Judy Baar Topinka began her career in journalism and went on to blaze a pioneering path as a public servant in Illinois. First elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1980, Judy later became a state senator and was elected as the first woman to serve as the state’s Treasurer. As a legislator and civic leader, Judy was an advocate for the health and welfare of the residents of Illinois. Many of her legislative achievements focus on improving healthcare quality and access. Her expertise in health policy led her to chair the Health and Welfare Committee of the Illinois Senate. She believed in public service and was tireless in her advocacy of those in need. She believed in passion, hard work, ethical leadership, and persistence. The successful applicant will share these qualities and characteristics.

Judy Baar Topinka’s legacy is one of good government, ethics, compromise, and love of heritage. Her life demonstrates how anyone with passion, drive, and hard work can succeed in face of great odds. Judy took on the establishment and the status quo and succeeded. She never gave up in life, whether as a child, mother, student, newspaper reporter, legislator, or state level leader. Her life has solid lessons for future generations; she is a true role model in any environment. We need more people like Judy making things better for us all. The scholarship/honorarium is designed to fund living expenses or other costs while a student is an intern/fellow following a professional path in the spirit of the scholarship/honorarium’s namesake.


The 2019 CAHME/Judy Baar Topinka Scholarship Honoree

Kelly Page is a Master’s student in the department of Health Policy and Management at the UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. Kelly’s lifelong interest and passion for health and wellness began in her youth and it led her to UNC Charlotte where she earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Health and Human Services. Upon her graduation, Kelly was awarded the Distinguished Leaders Medal by the university and began her healthcare career in an outpatient physical therapy clinic. Kelly gained direct patient care experience which exposed her to the significant impact that health systems have on the lives of patients and families. This served as the foundation for her decision to pursue a career in healthcare leadership.

After two years of clinical experience, Kelly began the Master of Healthcare Administration program at UNC Chapel Hill to gain the skills necessary to help communities achieve better health outcomes at the system level. At UNC Chapel Hill, Kelly was elected and serves as Health Policy and Management Senator for the Graduate and Professional Student Federation. She is also an executive board member of the Health Policy and Management Student Council, member of the UNC Healthcare Executives Student Organization and member of the UNC Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School Chapter. Kelly is a member of the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) and the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Kelly is a volunteer Troop Co-Leader for Girl Scouts of the USA among her involvement in several other community service organizations and has a special interest in planning and developing social action and public health programs. Kelly hopes to help improve healthcare access, quality and safety for all people through advocacy and leadership in her future career and through her life work.

(original publish date 5/82019 | last revised 8/15/2019 )

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