June 25, 2024

Lisse Regehr receives Kim Moore Award for Visionary Leadership

HUTCHINSON, Kan.— United Methodist Health Ministry Fund presented Lisse Regehr with the 2023 Kim Moore Award for Visionary Leadership at an April 19 celebration in Salina. Regehr is President and CEO of Thrive Allen County, Iola, which works to improve quality of life in Allen County by focusing on health, wellness, recreation and education conditions, and by engaging people and institutions around a common vision for the future.

Regehr’s vision and guidance has enabled Thrive’s success in increasing access to healthcare, connecting people to programs and services, encouraging residents to live healthier, more active lives, and providing leadership on important public issues.

Learn more about Lisse and Thrive’s work in the inaugural episode of our Pioneers in Health podcast:

Regehr, a native of Iola, oversaw Thrive’s Navigator Program from 2014 to 2017, reducing the county’s uninsured rate from 21% in 2013 to 9% in 2017—one of the biggest improvements in Kansas. The program has spread across the state and now helps enroll thousands of individuals in insurance and safety-net programs.

Shortly after becoming President and CEO in 2019, Lisse and Thrive helped Allen County navigate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including stepping up to the plate to administer the county’s SPARK funding, bringing in additional grant funding, creating programs to assist local businesses and nonprofits, and defending local health department efforts to ensure the public had access to accurate information on the pandemic and how to stay safe.

Regehr has been active in supporting Allen County’s prosperity and growth. She helped the community transform the loss of a local employer into a significant new opportunity, and was instrumental in working with the state to open a new state park in Iola in 2023, creating further economic development opportunities.

Regehr also oversees Thrive’s efforts to build a statewide rural health advocacy network, called Thrive Kansas, which works on regional substance misuse initiatives; assists Kansas with enrolling for Medicaid, Medicare, and Marketplace insurance; and increases awareness around statewide child care issues.

Jessica Thompson, Deputy Director of Thrive Allen County, notes Regehr’s innovation and commitment to sharing for the good of all Kansans. “Lisse firmly believes a rising tide lifts all boats, and she is not afraid to share resources, ideas, and initiatives with other rural communities across Kansas. She is innovative and is constantly looking for ways to improve not only her community but communities across Kansas,” Thompson said.

With 98 of Kansas’ 105 counties considered rural, Lisse recognizes that what is good for Allen County is likely good for others, and has demonstrated a strong ability to scale Thrive’s local successes into successes for the entire state – such as creating a statewide bike-share-in-a-box program modeled after Thrive’s successful bike share program. She also regularly coordinates engagement with state and local policymakers on issues including child care, rural community development, and health care coverage.

The Health Fund is honored to recognize Lisse’s vision and work with this award, and is proud to continue its successful partnership with Thrive in working to ensure healthy rural individuals and communities along with brighter futures for our youngest Kansans.

Established in 2017 to honor the Fund’s founding president, the Kim Moore Visionary Leadership Award is presented each year to a Kansan exemplifying visionary leadership in one of the Fund’s strategic focus areas. For 2023, the chosen focus area is access to care. The individual receives a cash award of $500, and if associated with an organization, that agency receives an additional $2,000 to use as it deems.

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