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.
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 and Social Media Coordinator
Franny grew up in Athens for most of her life. She went to Ohio University in the fall of 2014 and received her Bachelor of Science in Communication specializing in the Music Production and Recording Industry track, in addition to getting a certificate in Journalism and Music. Whilst in school she worked as a part of the marketing team for a student-run record label, Brick City Records. In 2019 she was accepted with a small group through Ohio University to go to South by Southwest, where she met her eventual connection to her internship with Bauer Entertainment Marketing that ended in January 2020. Franny is really excited to integrate her passions and her work experience here at Live Healthy Appalachia. Franny loves to peruse social media in her off time, in addition to watching Netflix, going on hikes, and is usually going to be found listening to music.
Megan grew up in the wooded outskirts of Athens. She has always been drawn to learning about different cultures and the food eaten around the world, which led her to study anthropology at Ohio University. Graduating in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts, she bounced between working as an archaeologist and as a waitress. Now, Megan is ready and excited to give back to the community that raised her. In her spare time, Megan enjoys weaving, hiking, and relaxing with her family.
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.
Michelle Oestrike, Chair
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.
Cathy Waller, Vice Chair
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.
Kari Boyle, Secretary
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.
Randy Leite is dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions where he is also a faculty member in the Department of Social and Public Health. As dean, he leads a college with over 9,000 students and nearly 200 faculty and staff employees. Under Leite’s leadership, the college has come to be defined by its focus on interprofessional education, outreach to underserved populations, collaborative problem-solving, and attention to the global dimensions of health. Leite also co-founded the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health, serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, and represents Ohio University in numerous national and state organizations. He and his wife Theresa have three children and two grandchildren
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.
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.
Sara Hartman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education in The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education at Ohio University. She has a Ph.D. with a specialization in Teaching, Curriculum & Learning and a Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction, both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She received her Bachelor of Science from Ohio University in Elementary Education. Before working with preservice teachers, she had the pleasure of being a classroom teacher. A native of southeastern Ohio, Sara is passionate about increasing access to learning opportunities for children in rural areas and believes strongly in the work of LHA. She joined the LHA board in 2020 and is excited to contribute to the organization’s important mission.
Beth Ferrier is an Athens attorney with more than three decades of legal experience working in both large and small law firms during her career to assist employers, nonprofit organizations, and individuals with their legal matters. A resident of Athens since 1990, she has served on a number of local nonprofit boards and advised nonprofit clients over the years, from incorporation to dissolution and everything in between. She currently focuses her solo practice at Ferrier Law Office, LLC on business law and estate planning. Beth’s personal success with Live Healthy Appalachia’s CHIP program in 2019 led her to serve on the Board. Beth enjoys gardening, travel (especially to the National Parks), and cooking in her spare time.
Our Advisory Board
Tom Kostohryz is the co-founder of LHA in 2010 and an active part of our advisory board. 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 is an active member of the Athens community. Besides serving actively as a part of our advisory board for LHA, 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.