Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Announces Leadership Succession • Kentucky Lantern

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Announces Leadership Succession • Kentucky Lantern

After nearly a decade at the helm of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Ben Chandler is set to retire at the end of 2024.

The foundation announced its plan Thursday and said its current chief operating officer, Allison Adams, would take her place. She will serve as president and CEO beginning Jan. 1.

Chandler became CEO of the foundation in 2016 after serving as the state’s attorney general and representing Kentucky’s 6th US Congressional District from 2004 to 2013.

As attorney general from 1995 to 2003, he won a $45 million settlement to compensate the public for charitable assets that were lost in the merger of Anthem and Blue Cross Blue Shield. The money from the settlement was used to establish the foundation.

Chandler is from Versailles, in Woodford County, where his family publishes The Woodford Sun.

“It has been an incredible experience leading the Foundation that I helped make possible during my time as an elected official,” Chandler said in a statement. “I have achieved things that many thought were impossible. While I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past eight years, I know there’s more to do. I have the utmost confidence and trust in the future of the organization with Allison at the helm.”

Reducing tobacco use was a priority for Chandler. He and the foundation advocated for a state cigarette tax increase, which the legislature did in 2018, and a tobacco-free school campus bill in 2019, which led to several school districts adopting tobacco-free campus policies .

Chandler led the foundation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting vaccine confidence through statewide campaigns, events and research, according to a statement from the foundation.

Marianne Smith Edge, chair of the board, said: “The board is grateful to Ben and all he has done for the foundation over the past eight years. His vision to lead the organization in policy advocacy has resulted in many victories for the health of Kentuckians.”

The new CEO

Adams joined the foundation in September 2020 and served as vice president of public policy before being named COO in January 2023, according to the foundation.

Before arriving at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Adams, who is from Maysville, headed the Buffalo Trace District Health Department. She also worked as a registered nurse for the Kentucky Association of Health Departments.

“I am so honored and excited to have been chosen to take over the reins of such a dedicated and respected organization,” Adams said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to work with Ben for the past four years to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians. Our state still faces many health challenges, and I will not back down on my commitment to creating a Commonwealth where every person has what they need to live a healthy life.”