By Hank Bond
The Greenup Beacon
Diana Williams has taken her path as a healthcare professional to a new level, combining her love of helping and bridging that developing ministries with churches.
Diana is the daughter of the late Eugene Gollihue and Phyllis Gollihue, born January 30, 1955.
She has lived in the area her entire life.
She is married to another native of the area, Mickey Williams. The couple has two sons: Michael Williams of Lexington, KY, and Jonathan Williams of Covington, KY. Jonathan is married to Rebecca and they have a son, Andrew, 3, and a daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth, age 5 months.
She attended Russell Schools for her entire 12 years of public education starting at McDowell through junior high and graduating from Russell in 1973.
She earned her nursing certification from King’s Daughters’ Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1975.
She then attended Marshall University, earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing graduating in 1994. She also attended the University of Kentucky, obtaining a Master’s in Nursing, and graduated in 2006.
In her role she has an expansive sent of responsibilities as she explains.
“I coordinate all of our community ministries at OLBH, which is called Healthy Community Services of OLBH.
“This includes all of our health fairs and screenings; teaching community CPR classes and Safe Sitter classes; helping the 53 churches we partner with to develop health ministry programs and/or faith community nurse ministries.
“We assist these churches in developing health and wellness ministries for their congregation that blend with existing ministries.
“The emphasis is on the relationship between physical and spiritual health.
“We partner with the Church Health Center in Memphis to provide the Basic Foundations for Faith Community Nurses (formerly known as parish nurses) and I teach this course once a year.
“We have done this for the past 3 years. I also oversee a van ministry that we started in 1998.
“This service provides free non-emergency medical transportation for outpatient services at our hospital to people for whom not having transportation a barrier to them is receiving the outpatient services they need.
“We operate three vans, five days a week, and one is equipped with a wheel-chair lift. Senior services is also under the umbrella of Healthy Community Services which is mainly our Meals on Wheels programs,” she said of the busy program.
The program has been around nearly 20 years.
“Our hospital decided to develop health ministry here in 1996. At that time we were part of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Health System and we had a sister hospital in Dayton that had started health ministry.
“Their VP of Mission, Sr. Karen Hartman, and Sharon Becker, the nurse that coordinated the ministry, presented to our board members in March, 1996, and they immediately decided to develop this here.
“At that time I had worked in our home health agency for about 11 years and I had finished my BSN and was looking for something different. When I learned what health ministry is, I was hooked.
“I applied for the position and was hired. So, I got to take something brand new to our area, introduce it and develop it.
“We added the van ministry in 1998 and we have evolved into leading all of our community ministries over the years.”
Diana credits her faith for her career path.
“I am thoroughly convinced that God led me to where I am today. I thought my dream job would be to be the director of the home health agency.
“I was the interim director for a short time, but when it came time to hire a permanent director, even though I had more home health experience, a person with more management experience got the job.
“At the time I was angry, and I applied for a number of positions with other employers. Then the health ministry position was posted and I was hired for that which has taken me down paths I would never have traveled if I had gotten my way and landed the director’s job.
“When our Director of Nursing interviewed me for this position, she asked me why I was interested in the job, and I told her I really thought God wanted me to have this job. I heard her tell that to someone later after I was hired,” Diana recalled.
The job has also included exposure to additional schooling.
“I attended a basic parish nurse foundations course at Marquette University in 1999. I have also taken the facilitator training so that I can teach the current curriculum for Foundations in Faith Community Nursing.
“I did a public health track when I was working on my master’s at UK which has been extremely helpful. I also completed the Kentucky Public Health Leadership Institute in 2010.
“Teaching the Foundations course has helped me grow in my own ministry as well.
“I try to stay current on public health and wellness trends at the local, state and national levels and I share information with our partnering congregations.”
Here’s a list of some of her responsibilities.
“I do a quarterly mailing to all of the churches we partner with. I provide them with articles suitable for their church newsletter or bulletin and I provide Wellness Tips for Body, Mind, Spirit and a Green Tip for each week of the year. Many of our partnering congregations use these in their weekly bulletins.
“I teach a community CPR class once a month and I teach a Safe Sitter class 2 to 3 times/year. I also teach CPR classes for our partnering churches and other organizations on request.
“I lead our Greenup County Interagency Council which provides an opportunity for all of the service agencies in Greenup County to meet and network once a month throughout the school year.
“I lead our hospital’s Green Team and our green initiatives. Since Bon Secours began looking at environmental stewardship in 2010 and holding us accountable for taking care of our earth, we have increased our total recycling from around 17 percent when we started to almost 41 percent this past year.
“I coordinate all of our health fairs and community screenings. Our health screenings are very comprehensive.
“Through the years, we have been able to enhance our screenings to include a total lipid profile, glucose, anemia screening, and an A1C all with a finger stick.
“We provide osteoporosis screening, glaucoma screening, and peripheral vascular disease screening and of course, blood pressure screenings.
“FY15 ended August 31st and I don’t have all of those statistics completed, but in FY14 we provided 127 health fairs,” she said.
“Our van ministry has grown in leaps and bounds the past few years. In FY14 we served 403 individuals, provided 2,479 round trips to outpatient appointments and traveled 64,034 miles.
“Our Senior Services program which includes our Meals on Wheels programs is also under the umbrella of Healthy Community Services.
The future brings many things to mind for Diana and she moves forward.
“I want to continue to broaden the scope of the ministries I’m directing.
“I’m always looking for ways to improve. There is now a certification process for faith community nurses that are endorsed by the American Nurses Association and I would like to pursue that.
“I am also looking forward to retirement within the next few years. I would love to be a parish nurse at my church once I retire.”
Diana credits a broad group who have helped her reach objectives and goals.
“There have been many people who have helped me along the way.
“First and foremost would be Mickey, my husband.
“He has always encouraged me to pursue my education and he has supported where that has taken me.
“He’s great with computers and he can always make power points, handouts, flyers, etc., look the way I want them to.
“I had wonderful mentors from sister hospitals (both Franciscan and Bon Secours) help me develop my health ministry and faith community nursing programs.
“Senior management and my VP have always supported the work I do here as well.
“I like the autonomy and flexibility I have. I love getting to work with all of the people I’ve encountered—both people I have trained and mentored and people I have met through doing health screenings and education.
“It’s wonderful when someone comes back and tells me something we’ve done in our screenings or mailings has impacted them and made a difference in their life.
“For example, there was a man that went through our health screenings at Summer Motion a couple of years ago.
“We checked his hemoglobin and discovered he was dangerously anemic. His wife had retired from OLBH and we finally convinced him to seek further medical treatment.
“It was discovered that he had a tumor in his colon which was successfully removed. Had we not discovered he was anemic, he may not have been diagnosed so early and the outcome could have been very different.
“Since I work with churches a lot as part of health ministry and faith community nursing, I get to blend my nursing skills with my faith and that’s very special.
“This has resulted in our hand bell choir being invited to play at events and places in the community that gives us a chance to minister to spiritual needs as well as physical needs.”
Diana has put her list of duties in perspective and shares her believe that her responsibilities continue to increase.
“I think what I do is more timely now than it has ever been.
“Our health care system is complicated and people need to be informed and educated to make good choices and to be advocates for their own health.
“So, I think just keeping myself current and continuing to build community relationships and partnerships are the best ways to reach my goals.”
Each day offers her a new avenue of experience as she continues to pursue her healthy aspirations.
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