Keisha Deonarine named Executive Director of Passport Foundation

KeishaKeisha Deonarine has been named Executive Director of the Passport Foundation.

She joins Passport with a background in banking, economic development, fundraising, and community development. She most recently served as the Senior Community Health Director for the American Heart Association; prior to that, she was the Economic Development Manager for Louisville Forward, the economic and community branch of Metro Louisville government.

“Keisha has a proven track record, securing development funds for Metro Louisville,” said Passport CEO Mark B. Carter. “We are very excited to have her join our team during this time of transformational opportunity within the communities we serve.”

The Passport Foundation will seek philanthropic support to fuel innovation that positively impacts the social determinants of health and promotes health equity, with a special focus on marginalized populations across Kentucky. An initial focus for the Foundation is securing support for creation of the Health and Well-being Campus in West Louisville. Philanthropy will help build this world-class campus, which will serve as a model of collaboration to build a healthy community where everyone has the opportunity to flourish.

For more information, please click here.


Go Red for Women helps increase awareness and education year-round about importance of heart health

Go Red for Women LogoGoing Red, as defined by the American Heart Association (AHA), may be the best thing a woman can do for her health.

The AHA began its Go Red for Women initiative in 2003 to bring awareness to the fact that heart disease is the number one killer of women, according to a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville. That amounts to 1 in 3 women who die, which is more than all cancer deaths combined, according to the AHA.

Go Red for Women is “a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health,” according to the website. More than a million women nationally have committed to Go Red.

“My goal is to make it not only a February thing, but we should make it 365 days a year. Everybody should be thinking about heart health,” said Jill Bell, vice president of Passport Health Plan and chair of the 2017 Go Red for Women Luncheon in Louisville, which will be held on Friday, May 19. For more information about the event, please click here. Or to see a video about what Go Red for Women means to two Louisville women, please click here.

Passport and the American Heart Association Distribute CPR Anytime Kits around Appalachian Region

Soar logoPassport and the American Heart Association (AHA) are working together to create a new generation of lifesavers in eastern Kentucky.

In conjunction with SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region), the AHA and PHP are giving away “CPR Anytime” kits in rural areas of Kentucky throughout the spring and summer of 2017. The groups will be working together to assure the kits are distributed to families and at-risk groups where CPR training will have the best opportunity of saving lives. 

“We are proud to be collaborating with the American Heart Association to provide these CPR Anytime kits to our friends at SOAR and share them all over the region,” said Jill Bell, Passport Vice President and Chief Communications Officer. “It is our mission to help improve the health and quality of life of all our members, and by working together, we can help all Kentuckians live healthier lives.”

The first distribution of these lifesaving kits was held March 16 at Union College at the SOAR Obesity and Diabetes Roundtable and representatives from PHP, as well as the AHA were in attendance. SOAR’s involvement in this program is in direct correlation with their mission to improve the quality of life and support all those working to achieve these goals in Appalachian Kentucky.

For more information, please click here. For more information about SOAR, please click here.


It’s time to ‘Go Red for Women’ and fight heart disease

Insider Louisville LogoLet’s start with some good news: The fight against heart disease, the number one killer of women, is producing positive results.

Since 2004, when the national Go Red for Women organization began educating women about risk factors, 34 percent fewer women are dying of heart disease. That’s 300 women per day.

Jane Merman, Kentucky’s Go Red for Women Director, has seen the improvement during 14 years in her position.

“For many years it was thought of as a man’s disease,” Merman says in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville. “But more women actually die of heart disease than men and have since 1984. The good news is that 80 percent of the time, it can be prevented if we make the right choices when it comes to our lifestyle. We can’t control family history and our age, but we can control how we live our lives and we can know our numbers, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose levels.

“If things are not right, we can do something about it, either through lifestyle or with medication.”

Go Red for Women, a part of the American Heart Association, organizes four major annual events — Wear Red Day on Feb. 3, the annual Heart Ball in February, a luncheon in May, and a walk in September. Kicking off the campaign with the annual Wear Red Day, the organization hopes seeing so many people wearing red will help spark conversations and action to change unhealthy lifestyles.

For more information, including a special video all about the Go Red for Women movement in Kentucky, please click here.


Passport partners with American Heart Association to help people control their high blood pressure

Go Red for Women LogoAbout 1 in 3 Americans live with high blood pressure, which comes to nearly 80 million people. Of those with high blood pressure, about half do not have it controlled, which increases risks for stroke and heart attack.

If you or someone you know has high blood pressure, don’t panic – the American Heart Association and Passport Health Plan are here to help. Between American Heart Month (February) and American Stroke Month (May), we will be cohosting a series of Facebook Live sessions – hosted by Charla Young – where you can learn all about the ways to live a heart-healthy lifestyle through the “Check. Change. Control.” program.

