Familiar faces from the Owensboro area are looking to help make an impact in the Commonwealth through their respective passions and trades.
Marianne Smith Edge — a registered dietitian, sixth generation farm owner, co-founder of IMPACT 100 Owensboro and founder/principal of the food and agriculture communications consulting firm The AgriNutrition Edge — has recently been named chair of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
Edge began in the role Jan. 1.
Edge started with the foundation in 2019 when she was named to its board of directors, making her the first Owensboro resident to serve on its board since 2006.
She recently finished her term as the vice chair and led the strategic planning and evaluation committee for the past two years.
Additionally, Edge served as the senior vice president for nutrition and food safety communications for the International Food Information Council (IFIC) in Washington, D.C., former president of The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and as a member of the Institute for Food Technologists (IFT) and the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), among other roles and involvement.
Edge found getting involved with the organization was an opportunity to bring her experiences “to look at how we can change the health status of Kentucky.”
“I had worked in Washington, D.C., for about 61/2 years and engaged with various government entities and health policy,” she said. “I see it as a great opportunity to work statewide again on addressing some of the challenges we have in the state when it comes to overall health status.”
While Edge said there’s “a long list of areas of where we could improve,” two priorities the foundation will focus on in the next five years are access to health care for all Kentuckians and children’s health.
“We have looked at those previously, but (we really want) to hone in our work in those areas and looking at opportunities where we, as a foundation, can really bring about collaboration for partnerships not only within the health system, but across businesses and other organizations,” she said.
Dan Griffith, former Owensboro Symphony CEO and former member of the Owensboro Public Schools Board of Education, will continue as chair of the Kentucky Authority for Educational Television — the governing body for Kentucky Educational Television (KET).
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Griffith was first appointed to the board in 2017 by then-governor Matt Bevin and was reappointed in 2021 by Gov. Andy Beshear. His term expires June 30, 2025.
He was chair from 2019-21 before being reelected to the position for 2022-24.
Griffith became involved with the organization in 1987 when he joined the Friends of KET board of directors. He served as president of the board from 1991-92.
In his time with KET, Griffith received the public television volunteer of the year award for his service to the organization in 1990, the KET Founders Award for volunteer service in 2008 and the National Friends of PBS Grassroots Advocacy Award in 2010.
Griffith finds KET has been vital in promoting two things close to him — education and the arts.
“Every part and every step of my life, KET has met a special need,” he said. “Every step of the way, there’s been a different learning opportunity through KET; and I’m just hooked on it. You can turn on KET and, rest assured, you can put your child in front of that television and know that child is safe.”
Griffith highlighted advancements KET has made in recent years, especially during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, such as making its programming available through streaming.
He also emphasized the creation of the new evening news broadcast “Kentucky Edition” — something Griffith said “has been talked about for years” and launched in the summer of 2022 — is something that “really brings the commonwealth together.”
“The program is a 30-minute program that highlights the news of the day from around the commonwealth of Kentucky,” he said. “It’s a blessing that we have this nightly news now, especially when we go through times like the horrific tornadoes, the horrific floods in eastern Kentucky.
“That’s one of the greatest achievements that I think we’ve been able to do over the last couple of years.”
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