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.
Heidi graduated from Kent State with a degree in Food and Nutrition and has a Masters of Science in Nutrition and a Masters of Public Health from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Prior to joining Live Health Appalachia (LHA), Heidi worked for Ohio University WellWorks as the Education and Special Events Coordinator. Heidi is a graduate of LHA’s Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) and has facilitated CHIP classes since 2012. In 2017, Heidi completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Yoga on High and teaches a weekly class in Logan. She is passionate about self-care and the physical and mental wellbeing of others. For self-care, Heidi enjoys reading, meditating, yoga, cooking (whole food, plant-based, of course!) and spending time outdoors with her husband and three children.
Director of Children’s Programming
Laura is a long-time resident of Athens County. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Ohio University, she served two years in the COMCorps/AmeriCorps program, including a year as the Live Healthy Kids Coordinator. After COMCorps, Laura returned to OU to pursue a Master of Public Health. Upon graduating, she found herself back at LHA to take on the new role of Director of Children's Programs. She values community and place and the role that LHA plays in our area. When Laura isn't at the office, she's usually somewhere in the woods or spending time with her partner and many pets.
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 COMCorps Member and Live Healthy Kids Coordinator
Bailey first came to Athens in the fall of 2015. She is still attending Ohio University and finishing up her degree with Community and Public Health. Before she came to serve LHA, she worked at Culinary Services as an Intern. She was in charge of events, scheduling, student employee management, marketing, and food safety. She was introduced to LHA during a Public Health class her junior year and finally volunteered with LHK and Adult Ed programs throughout her senior year. Bailey is very passionate about health education and promotion and wanted to engage herself completely with LHA to pursue her passions. Outside of serving LHA, you will find Bailey outside walking, running, or biking with her dog Roscoe.
AmeriCorps COMCorps Member and Adult Education Coordinator
Celina first came to Athens in 2015 to pursue a degree in Biological Sciences from Ohio University, which she completed this past May. Her dream is to go to medical school (preferably at OU) and become a physician. During her undergraduate career, Celina was a lab assistant, peer mentor, and barista. Celina is excited to take a break from the classroom this year and be more involved in the Athens community. In her free time, Celina enjoys baking, trying new recipes, bingeing Netflix shows, traveling, and playing her ukulele.
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.
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.
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 two kids Kieran and Quinn.
Kari Boyle is a Certified Health Education Specialist and works at the Athens City-County Health Department. She is the current coordinator for the Athens County Creating Healthy Communities grant, which works to increase access to healthy food, increase opportunities for physical activity and eliminate tobacco use, through policy, system and environmental changes. Kari received her bachelor’s in Community Health Services from Ohio University. In addition to her work, Kari is a Public Health Technician with the Ohio Air National Guard and an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran. She is an avid hiker, bullet journalist, cat mom and Cleveland Indians fan. Kari is passionate about working with community members and creating environments where the healthy choice, is the easy choice.
Ben A. Holter is a practicing pharmacist and Co-Owner of Shrivers Pharmacy and Wellness in Athens and Shrivers Pharmacy in Nelsonville. Ben takes a holistic view on wellness and healthcare and believes lifestyle and diet are the key to promoting wellness and preventing chronic disease. He is excited to be a part of Live Healthy Appalachia and use his knowledge and healthcare resources to further the organization's mission and goals. Ben completed his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Ohio Northern University in 2008 and an MBA from the Ohio University College of Business in 2013 and has served 4 years on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Pharmacist Association. Ben's interests include: travelling, cross training, gardening, and life long learning. Ben currently resides in Athens with his wife Mateja and two children, Mason and Sienna.