Molina Healthcare of New Mexico recently recognized six community heroes at its second annual Community Champions Awards. The ceremony, which was held at Hotel Albuquerque, also included entertainment provided by local music group, Los Primos.

This year’s winners included Bette Jo Ciesielski from the New Mexico Community Health Worker Association; Gayle Dine’ Chacon, MD from the UNM Dept. of Family and Community Medicine; Naomi Fahrenkrug from the New Mexico Office of Border Health; Kathy Komoll from Roadrunner Food Bank; Larry Richardson from the NM-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team and Joyce Roberts from Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity.

“It was an honor and pleasure to celebrate these six individuals,” said Lynn Allen, president, Molina Healthcare of New Mexico. “We applaud them for their dedicated commitment to serve those around them and we’re proud to call them our 2010 Community Champions.”

Established to honor the memory of Dr. Molina, our Community Champions program spotlights the good deeds of everyday heroes in their communities. The 2010 winners were recognized in several categories: advocacy/civic leadership, education, health care professionalism and volunteerism. Each winner was nominated by a community-based organization and also received a $1000 grant to give to a deserving nonprofit organization as part of his/her award.

THE 2010 COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS AWARD WINNERS:

·Bette Jo Ciesielski (Education Award) trains Community Health Workers (CHW’s). CHW’s are individuals who help others navigate the healthcare system. They provide health education, assists in translation services, helps answer questions, etc. Bette Jo has also secured grants to provide stipends for volunteering CHW’s and is working on a project to offer CHW training through teleconferencing so CHW’s can access the classes from rural communities. Best of all, she’s done most of her work as a volunteer.

·Dr. Gayle Dine’ Chacon (Healthcare Professional)is a professor of family and community medicine at UNM. Through her outreach efforts with the Office of Admissions last year UNM’s medical was able to accept its largest Native American freshman class in the school’s history. She also established a Center on campus to provide social, cultural and academic support to more than 100 Native American students at the Health Sciences Center.

Naomi Fahrenkrug (Advocacy Leader Award-LAS CRUCES)has helped at-risk youths better their lives for nearly 15 years. She’s served on local, state and national committees for which she has written 14 successful grants totaling $4 million to help thousands of youth. She’s also raised 13 multicultural special needs foster children in the past 10 years.

·Kathy Komoll (Volunteer)has been volunteering at the Roadrunner Food Bank for 10 years. She even held her wedding at the Food Bank’s warehouse, which included an online gift registry where guests could donate food to the food bank. She continues to educate legislators across the state about the increasing needs of New Mexican families and helps communities across the state receive donations and food bank services.

·Larry Richardson (Volunteer Award)has been a part of the NM-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team for 26 years as a founding member. He’s the logistics section chief of a team that helps to provide critical medical services to communities during disasters. He has been on every mission across the U.S. abroad to Haiti for hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires and the 9/11 terrorists attacks.

·Joyce Roberts (Volunteer-SANTA FE)helps the Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity build affordable homes for low-income families. For several years, Joyce has been at the construction site twice a week as a volunteer. She also volunteers with the Adaptive Ski Program, which offers safe and supportive alpine ski lessons for adults and children with disabilities.

About Molina Healthcare

Molina Healthcare, Inc. provides quality and cost-effective Medicaid-related solutions to meet the health care needs of low-income families and individuals and to assist state agencies in their administration of the Medicaid program. Our licensed health plans in California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Washington currently serve approximately 1.5 million members, and our subsidiary, Molina Medicaid Solutions, provides business processing and information technology administrative services to Medicaid agencies in Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, and West Virginia, and drug rebate administration services in Florida. More information about Molina Healthcare is available athttp://www.molinahealthcare.com/.


Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322