Paul Mason Memorial Award

Paul Mason Memorial Award

To honor a Kentuckian who has made a significant contribution to benefit our most vulnerable population – the indigent and uninsured.
Guidelines: The nomination must clearly reflect the above contributions to this target population.

2022 Recipient: Jennifer Twyman
Health Education Specialist II
Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness

Showing Compassion demands not only that we become aware of the needs of others and try to understand their difficulties, but that we feel called upon to become partners in helping them overcome those challenges.

This year’s awardee has been described as being deeply committed to supporting the health of Louisville's most vulnerable residents, especially people experiencing homelessness and substance use disorder. This commitment is evident in her work in harm reduction outreach and in organizing a syringe services participant advisory board.

She makes every effort to listen to others, understand their needs, eliminate barriers and link individuals to appropriate care and resources, including the unhoused population.

In the first weeks of the COVID pandemic, she identified the increased risk for overdose among unsheltered residents. Working with partners in law enforcement, and social services she created the city's first harm reduction outreach program specifically for unsheltered residents. This program provides naloxone, safe injection supplies, condoms, and referrals to supportive services. It also serves as a critical tool to build relationships with residents who generally do not trust government. These relationships proved crucial as the city implemented mobile vaccination efforts to reach vaccine-hesitant residents. She also created an Advisory Board so that lessons could be learned directly from the people that are served and how to serve them best.

When Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness was operating a drive-through mass vaccination center, she advocated strongly for residents who could not access this service, including our unsheltered population and advocated for adding vaccinations to the multi-service outreach events which have allowed service providers to connect with up to 50 people at a time. These value-added services bring people in and have provided the opportunity to talk about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.
2020 Recipient: Terri Burgan, MPH, BSN, RN
Health Promotion Manager & PIO
Lincoln Trail District Health Department

Generosity, compassion, radiates joy, personable individual, and truly wants to help other agencies and organizations succeed in their efforts to reach vulnerable populations, these are just some of the characteristics that this year’s recipient exemplifies. She seeks out new and inventive ways to assist the indigent and uninsured, homeless and downtrodden.

Over a span of almost ten years, this recipient has worked in multiple capacities; Clinical Director, Maternal Child Health Coordinator, Health Promotion Manager, and Public Health Information Officer. In each of these roles she has been instrumental in advocating for vulnerable populations and building non-traditional partnerships to strengthen our ability to reach those in most need. For example, she identified an impoverished neighborhood in the city of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. She connected key stakeholders and implemented a grant to build a community garden and walking trail. She mobilized residents to help with construction of both the garden and trail and the residents now have a community pavilion and hold monthly neighborhood gatherings. She participates in Feeding America distribution events, expungement projects, and hepatitis A immunization clinics for illicit drug users and homeless populations, Safe Sleep Campaign, and she collaborated with HANDs to start the Cribs for Kids program. These two-initiative resulted in awards from the March of Dimes and the Kentucky Department for Public Health Maternal Child Health Program. She also identified two minority community minority churches to begin a program that would encourage health healthy behaviors and implemented polices for church social events. This project was highlighted at KPHA, NACCHO and the Mid-South Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities Research.

She currently advocates for Harm Reduction Syringe Service Program. She has been named to the City of Elizabethtown’s Housing Committee, the Lincoln Trail Area Development District Removing Obstacles Committee, and the Lincoln Trail District Health Department Equity Team. Through these venues, she continues to influence policy makers to ensure that those less fortunate are considered when decisions are made.

A community partner wrote, “she is a persevering advocate for people in the community with drug addiction, she has worked countless hours in educating the elected and appointed officials about the importance of the needle exchange programs. I have personally been with her when she had spent hours collecting drug overdose data to help locate the specific areas in the community that are being most affected by this problem. It is obvious that she has the leadership and commitment to improve the overall health of the community’”

As a board member of the local soup kitchen, Warm Blessings, she identified that transportation was a barrier to many of the participants being able to maintain a steady job. She succeeded in securing several grants and implementing a project known as Ride to Independence, which was a collaboration between the health department and the local soup kitchen that worked to provide transportation to and from work in order for participants to maintain employment until they were able to purchase their own vehicles. The goal was to gain financial independence through job preservation. This program has been highlighted statewide as a model program. Her work with Warm Blessings and the impoverished population continues not only on a professional level, but in her personal life too. She delivers senior meals, donates resources and crusades for the less fortunate.

One coworker wrote, “When you are in her presence you cannot help but be uplifted by her kindness, humility, and faith. Her deep faith in God and humanity is immediately evident in the way she lives, works, and gives. She has been an inspiration to me and our staff. We even have a term for when we fall into her grips of going the extra mile to serve, “you’ve been Burganed.” She inspires those around her to be better human beings.”

Perhaps the quote from Mother Theresa best quantifies this recipient’s achievements: I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

Congratulations to this year’s Paul Mason Memorial Award recipient, Terrie Burgan, Health Promotion Manager & Public Information Officer with the Lincoln Trail District Health Department.

Past Winners

2019: Dr. Miranda Terry
2018: John Q. Moses
2017: Teresa Gamsky
2016: Dr. Frances Feltner
2015: Judy Payne
2014: Representative Julie Raque Adams
2013: Theodore “Ted” Hanekamp *
2012: State Representative Susan Westrom
2011: Jane Beshear
2010: Suzanne Craig
2009: Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo
2008: Larry R. Davis
2007: Representative Jimmie Lee
2006: Representative Tom Burch
2005: Wood Dunn
2004: Honorable Jody Richards
2003: Honorable James L. Gallenstein
2002: Honorable Mike Miller
2001: Representative Steve Nunn
2000: Deborah Acker