Healthy Blair County Coalition has new director


United Way of the Southern Alleghenies


The Healthy Blair County Coalition, under the umbrella of the United Way of the Southern

           Billie Kochara

Alleghenies, has hired Billie Kochara as its new director. 

Billie has a long career in health and human services with a variety of agencies. 

For much of it, she followed her husband, Scott, during his tours in the U.S. Navy. They have been married for 25 years. During that time, she helped to develop programs for the Marine Corps, working with wounded Marines at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She has worked with seniors at Blair Senior Services, mostly helping them with Medicare questions. She also worked in an academic services capacity at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. 

Billie has a master's degree from Mount Aloysius, specializing in health and human services and nonprofit management. She plans to attain a master's in social work as well. 

The service work will continue with the coalition, a partnership of organizations working to promote the social, economic, emotional, and physical well-being of area residents. 

"The mission is to assess facets of a healthy Blair County by sharing resources, engaging local partnerships, and implementing strategies and programs to make a positive impact on the lives of the people in Blair County," Billie said about the coalition's role. 

Healthy lifestyles, substance use and physical health, mental health and suicide prevention, Nicotine

Free Communities, poverty and food, and a Youth Connection Task Force are part of the focus areas. The agency also helps to implement the periodic Community Health Needs Assessment. 

"I would also like to highlight the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale. It was a program developed out of the work from the Coalition committees. It has grown far beyond Blair County and is being used on a state and national level," she said. 

Billie applied for the job because the description reminded her of a post she enjoyed at the Armed Services YMCA in Norfolk. Now, she will put that experience to work for civilians. 

United Way President & CEO Karen Struble Myers is excited to see what Billie accomplishes. 

“The Healthy Blair County Coalition director role requires a unique set of skills. Billie brings a unique mix of health and human services experience and training and development to the position. I know she’ll be a great asset to improving social determinants of health in Blair County," she said.  

Billie and Scott have two grown children and one grandchild, who Billie considers to be her greatest hobby. She loves Disney and is a self-declared expert on the popular entertainment brand. She also likes being outside, fishing, and kayaking. 

"I love challenges and I love building things. I think we can do so much in Blair County to continue helping the residents, and I am ready," Billie said. 

She follows Coleen Heim, who held the job for 16 years, improving the health of the region.