has been so wonderful for him. He’s made huge strides that I don’t think he would have made without the help of a professional who cares about what she does and cares about him. As I watched him start to progress under her care, it made me think ‘I would love to be able to do the same thing and have that kind of impact.’ So, as I’ve been trying to decide what to do professionally, occupational therapy has been one of the frontrunners for me.”

It was through his participation with the ARH Youth Health Ambassadors program that Jaxson was introduced to the ARH Scholars program, and with sights set on healthcare he decided to apply. When he found out that he’d been selected, “it was definitely a day of celebration in the Ratliff household!” he says. He’s putting his scholarship towards his first year at Morehead State University, beginning in the fall of 2020. He’ll be majoring in exercise science and, he hopes, minoring in traditional music, before continuing on to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree.

Ultimately Jaxon just wants to help those in need. “I want to see special needs individuals develop in the best way that they can. I want to be able to provide an experience for patients like my brother has with his therapist. She’s been with him since he was two and does an amazing job in every session with him. She is always thinking of new ways to try to help him learn and grow. Every special needs person should have the chance to have the same level of caring. I want to provide that.”

ARH staff accountant keeps his father’s legacy alive with toy drive

Appalachian Regional Healthcare Staff Accountant Greg Champion has been with the organization for three years, but during the holiday season, his efforts extend beyond revenue adjustments. This winter marks the fourteenth annual “Christmas With Kenny’s Kids” toy drive, a tradition first begun by Greg’s father, Kenny.

When Champion’s father was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he (Kenny) realized right away that he needed a way to keep busy.

“He was always an upbeat person and while he was getting chemotherapy treatments and couldn’t really go out in public too much, he started to get bored. That’s when he got the idea to organize a toy drive to benefit the working poor,” said Champion, explaining that the toy drive was a method for his father to help others while staying busy.

Champion said his father worked for the Attorney General’s office as a child support investigator, and often saw children who likely wouldn’t get much for Christmas. The toy drive, Champion said, was conceived as a way to help families who work every day, but after bills, might not have enough left over to get Christmas presents for their children.

“This year alone, the toy drive benefited about 800 kids from infancy up to about 15 years old,” said Champion.

The toy drive is hosted by the Knott County Youth Foundation at the Knott County Sportsplex each December, but the actual drive begins much earlier, said Champion. The first step, he said, is to solicit donations from the community. Then, volunteers purchase toys and gifts for those in need, Champion said. According to Champion, this year, about 1,000 gifts were purchased. The gifts are sorted, wrapped, and packaged before being handed out to toy drive attendees. If families can’t make it up to the Sportsplex for the event, volunteers will hand-deliver gifts throughout the county.

Champion says that for those who are interested, donations for the Toy Drive are always appreciated. Follow the Christmas with Kenny’s Kids Facebook page for updates on Toy Drive dates.

ARH Director of Specialty Pharmacy Services Awarded Top Designation

Mike Herald, PharmD, BCPS, Named a Fellow by the Kentucky Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists

(Hazard, Kentucky): Mike Herald, PharmD, BCPS was recently named a Fellow of the Kentucky Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (KSHP). A Fellowship is the most prestigious title awarded by the organization; Dr. Herald is only the 33rd fellow named in the society’s nearly 60-year history.

Dr. Herald has served in a number of leadership roles within KSHP, including chair of the society’s house of delegates and, later, president. Dr. Herald has been praised by contemporaries for his strong leadership, vision, and legislative advocacy during his tenure as president of KSHP.

“Being named a ‘Fellow’ by the KSHP is a tremendous honor for me,” Dr. Herald said. “Being a member of this organization and receiving this award, I feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself. It feels like a validation of the way that I’ve approached my career. Of course, I’m also very humbled. I hope that, moving forward, I can continue being a representative of my practice and my region.”

Dr. Herald began his career as a pharmacy intern at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center in 1997, while in the University of Kentucky’s College of Pharmacy. He graduated from UK with a Magna Cum Laude Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2000. Throughout his career, Dr. Herald has shared his passion for patient care throughout the state and region. He has served as a speaker, guest lecturer, and associate professor at institutions like the Appalachian College of Pharmacy and the Sullivan University College of Pharmacy. He has also been published in a number of professional journals and has served as a research pharmacist in dozens of pharmaceutical research projects. Dr. Herald was the Coordinator of Clinical Pharmacy Services at the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center from 2000 to 2016. Now, he serves as the Director of Specialty Pharmacy Services for Appalachian Regional Healthcare in Hazard, KY, where he has shaped the specialty pharmacy program and spearheaded the first local distribution center for high-cost, high-touch medications in the region.

