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Harmony Health Plan honors Northern Illinois CommUnity Health Heroes

CHICAGO — Harmony Health Plan, Inc., a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), recently honored five local champions in northern Illinois who are dedicated to helping their community members live better, healthier lives.

The 2018 Harmony CommUnity Hero awards, now in their second year, were based on nominations received from throughout the region and were distributed based on five categories including healthcare, government and policy, education, advocacy and community support. The 2018 winners are:

Healthcare – Beulah Brent, chief executive officer, Sisters Working It Out (SWIO), Chicago. Since her first position at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, Brent’s professional progression in healthcare management has fueled her passion and desire to not only become more intricately involved in breast health and breast cancer awareness, but community health as well. Brent has worked at Sisters Working It Out for more than 16 years, bringing cancer awareness to minority and underserved communities in the Chicagoland area. In January 2018, SWIO’s Board of Directors selected Brent as its chief executive officer. According to her nominator, Brent has “been at the forefront of the community efforts to improve breast cancer outcomes for black women in Chicago. She has educated, inspired and empowered countless women to seek and utilize preventive health services, and they in-turn become advocates for others in their communities.”

Government Policy – Sen. Heather Steans, (D-7). As an Illinois state senator since 2008, Steans has passed legislation to bring marriage equality to Illinois, reform the state’s Medicaid program, enact significant nursing home reform and improve the environment. Currently, she chairs the Appropriations I Committee, vice chairs the Appropriations II Committee and serves on the Executive, Environment and Conservation, Government Reform and Human Services committees. According to her nominator, “Sen. Steans is a hard-working and selfless lawmaker. She regularly pursues practical bipartisan solutions and favors actions. She is a responsive, thoughtful leader who acts to fix problems and responds to community and the state’s healthcare needs.”

Education – Faye Stevens, leader, Girls with a Vision (GWAV), Chicago. As a young girl, Stevens knew that she wanted to become a teacher. Her desire sparked her passion to teach people of all ages the importance of living a holistic and fit life, while taking into consideration their physical, intellectual, emotional and social behaviors towards being healthy. She now teaches and coaches at George Westinghouse College Prep and leads GWAV, an empowerment program. At GWAV, Stevens educates young female leaders on the importance of providing service to others as well as providing them with tools that will allow them to be productive and healthy citizens through teambuilding, lifelong sports and community service. According to her nomination, “Faye has dedicated her life to girls in need and who otherwise would be another statistic in the communities we serve.”

Advocacy – Neli Vazquez Rowland, co-founder and president of A Safe Haven Foundation (ASHF), Chicago. In 1994, Rowland and her husband founded ASHF with their personal finances and, today, have impacted the lives of more than 100,000 people, helping them to break the cycle of poverty and achieve financial independence with their pride, purpose and dreams restored. Vazquez-Rowland’s goal is to inspire a paradigm shift in how our nation addresses the issues of poverty, homelessness and substance abuse. Rather than treating these issues in silos and, thus, unintentionally creating systemic barriers to recovery, the model Vazquez-Rowland champions connects services and leverages the investment resources of both public and private entities in order to create a holistic path to self-sufficiency. Her nominator said, “Neli’s vision for A Safe Haven Foundation grew out of her experiences observing the effects of alcoholism on her own family. She was grateful for the treatment that helped her family but grew frustrated observing the lack of access, inefficiencies and high fragmentation of services that people received who lacked resources, resulting in exorbitant costs to society and lost lives. The mission of rebuilding lives from crisis became Neli’s passion.”

Community Support – Jermaine Lawrence Anderson, founder of I Am A Gentleman, Inc. In 2015, Anderson launched I Am A Gentleman to engage, empower and enrich young men for successful careers and healthy lifestyles. The foundation provides mentorship and leadership development to young men ages 14-21 around the country. Its flagship program, Project Gentlemen, has clothed more than 2,000 young men in three cities for graduation and entering the workforce. “Jermaine gives tirelessly to his program, always reaching to connect organizations to his group of kids. He hosts programs to help ensure the boys he mentors grow up to exhibit great character and good decision-making abilities,” stated his nomination.

“Harmony Health Plan is proud to recognize these outstanding individuals whose tireless efforts and dedication have helped so many access vital services and resources. Their contributions enrich our local communities and help our members live better, healthier lives,” said Chuck Beeman, Illinois state president for WellCare.

All honorees received a $500 donation from Harmony Health Plan to the charity of their choice.

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