Melody is an Extension Specialist and the Engagement Director with CEDIK and provides a variety of extension training and outreach activities in this role. Her responsibilities include supporting rural health networks and health coalitions with resources, training and coaching. She leads focus groups and key informant interviews for projects in rural Kentucky such as hospital and public health department community health needs assessments, and economic impact studies. Some of the networks that she has assisted include Purchase Area Health Connections, Healthy Hickman County Coalition, Madison County Health and Wellness Network, Project Home, Russell County Health Coalition and the Clay, Jackson & Rockcastle Health Network. Health organizations include Purchase District Health Department, Four Rivers Behavioral Health, Marcum & Wallace Memorial Hospital, Trigg County Hospital, Crittenden Health Systems, Livingston Hospital and Health Services, and Wayne County Hospital. In addition, she works with statewide partners including Kentucky Office of Rural Health, Kentucky Hospital Association and currently serves as board member and secretary of the Kentucky Rural Health Association. All of these partnerships provide support and assistance for community organizations that foster community and economic development in the state.
Melody’s extension administration duties allow her to work with District Directors and 120 County Extension Offices as a support to their community and economic development needs and activities, specifically related to leadership training and rural health. She has created an agent advisory group to address the growing needs of working with health coalitions in the state. The group includes representatives from Breathitt, Carlisle, Hardin, Hickman, Henderson, Livingston, Pike, Whitley, and Woodford counties. In addition she works 4H agents to implement the CEDIK youth engagement and leadership program, YELP, in several Kentucky communities with the most recent being Crittenden County High School, Butler High School and West Carter High School.
Before joining CEDIK, Melody served as the outreach coordinator for the Purchase Area Health Education Center, housed at Murray State University. She has extensive outreach experience and community coalition building throughout the 13 county area of Western KY. Her previous work experience includes Regional Cancer Control Specialist with the University of Louisville’s Kentucky Cancer Program for six years and as the Health Education Coordinator at the Purchase District Health Department for 9 years.
Melody coordinated the Western KY Rural Healthcare Network of seven rural hospitals in far western KY for eight years. In addition, she created and coordinated a Rural Community Health Scholars program, a summer program for MSU pre-health professions students. She created and coordinated the “Letters from Home” program for medical students from Western KY studying at U of L, UK and Pikeville School of Osteopathic Medicine. This provided a coordinated effort to recruit future physicians back to practice in or near their hometowns in an effort to reduce the physician shortage in rural Kentucky.
Melody is a Kentucky Public Health Leadership Fellow and completed the National Cooperative of Health Networks Leadership Institute. She has served on numerous boards including the UK Extension State Advisory Council, Kentucky Rural Health Association, Kentucky Coalition on Teen Pregnancy and “The Bridge” quarterly magazine advisory board from the Kentucky Office of Rural Health. She planned and coordinated the “Strengthening Skills for Leading Others” educational series for rural hospitals that won the Education Technology Team Award in the Southern Region from NACDEP in June 2016.