“Mike is the first ARH pharmacist to be named a Fellow by KSHP,” said Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center CCEO, Dan Stone. “We’re incredibly proud of him for his achievement. The Specialty Pharmacy and Appalachian Regional Healthcare are better for his leadership, involvement, and of course, his outstanding patient care.” To learn more or to schedule interviews, contact Linda Schuster by email at Linda@QtheAgency.com, or by phone at 502-592-5400.


About Appalachian Regional Healthcare (arhcareers.org)

Appalachian Regional Healthcare is a not for profit health system serving more than 400,000 residents across Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia. Operating 13 hospitals, multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, and retail pharmacies, ARH employs nearly 6,000 people around the region. ARH was also recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of Kentucky’s Top Ten Employers, based on employee satisfaction surveys. The ARH team is among the best-paid in the region and enjoys comprehensive benefits and perks like an employee referral program, paid time off, and more!

Appalachian Regional Healthcare Performs First Same-Day-Home Hip Replacement in the ARH System

This month, Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center successfully executed the first same-day-home hip replacement performed in the ARH system.

Traditional hip replacement surgeries involve making a sizeable incision along the patient’s hip, up to ten inches, in order to replace a painful hip joint. Same-day-home hip replacement is a similar procedure but performed through a much smaller incision. The surgeon also avoids cutting or detaching any muscles during the procedure, resulting in less tissue injury, less blood loss, and a faster return to everyday activity.

Dr. Ryan Shephard, the ARH orthopedic surgeon who performed the procedure, says that not every patient is suited to same-day-home hip replacement. Ensuring that the patient has adequate care once they’re home recovering and providing extensive patient education before the procedure are just some of the vital prerequisites.

Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center is proud to offer this minimally invasive surgical technique for hip replacement patients who meet the criteria


Above article was published November 7, 2019 – Special To The Hazard Herald

Nicole Vanhoose: Putting everything together to go from CNA to RN

Hundreds of patients have been cared for by Nicole Vanhoose, a registered nurse (RN) in Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center’s Oncology Medical Surgical unit. Nonetheless, there is one individual she remembers with perfect clarity.

“He had leukemia,” she said. “He was going to be an in-patient, stuck inside the hospital for at least a month. After a couple of weeks, he was going stir-crazy. I knew I had to do something to help him cope, which in turn would allow him to heal and respond to the treatment.”

Part of the reason she remembers this particular patient so well is because he was emblematic of most patients from eastern Kentucky. “Like so many others who live in this area, he needed to see the mountains and to breathe fresh air. He was basically alone and staring at the walls. Time was dragging. When you get a diagnosis like leukemia, your world is suddenly turned upside down. One minute you’re thinking about getting someone to soccer practice and suddenly all that falls away and you are totally focused on your health. Most of the time you need treatment immediately, but just because you have to stop everything doesn’t mean everyone around you needs to stop everything too. Oftentimes, someone still needs to get to soccer. I knew his family couldn’t stay or even visit him during that month of treatment. He was sick, alone, and without fresh air.”

So Vanhoose, who has worked as an RN for ARH for over 11 years, began problem solving how she might get this patient some fresh air. “Windows weren’t enough,” she said, “so IV poles and tubes were packed up and off we went. I rolled him outdoors every day after that. When he could look up and see the sky and feel the air on his face, it was magic. I like to think that was almost as beneficial as the cancer treatments.”

“He came back to the unit just recently. He’s doing fine and is cancer-free. It was a great feeling for all of us,” she continued, referring to her teammates who deal with cancer diagnoses every day. “It’s not an easy unit. Oftentimes you are the last person they see as they take their last breath. It’s important work. I left once and worked rehabilitation in home health, but I knew this was where I was supposed to be and I came back pretty quickly.”

Vanhoose is currently the nurse manager in charge of the oncology unit where she works. She says it is very important that everyone on her team feels like family. “I grew up here. This is where I became who I am and it was because of an incredible nurse manager who mentored me. I love the fact that I now have her job and am able to pay it forward, just as she did.”