The first session, “Understanding Blood Pressure is Why,” will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31. Additional sessions will occur in March (“Eat Better”), April (“Get Active”), and May (“Lose Weight”) at dates still to be determined.

Participants will learn valuable information and then be asked to report 2 blood pressure screenings each month through the American Heart Association’s online tracker.

To take part in these sessions, click here to join the Facebook “Power to Exhale” group, hosted by Charla, or send an email to Jane Merman of the American Heart Association at


American Heart Association creates online community for patients and caregivers to come together and share stories

Insider Louisville LogoTo help remind people that they are not alone, the American Heart Association (AHA) recently started a free online community for patients and caregivers to come together and talk with other people who are going through similar situations.

Once someone has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition, such as heart disease, it’s natural for them to experience a wide range of emotions, including loneliness. That’s why the AHA created the Patient Support Network (online at so that patients and their family members can share stories about their experiences.

“The Patient Support Network is a community of survivors and family members who can share experiences, give and receive emotional support and have their questions answered,” Matt Rountree, of the AHA’s local chapter, said in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville. “Connecting with others who are either a survivor, or are caring for a survivor of heart disease or stroke, is an important next step to emotional recovery. We want others to know they are not alone in their journey.”

To learn more about the AHA and this Patient Support Network, please click here.


‘CPR in Schools’ bill could save thousands of lives by training students in key lifesaving skill

Insider Louisville LogoThe American Heart Association and other health organizations are supporting a “CPR in Schools” bill during this year’s session of the Kentucky Legislature to ensure that students across the Commonwealth learn the lifesaving skill of basic CPR.

“In just a few years we could have hundreds of thousands of young adults who know how to respond in a cardiac emergency, bringing these skills into our companies and neighborhoods,” said Tonya Chang, Senior Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association. “Once passed, Senate Bill 33 will save countless lives across the Commonwealth, but to do so we need the community’s support to help our legislators understand the need for this law.”

Similar laws have already passed in 27 states, according to the American Heart Association, ensuring that 1.6 million students in the U.S. learn how to respond in a cardiac emergency.

For more information, please check out this Passport-sponsored article in Insider Louisville.


Go Red For Women Luncheon aims to raise awareness about heart disease and create a call to action

Go Red for Women LogoHeart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the U.S.

While both men and women can experience chest pressure that many say feels like an elephant sitting on the chest, women often have symptoms that they don’t connect to heart disease, such as extreme fatigue, irregular back discomfort, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness, jaw pain, shortness of breath and nausea, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are all risk factors for heart disease. In addition, certain lifestyle factors can put people at risk, such as an unhealthy diet that is high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium; physical inactivity; obesity; too much alcohol (more than one drink a day for women, more than two for men); and tobacco use.

Passport is proud to be a co-sponsor of the 2015 Lexington Go Red For Women Luncheon. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, at the Lexington Center’s Heritage Hall, 400 W. Vine St. Tickets are $100 each or $1,000 for a table of 10. For more information, please go online to or click here.

The Go Red for Women effort focuses on three areas: heightening awareness of the issue, creating a passionate call to action, and generating funds to support education and research. For more information, check out the AHA website at


Passport sponsors Healthy Family Training Camp in Louisville

American Heart AssoicationLace up your tennis shoes and join the American Heart Association for a fun-filled afternoon of games and activities to learn how to live a heart healthy life-style as a family.

Passport Health Plan is a proud sponsor of the Healthy Family Training Camp on Sunday, November 15, at the KFC Yum! Center in Downtown Louisville. The event – which starts at noon – includes cooking demonstrations, nutrition information, sports demonstrations, health screenings, CPR education, games, prizes, and much more.

This free event is open to the public, but people need to register – go online to or call (502) 371-6016. As a bonus, all registered participants will receive complimentary tickets to the University of Louisville women’s basketball game at 2 p.m.!


American Heart Association Works to Fight Heart Disease

Insider Louisville LogoFor 90 years, heart disease has been the No. 1 killer of Americans, with cancer a distant second.

But the American Heart Association (AHA) believes it is close to changing that ranking, thanks to its ongoing commitment to encourage people to stop smoking, get exercise and eat a healthy diet.

“The AHA has been working toward this goal for the last 90 years and we are very close to seeing it be accomplished,” said Matt Rountree, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing for the Kentucky and Southern Ohio chapter of the AHA.

To learn more about what Passport and the AHA are doing to fight heart disease, check out this Passport-sponsored Insider Louisville article.