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Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney, 2023 Humanitarian Award Recipient

Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney receives 2023 Humanitarian Award for her work to establish Missouri’s first charitable pharmacy

annual report fy23

A Prescription for Compassion

In describing the qualities that led to Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney receiving the 2023 Humanitarian Award, longtime friend and colleague Anne E. McGregor leaned into the charismatic qualities of strong leaders.

“A leader has a lot of grace,” McGregor said. “They can see through the moment. They can inspire others to join in. When I think of Heather and what she’s done in the community of Branson and Stone and Taney counties and even throughout the state, she has invited people in, me included, to see what’s going on through her lens.”

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CFO Board Chair Dean Thompson and Chair Emeritus Laurie Edmondson presented the 2023 Humanitarian Award to Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney at Springfield’s National Philanthropy Day celebration in late November.

Lyons-Burney was honored for her work to establish My Neighbor’s Charitable Pharmacy in Branson. The concept required changes in state legislation to create a pharmacy that provides access to medications and health care resources for people who don’t receive public assistance like Medicaid, but can’t afford the costs on their own.

An associate professor of pharmacy at University of Missouri-Kansas City, Lyons-Burney now serves as board president and a volunteer pharmacist for My Neighbor’s Charitable Pharmacy. Her interest in that project stemmed from her involvement at Faith Community Health, a clinic where she also serves uninsured and underserved Branson-area residents.

“I was invited to a group of catalysts who really sought to figure out a way to do better for our community in the Branson area,” Lyons-Burney said. “How can we help the people who are uninsured get better health care? That’s what we sought to do in the whole-person care model. And that was the birth of Faith Community Health. I’m so proud to be a part of that. It is one of the babies that I birthed along with my three children.”

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Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney on her efforts to establish Missouri’s first charitable Pharmacy: “I’m so proud that we are able now to provide access to medications to anyone who qualifies within southwest Missouri.”

She is steadfastly focused on a range of issues, including preventing prescription drug misuse and the opioid epidemic; achieving a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; targeting underage alcohol and tobacco use; and preventing accidental poisonings.

“With Faith Community Health, what we recognized early on is that you have to give people tools and education. By removing that burden off their back of ‘how am I going to pay for this,’ they do great,” she said.

“One of those big, heavy, confusing tools was medications. We were doing a great job inside Faith Community Health, but we weren’t doing a good job for the wider community. After another two-year labor, we birthed My Neighbor’s Charitable Pharmacy. I’m so proud that we are able now to provide access to medications to anyone who qualifies within southwest Missouri.”

CFO Board Chair Emeritus Laurie Edmondson helped present the award, which was founded in 1990 by her late godmother, Jewell Thompson Schweitzer, to honor individuals in our region who excel at serving others in a humanitarian capacity. The honor includes a $5,000 award, which Lyons-Burney will split between the pharmacy and the clinic.

By Louise Knauer

Read more from Annual Report FY23

In good company

Dr. Lyons-Burney received the Humanitarian Award on Nov. 28 as part of the National Philanthropy Day celebration hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals–Ozark Region Chapter. This year’s selection committee, facilitated by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, was chaired by Brian Hammons, Hammons Products Company, Stockton, and included Kim Cox, Ozark Gateway Association of Realtors, Joplin; Rev. Don Everts, First & Calvary Presbyterian Church, Springfield; Pastor Dennis Miller, Aldersgate Church, Nixa; Jaimie Trussell, Council of Churches of the Ozarks, Springfield; Aaron Wheeler, Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative, West Plains; and Pam Yancey, Arvest Bank, Branson.

The AFP chapter honored a number of others making a difference in the Springfield and southwest Missouri:

Outstanding Fundraising Campaign/Event of the Year: Harmony House’s Purple Party

Fundraising Professional of the Year: Lizzie Vigneaux, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks

Philanthropic Business/Corporation of the Year: Associated Wholesale Grocers

Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation of the Year: Hospice Foundation of the Ozarks

Fundraising Rising Star of the Year: Kathryn Wall, Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks

Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year: Dr. Alan and Dr. Meera Scarrow

Outstanding Youth Philanthropist of the Year: Bennett Potter

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year: Christine Temple

Child Health Advocate of the Year, presented by the Ozarks Health Advocacy Foundation: Brandy Harris, Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield

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