KU Cares: Jayhawks on the Frontlines

BETH LLEWELLYN was a multi-sport student-athlete at the University of Kansas in the 1970’s, lettering in track and field and field hockey. She has been a long-time member of the Williams Education Fund and has also been involved with the K Club in a leadership role. After walking down The Hill in 1978, Llewellyn pursued a career in the public health system, serving several hospitals in various leadership positions. She has since returned to Lawrence and now serves as the director of community health and human resources for the Douglas County Public Health Department, where she is helping in the effort to manage COVID-19.

In her role, Llewellyn assists with the logistics and planning for LMH Health in response to this pandemic, as well as providing guidance to hospital leadership and storytelling on a local and national basis.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected life as we currently know it, Llewellyn has identified those whom she believes are the true heroes as we continue this return to normalcy.

“Those who are essential workers and continue to work and walk into it are my heroes. We are seeing people rise to their best,” Llewellyn said. “(The ones who are) extra creative and compassionate members of the community. (Those who) reach out to boost one another, make masks, create parades around their neighborhoods. They are the ones who give me the most tingles.”

During these trying times, it can be hard to stay positive. Llewellyn chooses to remain steadfast and optimistic in her belief that things will change for the better once we have successfully overcome this virus.

“I am seeing the best of people, and I do believe this event is going to change us for the better,” Llewellyn said. “Connections and relationships are going to be better. Telemedicine is going to get better. This is going to help us remove barriers, keep us healthy and help us learn more. We are going to come out of this stronger and more positive. Stay the course. Trust the process. There is a brighter future ahead.”

What advice does Llewellyn have for her fellow community members?

“The best thing you can do to help is keep promoting social distancing and hand washing,” Llewellyn said. “People need to believe this is real and that all of these things help! Support small businesses, if you can!”

We are thankful for Beth Llewellyn, and every other Jayhawk who is on the frontlines across the country by doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.