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Sports medicine, service important to Young Alumnus award winner

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Sports medicine, health care for the uninsured and community service have been ongoing interests of this year’s Young Alumnus Award winner at Bethel College.

Jennifer (Scott) Koontz, Park City, received a bachelor of arts degree from Bethel, with majors in natural sciences and psychology, in 1998.

Following their graduation from Bethel, Koontz and her husband, Matthew Koontz, served in Mennonite Voluntary Service in Hamilton, Ontario, for two years. Jennifer Koontz was a community development worker with North Hamilton Health Centre. Among her assignments were coordinating and supervising the Children’s Breakfast Program, establishing and maintaining a smoking cessation peer support group, assisting the HIV coordinator by conducting research and putting together patient education packets, and serving as a counselor in a summer camp for adults and children with HIV.

After MVS, Koontz earned a master’s of public health (MPH) degree at the University of Kansas in 2001, for which her honors thesis was “Patterns in the treatment of college smokers by health care providers,” and her M.D. from the KU School of Medicine in 2005. From 2005-08, she was in the Via Christi Family Medicine Residency Program in Wichita, serving as chief resident 2007-08. She was board-certified in family medicine in 2008 and is currently doing a sports medicine fellowship at Via Christi in Wichita and will begin practicing family and sports medicine in Newton starting in August.

Koontz’s involvement in service activity has continued well past her MVS days. She was a founder, and has served as executive chairperson, of JayDoc Free Clinic in Kansas City, Kan., in 2003, and helped found JayDoc Community Clinic in Wichita in 2005, both student-run clinics for uninsured clients. For the last several years, she has participated in the Doc of the Day program during Kansas legislative sessions in Topeka, in which health-care professionals provide any needed emergency medical services to lawmakers, legislative staff and visitors in the Capitol Building.

When Koontz was working on her MPH degree at KU, she was a reading volunteer in a fourth-grade classroom in the Kansas City public schools. Her interest in that age group continues currently – she is a facilitator for “Ready, Set, Fit,” a program of the American Academy of Family Physicians that presents fitness and nutrition ideas to third- and fourth-grade students, this time in the Wichita public schools. Koontz is also currently a co-facilitator for the Clarion Project, a student multi-disciplinary team project to study new models of health-care reform.

Koontz’s interest in sports medicine stems from her Bethel student days, when she was a member of the varsity volleyball, women’s basketball and track teams, 1994-98, including being team captain for both volleyball and basketball in her senior year, 1997-98. She was also a member of the Student Activities Board (now SAC) all four years at Bethel, a junior class representative to Student Senate and Student Senate secretary and class president as a senior.

Koontz began gaining sports medicine experience when she was a student athletic trainer for track, volleyball and women’s basketball as a junior at Bethel. Since receiving her medical training, she has had further sports medicine experience at the U.S. Senior Open PGA Championship in Hutchinson in 2006, as well as with Wichita City League high school football, Wichita State University baseball, basketball and volleyball, Newman University basketball and soccer, and professional sports teams Wichita Wranglers and Wichita Wingnuts (minor league baseball) and Wichita Thunder (hockey). In 2007, she did sideline coverage for Thresher football.

Jenni and Matt Koontz attend Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton. They are the parents of three young children, Caleb, Abigail and Naomi.

Koontz will receive the Young Alumnus Award in convocation Monday, March 16. The public is invited to hear her presentation, “Creating Change for the Health Care of Tomorrow,” at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center.

The Awards Committee of the Bethel College Alumni Association names one or more Young Alumnus Award winners each year. The Young Alumnus Award recognizes character and citizenship, achievement or service rendered, honor and recognition received. The recipient must be 39 years of age or younger and present a convocation program for Bethel students, faculty and staff.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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