Health Center News

NHCW Health Center Hero Nominee: Courtney Allen Cowardin

Courtney Allen Cowardin pictured with Paula Zurita, a patient who volunteers with the Saving Grace Food Pantry every week.

Nominee: Courtney Allen Cowardin, CNM

Organization: OneWorld Community Health Centers

Courtney Allen Cowardin, CNM, is the Associate Medical Director of Women’s Health at OneWorld in Omaha, NE.  Courtney has been an employee at OneWorld for 14 years and as one of the health center’s first midwives, she paved the way for additional midwives–at OneWorld and in the greater Omaha community alike.

“She truly lives and breathes our mission. It’s clear to staff and patients alike that providing excellent, holistic care is her top priority,” writes Andrea Skolkin, Chief Executive Officer of OneWorld Community Health Centers.

Last year, after realizing that many patients who receive care at OneWorld’s Women’s Health Center were hungry and often going without food, Courtney connected with Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue, a local nonprofit that delivers excess perishable food to nonprofits that feed the hungry. Thanks to Courtney’s ambition and efforts, Saving Grace now delivers a truckload of food to OneWorld’s main campus every Friday, and patients who struggle with food insecurity leave with bags of fresh produce, dairy products, meat, bread and other healthy groceries. Volunteers unload the truck, sort groceries, and pack bags every week, and Courtney is often found bagging food alongside them and celebrating when a particularly large truckload arrives. In the first six months of their partnership with Saving Grace, OneWorld patients received a total of 15,850 pounds of food. Courtney’s passion for serving others has allowed them to become the only health clinic in Omaha that offers a food pantry service for patients.

The Saving Grace partnership is not Courtney’s only pet project at OneWorld, though. She is also working to fund her second annual coat drive for young patients who might not have warm clothes to wear in the winter. Both last year and this year, she arranged to have a local restaurant drop off leftover food for staff members. Once the food arrives, she asks staff members to donate what they can in exchange for a meal. She then takes the proceeds and shops for warm clothing at secondhand stores. Last October, thanks to her efforts, OneWorld was able to give away hundreds of children’s coats, mittens, hats, scarves and more to our patients for free. The need in the community was so great that the supply of items to give away ran out in under four hours. Her goal this year is to raise enough money to provide enough clothing items for a three-day giveaway event at OneWorld.

“Courtney Allen Cowardin is, without a doubt, a hero at our health center. Not only is she unfailingly kind to the vulnerable families, new mothers and young children she sees every day in the clinic, but she also spends her free time creating new and innovative ways to care for underserved and underprivileged populations in Omaha,” writes Skolkin.

To vote for the Health Center Hero Award Recipient visit the NACHC Facebook Page.