On April 6 Keystone Health’s founder, President, and CEO Joanne Cochran was honored with this year’s International ATHENA Award by the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. The award is given to someone who demonstrates professional, community, and personal leadership and who actively assists women in reaching their full leadership potential.
Joanne founded Keystone Health in 1986 after recognizing the area’s migrant workers were in need of healthcare. She started the company in the basement of her home with the help of three volunteers, and together they provided part-time seasonal care to workers in Franklin County. That season, Keystone served approximately 500 migrant workers.
Thirty-one years later, Keystone Health serves more than 50,000 patients annually and employs over 400 people. While the company still serves migrant patients, it has expanded to serve the community as a whole. Patients from all walks of life can be seen at Keystone, regardless of their ability to pay, and it has become the largest multi-specialty Federally Qualified Healthcare Center in the nation. Through Joanne’s tireless commitment and dedication, Keystone has grown to be the non-profit community pillar it is today.
Joanne has continually been an innovative leader, demonstrating compassion, creativity, fearlessness, and always leading by example. And she has continually spearheaded the efforts to add services to meet the community’s needs.
After founding Keystone Health, she took on the responsibility throughout the years to expand and improve the services offered as she saw different community needs arise. When she found out people with Medical Assistance did not have a place to go for behavioral health treatment, she added those services to Keystone’s scope. As the HIV/AIDS and STD prevalence rose, she not only added programs, but led Keystone to become the area’s leading provider of HIV services for the past twenty-plus years.
When she realized how many community members could not afford their medications, she led the way to open a pharmacy and its accompanying prescription discount program. When marketplace health insurance took effect under President Obama, Joanne helped the community yet again, overseeing the addition of Keystone’s Outreach Enrollment department, which employs navigators to help people sign up for the plan that would be best for them, and/or connect them with Keystone’s sliding fee program, all for no charge.
When the area’s leading provider of pediatric therapy services was going to be forced close its door last year, Joanne realized this would be the end of care for many children who are in desperate need of speech and occupational therapy. These services were not otherwise readily available in the community, especially for children in low-income households. She led the effort for Keystone to take over this company, and less than a year later, Keystone Pediatric Therapies has doubled in size. In 2016 Joanne also oversaw the addition of a health clinic in the Chambersburg Area Senior High School, a partnership with Over the Rainbow to provide services to children who are victims of abuse, led the effort for patient drug and alcohol interventions, and significantly expanded Keystone’s dental practice, including the addition of pediatric dental services.
These are just a few highlights of the numerous undertakings Joanne has accomplished over the company’s history. And she never forgot the company’s original mission, as the migrant program now serves patients in 141 camps throughout 37 counties.
During her acceptance speech Joanne said, “I am accepting this award in honor of the many women, and men too, who have given so much of their time, energy, and themselves over these past 31 years…I am grateful from the bottom of my heart for each and every one of you. I believe women can change the world if we use our God-given virtues of loving, caring, nurturing, giving, and protecting and compassionately standing our ground when it comes to issues of family and social justice.
“It’s not about how much we do, but more about how much love we put into what we do. Love can change the world.”