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.
Mollie graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Health Communication Studies, and is currently enrolled in the Executive Master of Public Administration program at Ohio University. Prior to joining Live Health Appalachia, Mollie worked in healthcare public relations, sustainable agriculture, and served as the Senior Project Specialist for the Athens County Economic Development Council. She values health and wellness in her personal life which transcends to her role with LHA. In her spare time, Mollie enjoys yoga, training for marathons, teaching Irish Dancing, and cooking with her fiance.
Director of Children’s Programming
Megan first moved to Athens in 2010 to attend Ohio University. During her time at OU, the charm of the rustic SE Ohio landscape, local food scene, and sense of community overflowed her soul and captured her heart. Upon completion of her BA in Anthropology, Megan served as the COMCorps Live Healthy Kids Coordinator at LHA from 2014-2015. She has also served as a AmeriCorps community garden manager in WA, and worked with the YMCA, the Cleveland Zoological Society, and the County of Summit Job and Family Services. She enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, rock climbing, and gardening; writing letters via snail mail; and cooking (as well as eating!) delicious foods with family and friends.
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 from 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
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.
AmeriCorps VISTA Member
Originally from Columbus, Dylan fell in love with the natural beauty and aura of Southeast Ohio soon after visiting Athens for the first time. Upon graduating from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication, he decided to stay. Dylan previously served as an intern at ARTS/West, where he developed skills in marketing and public relations that will continue to be a part of his work. Dylan holds a spirited belief that active living is a natural medicine that will improve people’s lives. Dylan lives in Athens and can often be seen on the bike path or in his kayak at Strouds Run State Park.
AmeriCorps COMCorps Member and Live Healthy Kids Coordinator
Bri first moved to Athens in 2013 and graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Community and Public Health. Before LHA, Bri worked at Central Food Facility where she spent her time focusing on overseeing student employees, food safety and quality assurance. She discovered her love for LHA while volunteering for Live Healthy Kids in 2016-2017 and knew she had to be a part of the team. Bri is passionate about health education and promotion. You can find Bri on the bike path or hiking a trail around Athens in her spare time.
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.
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.
P.J. currently serves as Chief External Relations Officer at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic medicine (HCOM). In that role he oversees the College’s Communication, Fundraising, Alumni Outreach and Government Relations efforts. Prior to his role at OHIO, P.J. served as the Senior Director of Philanthropy at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) where he oversaw major gift fundraising for the organization. P.J. sees his personal passion for health, wellness and preventative healthcare through diet align with LHA’s overall mission and is eager to help move the organization forward. P.J. lives in Athens, Ohio with his wife Jen, their two kids Kieran and Quinn, and their dog Ozzie.
Our interns come from various health related studies at Ohio University, and are very excited about becoming a larger part of the Athens community. We look forward to expanding their knowledge about healthy eating and active living as we work with them throughout the semester.
I am a current senior studying Health Services Administration at Ohio University. Some of the areas within health administration that I am most interested in include human resources and marketing. I really enjoy being creative and being able to use that creativity in my work. Outside of my studies I enjoy being outdoors. In the summer and fall I enjoy horseback riding, kayaking, and hiking. I am also a huge animal lover. I currently have 2 horses, a cat, a Great Dane, a rabbit, and a fish. I am very excited about being an intern with Live Healthy Appalachia, and I look forward to learning and experiencing everything that they have to offer.
Bethany moved to Athens in 2017 to begin the Master of Public Administration at Ohio University, where she works on the Community Health, Prevention, and Promotion Team (CHPP) as a Graduate Assistant. The research she assists with involves k-12 Health Education Standards and access to health services. As an avid hiker, cyclist, and lover of local foods, Bethany is extremely passionate about health and wellness. You can find often Bethany biking on the bike path, camping in a national park, or browsing the selection at the farmer's market.
Emily is a current junior in the College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University where she is studying Applied Nutrition. She also is a member of Ohio University's Women's Cross Country and Track teams. Born and raised in Athens, she was moved to get involved with her community though Live Healthy Appalachia. The internship at LHA will help her explore her interest in the field of nutrition and public health.