Kathie Brown: Leading Wheeling Health Right a Calling

WHEELING – Kathie Brown is proud of the way Wheeling Health Right has stepped up to serve the under-insured with its medical needs since its inception in 1984.

Wheeling Health Right was established by Nancy Lipphardt, who brought the concept to Wheeling after starting a Health Right in Charleston, according to the organization’s website. Lipphardt noticed many of the people coming to the soup kitchen in Charleston were those who made too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough money to afford private insurance.

For the past 30 years, Brown has led Wheeling Health Right as its executive director. She said the clinic stands out for several reasons.

“Most importantly we believe that everyone is treated equally and with respect. We never lose sight of the patient and work tirelessly to do what is in the best interest of the underinsured,” she said. “We are a full-service primary care center and look at the needs of Health Right, don’t duplicate what others do and seek funding for specific needs and don’t ‘chase’ funding and make up programs. We strive to always be sustainable.”

Some of her goals for the clinic include to continue evaluating the under-insured people’s needs and develop programs to help them. She said the clinic is also working to complete its new addition that will allow for expansion of dental care services, along with a drive-through pharmacy. The drive-through was caused by the pandemic, but will also help people with disabilities get the medications easier.

Brown said she is most proud of how the clinic has grown.

“I don’t focus on myself, ever, but when I’m forced to look at how Health Right has grown, I am so proud of the growth and expansion of the clinic and the ability to provide quality medical, dental and pharmaceuticals to those most in need,” she said. “I’m so proud of my staff and the strong family that we are, always thinking of our patients and each other. I’m especially proud of how the pandemic has helped us to serve the entire community through COVID testing, vaccinations and providing health education to everyone.”

Brown has been married to her husband Rich Brown for 45 years. They have two adult children, Rick and Kyle, and three grandchildren, Kyle Austin, Kyah and Ryder.

Brown went to Triadelphia High School. She received her bachelor of science in nursing from Alderson-Broaddus College. She holds a master’s in administration from Nova Southeastern University.

She grew up in the Springdale neighborhood of Wheeling, an only child to her “wonderful parents,” Harold and Bernice Hays, she said. Brown now lives in the Park View area of Wheeling.

Brown was in the Leadership Wheeling class of 1990 when a friend in the class, Bill Gossett, encouraged her to apply for the position at Wheeling Health Right.

“My interview with Paul Turner and Chip Railing of Wheeling Health Right’s board was the hardest interview of my life,” she noted. “I believe that my love of nursing and desire to help others ignited a passion in my heart to take the job. I really believe God led me to take on this mission.”

Brown is looking forward to more years of helping people in need at Wheeling Health Right.

“I am so very honored that I was hired to lead this organization and given the unique opportunity to meet the needs of the underinsured in the best way I knew possible,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the friends and relationships I have developed through the past 30 years and hope that the clinic continues to meet the needs of our community for many years to come.”

Brown said her business philosophy is “that regardless of social status or income, everyone must be treated with respect and kindness and you must always advocate for the less fortunate.” Her philosophy on life is that “kindness and respect are the key to happiness.”

“You must hold strong to your faith, respect who you are and always try to help others,” she added.