Friday, September 24, 2010

Amerigroup Foundation Honors Fulton County Women's Health Program's Karen Russell as a 'Healthy Hero'

/PRNewswire/ -- The Amerigroup Foundation today (September 23) announced that it is honoring Fulton County Women's Health Program Coordinator Karen Russell by designating her a "Healthy Hero."

Russell has spent the past 18 years helping others, especially women and children in need. For the past five years, she has worked with underinsured and uninsured women to provide information on health screenings and referrals for The Women's Health Program.

"Karen Russell demonstrates a commitment and a passion to improving the lives of women and children who simply need a little help," said John E. Littel, chairman of the Amerigroup Foundation. "She offers a tremendous example of the meaningful impact one person can make on a community. The Amerigroup Foundation is pleased to recognize and actively support her continuing efforts and achievements."

Russell has provided health care and social services for residents of Fulton County while working with special needs children for the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness. In the past, she has worked with Children 1st, Children's Medical Services and Babies Can't Wait to meet the needs of children and their families. She also has worked for six years as program manager with the Mental Health Program including CHOICES, a women's substance abuse inpatient residential facility.

Russell has been integral in health awareness campaigns, and she takes special interest in activities surrounding Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in January and Heart Month in February. She devotes time working on the National Women's Health Week Kick-Off Celebration in May and the Breast Cancer Awareness Month Celebration in October. With these events, Russell ensures that uninsured and underinsured female residents are invited and transported as her special guests.

"A lot of times, women who are underinsured or uninsured or are less privileged don't know about all the little tidbits out there that can help them take care of themselves," Russell said. "I want to make sure mammograms and self-exams are a regular occurrence, so I spend a good deal of my time getting the word out and educating them on the benefits."

When Russell is out in the community, she is a regular guest speaker at health fairs, churches, women's clubs and shelters.

To honor Russell's service, the Foundation presented a $1,000 contribution to The Breast Health Connections of Georgia at a ceremony Thursday morning at the Fulton County Health and Wellness Board of Health meeting. Breast cancer is the leading cancer among women in Georgia and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women. The Women's Health Program provides eligible women with Pap tests, breast exams, women's health education and mammogram referrals.

The Amerigroup Foundation periodically honors "Healthy Heroes" who have made a difference in the communities served by its corporate underwriter, Amerigroup Corporation, which administers publicly funded health care programs such as Medicaid and Medicare for state and federal governments. Amerigroup Community Care of Georgia offers health care services to 259,000 people enrolled in Medicaid in Georgia.

"I'm just so humbled by this experience," Russell said. "I just do what I do because I am so passionate about women's health care issues and about getting the word out to women in need."

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