Kathey Avery and LeeAnne Tucker
LeeAnne Tucker (right), Director of the Area Agency on Aging, presented Kathey Avery with the Carol McLimans 2021 Trailblazer Award.

Kathey Avery, RN, is a native of Western North Carolina and a long-time professional healthcare provider, educator, and advocate.

She has worked in numerous settings and is especially dedicated to improving the health and well-being of minority and other underserved populations.

For many years she has educated regional communities about diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast and prostate cancers, and other health disparities through community health screenings and educational events held in churches, Asheville public housing, MAHEC, the YMCA, and through the Shiloh Neighborhood Association. During her 11-year tenure at ABIPA, Kathey helped serve over 7,200 clients.

Avery’s practical approach to solving healthcare inequities includes training and promoting the use of Community Health Workers to broaden the outreach of health professionals in low-income settings. Her caring extends to people living alone with dementia who have little or no support, by helping them receive a diagnosis and guiding them to appropriate resources. When the Covid-19 vaccine became available, she traveled door to door throughout the region, listening to residents’ fears and concerns and offering information.

Kathey Avery’s work for racial equity, especially in healthcare, has spanned decades. Her involvement with Building Bridges, Mission Hospital’s Diversity Committee, the Racial Justice Coalition, and the WNC Health Equity Coalition all speak to her commitment to helping the Asheville-Buncombe County community confront and overcome racism. Her many accomplishments are impressive, but her character truly makes her a community leader and inspiration to others. Her integrity, positivity, compassion, sense of humor, work ethic, and love for her profession set her apart.

The Area Agency on Aging was proud to award Kathey Avery the Carol McLimans 2021 Trailblazer Award.