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InterAct for Change awards scholarships, recognizes nursing excellence; two nurses cited for leadership

To support local students in their pursuit of nursing, InterAct for Change recently awarded a total of $8,000 in scholarships. The nonprofit, charitable arm of Interact for Health also honored two individuals with Nursing Excellence Awards for outstanding contributions to nursing in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana. 
Nursing Excellence Awards
Ashel Kreutzkamp of Florence and Abbie Crookham of Green Township received Nursing Excellence Leadership and Clinical Practice Awards.

Ashel Kreutzkamp, Dr. Owens and Abbie Cookham

Kreutzkamp was honored for her leadership efforts to reduce the harm brought by opioid use in Northern Kentucky. As Nurse Manager in the emergency department at St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas, Kreutzkamp was one of the first to recognize the increase in opioid-related overdoses in 2011, and began tracking data. Since then, she has worked to improve care for people with substance use disorders by increasing access to the overdose reversal drug Narcan, bringing peer counselors into the emergency department and helping link emergency patients to substance abuse treatment. Kreutzkamp is now recognized among health care leaders in the region, the state and nationally as an advocate for ways to address addiction as a medical illness, and often speaks on the topic at conferences and with media outlets.
For four years, Crookham has been the school nurse at Cincinnati’s Deaconess Health Check school-based health center, which serves both Western Hills and Dater high schools. She received the clinical practice award in recognition of her ability to care for both the physical health needs—including immunizations, diabetes care and infectious diseases—as well as the social/emotional health needs of the teenagers she serves. She goes beyond the standards of care for students struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts and becomes the trusted caring adult supporting students dealing with adverse childhood experiences. To further develop her students’ ability to deal with behavioral health issues, Crookham volunteered to represent the school-based health center on the school’s planning team for trauma-informed care and partnered with counselors from Lighthouse Youth Services.
“Ashel and Abbie show that a nurse’s work goes far beyond a patient’s vital signs,” said O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of InterAct for Change. “They’ve recognized that factors outside the clinical setting, including substance use, trauma and poverty, need to be addressed to improve patient outcomes and have focused their energies to improve systems of care.” 

Scholarship winners with Dr. Owens: Ryan Baumgartner, Katherine McAfee, Abby Harrill, Ifeoluwa Babarinde

Nursing scholarships

Four students received nursing scholarships. Applicants were selected on based academic performance, professional aspirations, compassion in caregiving, employment background, financial need and recommendations. Students are listed with their degree program and university.
· Anna M. Drake Memorial Scholarship: Abby Harrill of Cincinnati, Bachelor of Science in nursing, Xavier University.
· Ida W. Casey Memorial Scholarship: Katherine McAfee of Monfort Heights, Master of Science in nursing, Xavier University.
· Laura Rosnagle Memorial Scholarship: Ryan Baumgartner of Amberly Village, Master of Science in nursing, Xavier University.
·  Rose Hook Scholarship: Ifeoluwa C. Babarinde of Highland Heights, Bachelor of Science in nursing, Northern Kentucky University.
“Nurses are a key part of our health care system,” said Owens. “They assist their patients and families, and help to coordinate care with other professionals. It’s critical that we support nursing education to continue this positive impact on the health of our community.”     

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