Community Leadership Institute of Kentucky Recognizes Inaugural Graduating Class

HAZARD, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Graduates of the inaugural class of the Community Leadership Institute of Kentucky (CLIK) will be recognized today at a ceremony held in conjunction with National Rural Health Day at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) in Hazard.

CLIK is a three-week, no-cost, intensive leadership development program designed to enhance research and capacity-building competencies in community leaders who play a key role in data-based decision making related to health and health care. Leaders from schools, health departments and organizations in rural communities were among those completing the program.

“National Rural Health Day was created by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health as a way to showcase rural America and increase awareness of rural health-related issues.  It is fitting that we are able to recognize our CLIK graduates on this important day and we applaud their commitment to improving health in their communities,” said Fran Feltner, director of the UK CERH.

Collaborations between academic centers and community leaders offer unique and potentially powerful opportunities to affect change and find solutions. 

"We look to these graduates to lead in UK’s commitment to sustainable, community-based approaches to address the most serious challenges of Kentucky – challenges that deprive individuals, families and communities of a rich quality of life," said UK President Eli Capilouto.

CLIK participants were selected through a competitive application process, with priority given to health, education, and human service leaders from Appalachian Kentucky. Through seven CLIK sessions, they received training in topics including grant development, budget management, quality improvement, human subjects protection, project evaluation, and using publically available datasets. Volunteer faculty from the University of Cincinnati, the University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Department of Health served as instructors.

In addition to diverse skills training, each CLIK graduate’s organization will receive a $1,500 grant to support a pilot project and six months of technical assistance from the CLIK program. Participants’ projects ranged from addressing diabetes and children’s oral health to revitalizing an elementary school green house so that students can learn to grow and prepare their own food.

Stephen Richardson, CLIK graduate and school health coordinator for the Knott County School Board, plans to pilot a school-wide daily tooth brushing initiative for grades K-2.  Kentucky’s rates of childhood tooth decay are among the highest in the nation, and as an educator, Richardson frequently witnesses the consequences of poor oral health.  In addition to physical complications like dental pain or tooth loss, poor oral health can negatively affect a child's self esteem, ability to learn, and future ability to gain employment.  

“After being involved in several other leadership programs, I must say this has by far been the best one yet,” said Richardson. “The small group along with the content of the presentations has made this a worthwhile event for myself. Everything about this program will help me in my chosen field,” he said. 

The 2014 CLIK graduates are:

  •  Sandy Bowling, Hazard, LKLP Community Action Council - “Creating a Climate for a Healthy Lifestyle”
  • Neva Francis, Martin, Kentucky One Health, St. Joseph Martin - “St. Joseph Martin/Floyd County Health Department Diabetes Partnership”
  • Sandy Hogg, Whitesburg, Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative - “Staff Wellness and Nutrition Program"
  • Stephen Richardson, Hindman, Knott County Board of Education - “Student Oral Health”
  • Haley Siler, Bowling Green, Barren River District Health Department - “Cooking with Benefits”
  •  Kelsey Tackett, Prestonsburg, Floyd County Schools- “Successful Women and Appalachian Girls Present: Seeds of South Floyd”

"We are fortunate to have recruited a highly motivated and talented inaugural CLIK class. These are innovative thinkers and community leaders who have taken the lessons taught by our faculty and applied them to address real life problems in their local settings. We are excited to see how our CLIK participants continue developing their projects and launch new initiatives to foster positive changes in their communities," said Nancy Schoenberg, PhD,  director of fommunity engagement and research for the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

CLIK is made possible by a partnership between UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (funded by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences), the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, and the Kentucky Office of Rural Health.

For more information about Click For details visit the Center for Clinical and Transitional Science website at or contact Beth Bowling at or 606-439-3357, ext. 83545.


MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,