Neither of Vanhoose’s parents had the privilege of graduating high school, so when she earned her diploma from Knott Central High School, she had her eye on being the first to go to college. “I knew I wanted to go into nursing because we had cared for my grandmother after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was bed-bound and then she fell and broke her hip. Soon it was hospice, but I remember what a difference excellent nursing care made to my grandmother, during that last period in her life.”

Vanhoose may have known all along that she wanted to be a nurse, but she never imagined the path she would take to make that dream a reality. “Because of a low ACT score, I didn’t get accepted into the nursing program at Hazard Community & Technical College. I was pretty discouraged,” she said. “But I had completed everything I needed for my Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) training while in high school, so I thought I’d work hard and figure out next steps.” While figuring the next step, she never took her eyes off her dream.

Vanhoose began her career at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center as a CNA. “I did what I had to do to get into school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). I completed that training and worked at ARH for five years as an LPN. Even though I wasn’t where I wanted to eventually be, I was still caring for patients and I was learning all along the way.”

While working as an LPN, Vanhoose was accepted into an RN program and realized her dream of becoming a registered nurse. But she didn’t stop there.

“I have always prized education. I’m a life-long learner and ARH has made it possible for me to work, support my family, and pursue my dreams,” she said. In July, Vanhoose will secure her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from Chamberlain College and will have officially gone from starting as a CNA to becoming a BSN.

Vanhoose is grateful for all the obstacles she has had to overcome. “I have two children and I hope I am modeling for them how to take a situation that may be initially discouraging and turn it around into something positive. I want them to know and believe that you can do anything if you really want to.”

Vanhoose also knows the already difficult route to her dream of being a BSN would have been much more difficult without the support of her employer, Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH). “They worked with me every step of the way,” she said. “Especially my manager, who would accommodate my schedule and figure out ways I could go to school and still work full- time. “For a long time, I went to school Monday through Thursday and then I’d work the weekends. If a test came up at a difficult time, she would work it out for me.”

Today, as one of the nursing leaders at Hazard ARH, Vanhoose is making a difference in the lives of those who now work on her team. “I want to them to know that I understand,” she said. “I never stop talking about the student loan repayment program that pays $300 a month to students pursuing higher education in healthcare. I explain that we have a Nurse Extern program that pays $10 an hour and you can work just about any time you want. It also provides excellent training to go along with what is being taught in school. You can find a mentor. ARH has a scholarship program in addition to student loan repayment. If you want an education beyond high school, you can have it here.”

In addition to setting an extraordinary example for her children, Vanhoose also wants everyone on her team to know they have a champion in her. “I am visible, with an open door policy,” she explained. “I want to know what you want and what you need. Even if it isn’t more education, I want to know how I can make it better for you and in turn, I know each individual will deliver better patient care. It’s a family atmosphere and everyone pitches in. If I need to be here on a weekend, then I’ll be here, but so will my team.”

It is not surprising that Vanhoose’s team maintains one of the highest staff retention rates in all of ARH’s 13 facilities.

People often ask why Vanhoose felt the need to gain more education after attaining her goal of becoming an RN, but she says that is a no-brainer. “Finishing my college degree absolutely allowed me to put all the pieces of my personal puzzle together. It has finished me, in a good way.”

One class assignment really stands out in her mind, illustrating why education is of such value. “I knew I could go in and take a health assessment. I had years of experience. I was pretty cocky actually, but my professor made me take a video of me taking the assessment and then had me look and find what I could improve. It was so eye opening, because I could improve on just about everything. It wasn’t that I took a poor assessment, but today I take much better ones!”

Vanhoose doesn’t talk about her personal next steps, other than thinking about taking her children to Washington DC for an educational trip and helping Hazard ARH’s oncology department be the best place to work in the system. “I have all the tools I need to make a difference in the lives of my team, my children, and my patients. I’m settled,” she said. “And, I always have the opportunity to go out and see the mountains and feel the air on my face.”


Above article was published November 7, 2019 – Special To The Hazard Herald

Highlands ARH Sponsors “Run for Shelter” 5K; raises funds for the East Kentucky House of Hope homeless shelter

More than 70 people participated in the fifth annual “Run for Shelter,” one of two fundraisers that will help Floyd County’s homeless shelter keep its doors open this year.

