The 2023 Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero Award winner, as selected by the Board of Health: Dr. Kraig Humbaugh
By Kevin Hall, Communications Officer, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Board of Health has selected Dr. Kraig Humbaugh as the 2023 Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero award winner. The award is given annually to individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to improving the health of Lexington residents. The winners are announced each April as part of National Public Health Week (April 3-9, 2023).
Dr. Humbaugh retired as Lexington’s Commissioner of Health in 2022 after serving almost 6 years in the position overseeing the health department’s mission of helping Lexington be well. His legacy continues to be felt in his role during the COVID-19 pandemic. “He worked seven days a week (and) was in frequent and direct contact with city government, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, local schools and universities, homeless and other shelters and a wide variety of community partners,” Dr. Humbaugh’s nomination stated. “Through his insightful and epidemiologically-based leadership, Dr. Humbaugh ensured LFCHD staff were able to provide the community with the latest guidance and disease information and support.”
The award also acknowledges “Dr. Humbaugh’s inspiring leadership and supreme dedication through the greatest public health emergency of our lives. He is the epitome of a public health hero.”
Dr. Humbaugh will be recognized at the April 10 Board of Health meeting at 5:45 p.m. at 650 Newtown Pike.
Previously known as the Public Health Hero Award, the Board of Health renamed the award in 2016 in memory of the late Dr. Rice C. Leach, Lexington’s former Commissioner of Health who spent more than 50 years as a public health physician. Leach died April 1, 2016.
“This is award is humbling and serves to emphasize the great team in place at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department,” Humbaugh said. “To receive an award named after Dr. Leach makes it even more special.”