Our staff has a strong commitment to serving the many constituents of our organization across Southeast Ohio. But first and foremost, they focus their energies on those who take advantage of our programs and services, from CHIP to Live Healthy Kids and everything in between.
A resident of Southeast Ohio for 25 years, Sherri has a deep personal interest in improving the health and wellbeing of the region through her work with LHA. Sherri holds a Master of Public Administration from Ohio University. Previously, she served as the Public Relations Coordinator for Athens County Children Services and as an AmeriCorps VISTA at ReUse Industries. Sherri lives in Athens with her husband Brian, dog Bosco, and cat Maggie.
Director of Children’s Programming
Cara grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Ohio State University. She previously worked as the Director of Marketing and Development at Ohio House Rabbit Rescue, and CHIP Area Developer for Live Healthy Appalachia. Cara is passionate about changing the mindset about healthy foods and physical activity in children of all ages. She lives in Athens with her husband Ian, dogs, Maple and Cypress, and cat, Ash.
Director of Adult Education
Amy has lived in Athens since 1998 and has previously worked as a Program Coordinator for several local non-profit organizations, including Rural Action, Paper Circle and The Ohio Fair Schools Campaign. Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts Kent State University and an Associate Degree in Geographic Information & Global Positioning Systems from Hocking College. Amy loves experimenting with new recipes at home in her kitchen or out and about at local community events and walking her dog Bella on the bike path.
CHIP Area Developer & Support Specialist
Rachel moved to Athens in summer 2016 and wasted no time in joining team LHA. She has a background in epidemiology and statistics, and holds a Masters in Health Studies and Gerontology from the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Rachel previously served as the state of Nebraska's trauma registrar and Medicaid quality specialist. She is passionate about evidence-based, lifestyle medicine. Originally from Massachusetts, Rachel has lived all over the place, and is excited to put down roots in Athens with her husband and daughter.
Margaret moved back to Athens, Ohio in 2013 with her family, as they wanted to raise their daughter in a community that encourages sustainable living and healthy, local food. Margaret is also the administrator of Appalachian Institute for Creative Learning and is a board member of The Birth Circle. Margaret holds a M.A. in Women’s Studies from Ohio State University and a B.A. in English from Mount Union University. Margaret lives outside of Athens with her husband, her daughter and a trove of animals.
Our Board of Directors
Our board represents a cross-section of our community and has a passion for our organization and those we serve. The members work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization and oversee that the funds raised directly affect those in need.
Tom Kostohryz, Chair
Tom Kostohryz is the co-founder of LHA in 2010 and a founding board member. Now a part time health and wellness consultant, Tom spent the first 30 years of his career as an employee benefits consultant, founding Southeastern Agency. Tom volunteers his time with LHA developing program sites in the Midwest region for CHIP and is excited about the gradual changes in attitudes toward healthy lifestyles. Tom holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio University and lives with his wife Barbara in Athens and Colorado. Tom has served continuously since 2011.
John Kotowski, Vice Chair
John Kotowski is an active member of the Athens community. Besides serving as the Vice Chair for LHA’s board, John is also a member of the Owner’s Board for the Ohio University Inn. He also chairs the Donor Development Committee at Rural Action. John envisions LHA impacting the rural communities of Appalachia. He holds science and architecture degrees from Kent State University. John is an avid cyclist and loves to travel.
Tammy Bobo, Treasurer
Tammy is the senior vice president at Hocking Valley Bank, where she has been working for 29 years. Tammy is excited to see LHA continue to educate the community about the role of healthy lifestyles. She holds a graduate degree in Banking from the University of Wisconsin. An avid runner, Tammy has completed 28 half marathons. She enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with her family.Tammy was elected to serve as LHA’s Board Treasurer in Spring 2017.
Ruth Dudding, Secretary
As the Director of Health Education at the Athens City-County Health Department, Ruth Dudding improves access to healthy food, physical activity, and eliminating tobacco use. As a founding member of the Creating Healthy Communities Coalition, Ruth also develops community and clinical linkages. Ruth supports LHA’s efforts in empowering people to have healthy lifestyles. She holds a bachelor’s in Community Health from Ohio University. Ruth loves to cook, garden, and learn new things. She likes working on projects with passionate people.
Ann’s life mission and values greatly align with Live Healthy Appalachia’s vision, mission, and grassroots culture. Ann holds a B.S. in Community Health Services and an M.A. in Organizational Communications with an emphasis in Health Administration, both of which are from Ohio University. She currently teaches yoga and is a wilderness conservation volunteer for the Department of Environment and Energy Programs in Connecticut. Ann Brieck was a founding member of the LHA Board in 2010.
One of the founding members of the LHA board, Kim Valentour believes in the impact that LHA can make on the culture of health. Director Emerita of Ohio University’s WellWorks, Kim loves seeing the changes in attitudes within the community. Kim holds an M.S. in Health Promotion from Ohio University and actively volunteers for the Creating Healthy Communities Coalition, LHA, and Christ the King Parish. Besides cooking and reading, Kim loves to do outdoor activities. Kim has served continuously since 2011.
Bela Koshal, DO
Bela Bhatt-Koshal’s passion in medicine lies in wellness. An assistant professor at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and a family physician at the university’s Campus Care, Bela loves helping people learn about making healthy lifestyle choices and avoiding chronic diseases. Bela holds a D.O. from Ohio University. She loves to cook different dishes from around the world. Bela served in the LHA Board from 2011 to 2014 and was re-elected in 2016.
Former Director of the Child Development Center at Ohio University, Cathy strongly believes in helping to provide healthier lifestyle options for all and that with small steps come big changes. Cathy currently volunteers for various organizations with children’s programming. She holds a B.S. in Home Economics and an M.S. in Child Development. In her spare time, Cathy gardens at home and in the community. She also enjoys kayaking and expanding her experiences in cooking. Cathy was elected to the LHA Board in 2015.
James Gaskell, MD
Dr. James Gaskell has served as the Athens City County Health Commissioner since 1999. One of the founding members of the LHA Board, he envisions LHA as a key part in promoting the importance of eating fruits and vegetables to increase longevity and productivity. He received his doctorate in medicine from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and was a pediatrician in Athens for over three decades. Besides serving on several boards in Athens County, he has also coached girls’ softball, boys’ little league, and pony league baseball.
Michelle Oestrike was the first AmeriCorps COMCorps Member at LHA and helped establish Live Healthy Kids. Michelle loves seeing how LHK has evolved and how the community has been impacted by LHA’s programs. Michelle holds an M.A. in Geography focusing on food insecurity. She currently serves as President of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce. In her spare time, she also likes to travel, visit breweries, and see live music. Michelle was elected to the LHA board in Fall 2016.
Katie McGushin, CEC
Chef McGushin loves to see the positive impact LHA has on kids and adults through its programs. Besides teaching a variety of Culinary, Baking, and Hospitality Management classes at Hocking College, she is also the Communications Chair for the Columbus Chapter of the American Culinary Federation and the Department Chair for the School of Hospitality at Hocking College. She completed an Associate of Applied Business in Culinary Arts at Hocking College. On the weekends, she can be found in New River Gorge, WV spending time with her family. She was elected to the LHA Board in Spring 2016.