The shelter, called the East Kentucky House of Hope, opened in March on Ky. 122 near Martin, following years of work by a committee of volunteers who sought to help homeless people in Floyd County.

One of those organizers, Mickey McGuire said the facility has helped more than 100 homeless residents since March.

“We have already served over 100 people,” McGuire said. “Homelessness, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about it because they think of a homeless person and everybody has their stereotype, and they’re not that way. There are some that are good people. There are some that are bad people. There are some that are mentally ill. There are some that are just elderly. There are some that are just confused and maybe just need somebody to sit and talk to them and organize their life for them. We understand that.”

He talked about a Vietnam veteran who recently came to the shelter as well as two women who came there for help and now are renting their own place.

“The wonderful thing about it, and we understand you can’t save everybody, but you can try to help everybody, and out of all the people that we’ve taken in, we can count about 40 of them that are now no longer homeless,” McGuire said. “We have found them permanent housing. We’ve got them on a budget. We got whatever problem it was that made them homeless, we got it taken care of and found them a place they could afford. We set them down, made them a budget, maybe found them a job.”

He said shelter staff, employees of Kentucky River Community Care, have found jobs for more than a dozen people who stayed at there. He said none of this would be possible without community support.

“The blessing of the thing is, I don’t think that all of us realized what a great community we live in, just how many people have come forward,” McGuire said. “We have dinner served at the shelter every night. We’re not allowed to cook there, and either some family or some church or some civic organization … they go up there and serve dinner every night, year round. Sometimes, you just think how are we going to make it, and then all of these people come forward.”

He said being a part of the shelter committee has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.

He said the Run for Shelter, sponsored by Appalachian Regional Healthcare on Oct. 19, will raise about $5,000 for the homeless shelter. At the event, ARH employees presented a check for more than $2,100 — funds that employees have raised all year to help the shelter.

McGuire said the shelter needs $50,000 to operate for one year. Committee members hope to raise the rest of the funds needed at the upcoming “Dancing for Shelter” fundraiser, which will be held at the Mountain Arts Center on Nov. 1.

“We have raise enough money to operate on for a year, and so, we have to pay electric and water and anything, any supplies and cleaning and all of that,” McGuire said.

McGuire said several local officials have been practicing their dance skills to prepare for the competition. Last year’s winners, Willard Kinzer and Danette James, have been invited back to present the trophy to this year’s winners.

The list of participating dancers include Floyd County Judge-Executive Robbie Williams, Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton, Floyd County Circuit Judge Tom Smith, Highlands ARH Community CEO Tim Hatfield, Pastor Tommy Reed, Big Sandy Community and Technical College President Dr. Sherry Zylka, Prestonsburg Elementary Principal Melissa Turner, Fitness Instructor Teri Kinzer-Crum and insurance agent Dick Clark. These individuals have been practicing with dance instructors Nadina Delon, Dr. Bonnie Hensley, Leslie Nelson, Micky McGuire, Jennifer Hartsock, Ashleigh Dotson, Bill Bettinazzi and Charlotte Soder.

“Each of these individuals (have) donated their time, their energy and taken away from their own lives in order to make this event a success,” a press release said. “Last year was just unbelievable, over the top, with a sell-out crowd. Ticket sales have been strong, but there are still tickets left fort this year’s event.”

Dancing for Shelter will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1, at the Mountain Arts Center. Tickets range from $18 to $28, and all proceeds benefit the homeless shelter. Audience members will be able to vote for their favorite dancers by texting their first and last names to, (606) 220-2880 during the competition. Dancing for Shelter will also feature a silent auction to raise funds.

For tickets, visit, macarts.com or call, (606) 886-2623. For information about the shelter, visit its Facebook page, or call, (606) 949-2018.

Original story published by

Kiely Long

ARH Scholars Spring 2019 Winner: Kiely Long

Twice a year, students from across the region are invited to apply for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Scholars program. The ARH Scholars are awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue a degree in healthcare. Their stories are unique, but a common thread unites every winner: a desire to make a difference to the people of Appalachia through healthcare. The Spring 2019 class of the ARH Scholars includes 11 talented future healthcare providers.

