2013 Health Champions
Michel Loomis retired January 1, 2013, after teaching English and physical education at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School for 31 years. The school gymnasium is referred to as the “The Loomis Gym” because she volunteered to open and supervise the gymnasium for students who wanted to use it before school. Over 25 years ago she helped start a 2-mile fun run for students, and over the years it has become an annual fundraising event that all of the students participate in along with neighbors, teachers and parents. Loomis also started an after-school “Smart Strength” program that’s free and open to all students.
“In teaching the youth of our society to appreciate health and fitness, in modeling healthful living among students, and in opening avenues for lifelong fitness activities to young teens, Michel Loomis impacts the youth, the parents of the youth and the future parents who will raise the next generation of Kansans.” -Lawrence resident Nora Murphy.
At age 16, Josie Naron says she is pursuing her dream: a career in public health where she can help fight infectious diseases and solve societal issues. Naron has been a volunteer at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department for more than a year. Her work has included analyzing statistics on childhood injuries and then putting them into graphics for community use and entering immunization information into a statewide database. She’s working on a project that looks at how the lack of transportation can affect residents’ well-being. This summer, she will spend three weeks at Johns Hopkins University for a “Civic Leadership Institute,” where she will study public health, societal issues and community development.
“I was very impressed with Josie the first time I met her. She’s very bright and has passion and interest in learning as much as she can about public health. Though she maintains a rigorous class schedule, participates in school activities and works part-time as a piano teacher, she still wants to contribute to the health of the Lawrence community.” — Kim Ens, Director of Clinic Services at the Health Department