Every September, we celebrate local champions dedicated to making Hamilton County healthier and safer for moms, dads and babies. Here are our 2017 “Champions for Change” winners:

2017 Group Photo

(Pictured left to right: Eva Miller, Lisa Holloway, John Besl, Martha Walter, Dr. Andrea Hamel, Maggie Deremo, Jeff Gaylor, Ryan Adcock, Ella Thomas, Commissioner Chris Monzel, Commissioner Todd Portune, Commissioner Denise Driehaus; Not pictured: Crystal Brown)

Social Support Champion: Ella Thomas, M.Ed., MA, C-CHW As Community Care Supervisor with Health Care Access Now, Ms. Thomas advocates for community health workers to be a part of a woman’s medical care team. A voice for the underserved, she is passionate about educating others on what it will take to achieve better health and well-being for our most vulnerable populations. This includes serving as part time instructor at Cincinnati State and developing a series of trainings for community health workers that serve women and babies.

Social Support Champion: Maggie Deremo, M. Ed. Ms. Deremo, a family support specialist with The Children’s Home, shows an immense amount of passion and dedication for improving the social situations of the families she serves. She works hand-in-hand with local agencies and professionals to ensure her families have access to the resources they need most. Recently, she started providing outreach to local high schools in order to better support teen parents.

Champion for Moms and Babies: Lisa Holloway, MBA Ms. Holloway is the Director of Program Services and Government Affairs with the March of Dimes Ohio Chapter. A statewide leader in preterm birth and infant death reduction, she works with governments, healthcare providers, community leaders and more to improve birth outcomes throughout Ohio. She also co-leads the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality, a statewide infant health collaborative and was instrumental in planning, organizing and executing statewide infant mortality summits in 2014 and 2016 – both with attendance exceeding 1,000.

Champion for Knowledge: John Besl, MA Mr. Besl is a trained demographer, whose work serves as the backbone for local decision-making on infant mortality efforts. As a data analyst for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, he plays a pivotal role in tracking the state of maternal and infant health in Hamilton County and produces accurate and timely data analyses for local policymakers and stakeholders, a feat that other communities are now replicating.

Champion for Knowledge: Dr. Andrea Hamel Dr. Hamel truly has a heart for patient care; as a prenatal physician with UC Physicians, she often goes above and beyond the scope of her work to ensure that women receive the best care possible at the Center for Women’s Health – Hoxworth. She is an early adopter of quality improvement, leading a team of healthcare professionals to improve how they serve women and the overall prenatal experience. They use a holistic approach to care that wraps around each and every one of their patients.

Safe Sleep Champion: Crystal Brown Ms. Brown, mother of 4, is a leading champion of moms and babies in the 45225 zip code, one of Cincinnati’s highest-risk communities for sleep-related deaths. As a peer advocate for the Ohio Equity Institute, Ms. Brown provides safe sleep education to moms, dads and grandparents in the Villages at Roll Hill as well as the Moosewood and Millvale neighborhoods. Earlier this year, she helped design Cradle Cincinnati’s latest safe sleep communications campaign and served as a safe sleep spokesperson with local news.

Champion for Better Care: Eva Miller, RN As a nurse at Northside Health Center, Ms. Miller is invested in providing the best care possible to her patients and takes the steps necessary to better serve them. For example, she was one of the first Cincinnati Health Department staff trained on smoking cessation and is committed to helping her clients quit smoking during pregnancy and stay smoke-free after birth.

Champion for Smoke-free Women: Jeff Gaylor, BS, NRP, EMSI In some neighborhoods in Hamilton County, nearly 25% of moms-to-be smoke. Mr. Gaylor is driving this number down. Using his background in emergency medicine, he now runs the community strategy for the American Heart Association.  His on-the-ground leadership is key to building partnerships between health systems, community leaders and lobbying organizations to create widespread policy and community change.

Champion for Spacing: Martha Walter, MS Ms. Walter is the Project Director of the Cincinnati Health Department Body Shop, where she works with teams of health care professionals and community champions to educate and promote family planning in the city of Cincinnati.  Due to her work, the Cincinnati Health Department has become a model Title X program for similar programs in the state.

Congrats to our winners!