Kiely Long, a recent graduate from Cumberland Gap High School, can’t say enough nice things about Claiborne County, Tennessee. “We’re a small town, and I get to visit the national parks a lot. They’re really rich in history and there are a lot of things to see.” Even so, she’s looking forward to the next step: in a few short months she’ll be off to East Tennessee State University to begin her journey toward a degree in Rehabilitative Health Sciences.

Why Rehabilitative Health Sciences? Kiely explains “I have a cousin who is a little under my age and she has Down syndrome. I’ve seen her spend time with all sorts of different therapists and I saw the difference that they made to her. I knew that therapy was definitely the field that I was going to pursue.”

“It took me a while to decide on a specialization,” she continues, “but I eventually settled on speech therapy. I had the opportunity to shadow a speech therapist at Caryville Elementary School, and I just loved the atmosphere. It was amazing to see the kids benefiting from therapy. I’ve been going there for a while, so I was able to see the difference that was made in these kids over just one year.”

Kiely credits the Speech-Language Pathologist, Brittany Buckner, with inspiring her to look into speech therapy as a profession. “She has been a huge help as I’ve been deciding. She’s been very patient with me and has answered all of my questions.”

By 2023 Kiely will be graduating from East Tennessee State with her bachelor’s degree, and then it’s on to her master’s degree courses. With years of schooling and loans down the road, she was ecstatic to find the ARH Scholars program on the scholarship page of her school’s website. “When I finally got the email saying that I’d been selected, my whole family pretty much started screaming. We were really excited.”

Even with many years of schooling ahead of her, Kiely has a clear goal in mind: “My entire life I’ve wanted to work with kids somehow. It sounds cliché, but I just want to help people. The kids that I saw during my time at the speech therapy office couldn’t look someone in the eye when having a conversation because they were so insecure about how they spoke. When I talked to them a year later, they were confident and outgoing. So, I’ve seen how something as simple as speech can affect a kid’s life. I want to be able to make that kind of difference. I think that everyone deserves to have a voice so that they can speak up. I want to help them find that voice.”

Full story can be found in The Claiborne Progress, August 7th edition.

McKenzie Daniel

ARH Scholars Spring 2019 Winner: McKenzie Daniel

Twice a year, students from across the region are invited to apply for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Scholars program. The ARH Scholars are awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue a degree in healthcare. Their stories are unique, but a common thread unites every winner: a desire to make a difference to the people of Appalachia through healthcare. The Spring 2019 class of ARH Scholars includes 11 talented future healthcare providers.

McKenzie Daniel is one such student. Born and raised in West Liberty, McKenzie just graduated from Morgan County High School. He’s wrapped up a busy high school career playing soccer and tennis, in addition to being involved with his local Boy Scout Troop and church. He’ll have only a few months to relax this summer before heading off to Eastern Kentucky University where he’s planning to study pharmacology.

What compelled him to choose a future in pharmacy? Partially, his time in the Governor’s Scholars Program. “Last year I did the Governor’s Scholars Program, which is a five-week program over the summer. My focus area throughout that program was health care, which got me started learning about the medical field. I really enjoyed that process.” In addition to his time at Governor’s Scholars, McKenzie credits one of his teachers at Morgan County High School with inspiring him to pursue medicine: “I had a really good teacher in high school for biology, anatomy, and chemistry, Ms. Rudd—Chrystal Rudd. She really pushed me to learn more about science.”

Medicine isn’t all about science and education; it’s also the ability to make quick decisions and take others’ lives into your hands. This aspect is enough to discourage some, but McKenzie isn’t worried about that at all. “I’ve been lifeguarding for the past few years, and I enjoy taking the responsibility of making sure people are okay.”

No small part of getting a medical education is the expense. This year, after submitting his second application to the ARH Scholars, McKenzie was finally awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue his dreams of a pharmacy degree. “I was pretty excited when I found out that I’d won. The first time I applied I got turned down, so being awarded the second time I applied was really surprising.”

After McKenzie graduates from Eastern Kentucky University in 2023, he’ll be heading off to the University of Kentucky’s College of Pharmacy. After that, he’d love to head back to Eastern Kentucky to work close to home. “My community has done a lot for me,” McKenzie reflects. “I’d like to pay the community back for what they’ve done for me. If anyone in my community has health problems, I want to be there to assist them.”

Full story can be found in The Licking Valley Courier, Thursday, August 1st edition.