Verde Valley News – Health First Foundation recently presented its 2022 Community Health Champion awards to two individuals, a financial institution, and a community health clinic. The award is given for outstanding dedication to community health and well-being.
“These friends of Health First Foundation have made positive and enduring marks within our northern Arizona communities,” said Health First President and CEO Sandra Kowalski. “They help significantly to raise awareness and provide solutions to health needs in our region. We are grateful to them for all the good they do and for being close collaborators of the foundation.”
Health First 2022 Community Health Champion awards went to:
Dr. Serge Wright
Owner of Sedona Eye Care, Dr. Wright has served as an optometrist in Sedona since 1973. A valued partner to Health First Foundation, he lent his support to the creation and funding of the Sedona Wildcat Extended Day Program for elementary school students. Dr. Wright has served five times as president of the Sedona Oak Creek Canyon Lions Club and received the Melvin Jones Humanitarian award from Lions International. He recently completed a two-year term as president of the Sedona 30, a charitable association focused on community improvement, and is an honorary member of the Sedona Bell Rock Kiwanis club.
Figueroa is a member of the Hopi/Ohkay Owingeh tribe (Sun Clan) and works as the tribal liaison for Health Choice Arizona. She is also president of the Arizona Rural Health Association and a certified Mental Health First Aid trainer. Her work with tribes is focused on crisis service, coordination of care, nation building, training and education, and reducing health disparities. She has been an instrumental partner of Health First assisting the foundation with its efforts to support community health and well-being in tribal communities.
Creek Valley Health Clinic
Situated along the Arizona-Utah border, Creek Valley Health Clinic responds to a critical need for primary care, mental health support, and dental services in the sister towns of Colorado City and Hildale. Since opening in late 2019, the community health center has seen more than 5,000 patients and has recorded significant improvements in chronic disease management and mental health. Health First is a proud supporter of Creek Valley Health Clinic, awarding it three Northern Arizona Community Health Grants over the past few years for integrated care, mental health services, and a quality food and nutrition program.
Desert Financial Credit Union
Founded more than 80 years ago in the Phoenix area, Desert Financial Credit Union has recently spread into northern Arizona opening branches in Prescott and Flagstaff. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Desert Financial takes pride in sharing its success and has given back millions of dollars to education, health, and other service initiatives in local communities. Its support of Health First Foundation has helped fund pandemic mitigation efforts, especially in northern Arizona tribal communities.
Community Health Champion awards are given annually at the discretion of the Health First Foundation president and board of directors.