Personality: Jennifer R. Kostyniuk

Spotlight on board chair of Rx Partnership

8/27/2020, 6 p.m.
From a childhood in the Girl Scouts to becoming chair of the board of directors for Rx Part- nership, Jennifer ...

From a childhood in the Girl Scouts to becoming chair of the board of directors for Rx Partnership, Jennifer R. Kostyniuk has long known the value of community service.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has left many facing new roadblocks to the medical care they need, RxP has a vision of “a future where every Virginian has access to the medication they need,” as Mrs. Kostyniuk describes it.

A Henrico County resident, Mrs. Kostyniuk was elected to a two-year term as RxP board chair in 2019. When her term is up, she will serve one additional year on the board as past chair.

She was inspired to join the board in August 2015 after an invitation to one of the organization’s events gave her a look at the nonprofit’s vision for Virginia health and its mission.

RxP was founded in 2003 to ensure medication donations from manufacturers to clinics with licensed pharmacies were properly coordinated. But in the ensuing years, the organization has grown to encompass a wider reach to supply brand name and generic medications for chronic illnesses to low-income, uninsured Virginians through a network of 30 clinics in 85 localities across the state.

“I strongly believe in the organization’s mission,” Mrs. Kostyniuk says. “We cannot improve the health and vitality of our communities across the Commonwealth without those who need it having access to the medications they need to manage their chronic conditions.”

Those medications can make a real difference in whether a person can continue to live a healthy, productive life.

As board chair, Mrs. Kostyniuk’s responsibilities are focused on securing financial, informational and strategic support from the board and community to ensure that RxP is able to respond to the needs of the community.

To achieve this goal, Mrs. Kostyniuk believes it’s important to keep focused on providing more medication access to the needy, identifying data to support RxP’s mission and creating opportunities and building partnerships to achieve sustainability. Innovation and creativity also are encouraged.

“Families should not have to choose between medication needed to manage chronic conditions and living expenses or child care,” Mrs. Kostyniuk says.

Mrs. Kostyniuk says she’s proud of the work members have done to respond to the challenges presented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a new program, patients can receive their prescriptions by mail, rather than having to go to a clinic in person to pick up their medicine.

As she notes, RxP’s mission is more critical than ever. Meet health care advocate and this week’s Personality, Jennifer R. “Jen” Kostyniuk:

Volunteer position: Chair, Rx Partnership’s Board of Directors.

Date and place of birth: March 11 in Naples, Italy.

Where I live now: Henrico County.

Education: Lafayette High School in Williamsburg, 1991; bachelor’s in mass communications — advertising, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1995; master’s in mass communications — media management, VCU, 1997; and master’s in English — writing and rhetoric, VCU, 2003.

Occupation: Director, corporate affairs and capital project support, Dominion Energy.

Family: Husband, John Kostyniuk, and Pancho Kostyniuk, a retired racing greyhound.

Rx Partnership’s mission: To increase medication access for vulnerable Virginians and strengthen the health safety net. Our vision is a future where every Virginian has access to the medication they need.

When and why RxP was founded: Founded in 2003, Rx Partnership was established to coordinate the donation of bulk medications from brand pharmaceutical manufacturers to clinics with licensed pharmacies. Since then, we’ve greatly expanded our programs in order to help more patients receive more of the medications they need to improve and maintain their health.

RxP is important in our community because: Many Virginia households face financial hardships and struggle to afford basic household necessities. Families should not have to choose between medication needed to manage chronic conditions and living expenses or child care. We feature this statistic on the RxP website, but despite Medicaid expansion in 2019, did you know more than 300,000 Virginians are left uninsured who are not eligible for Medicaid? That is why RxP exists.

Why I accepted the board position: The dedication, enthusiasm and innovative work of Amy Yarcich, RxP’s executive director, and the RxP staff never ceases to amaze me and is very motivating. I strongly believe in the organization’s mission.

No. 1 goal as RxP board chair: As a board, our goal is to help the organization continue strengthening the health safety net by working through a network of clinics across the state to increase medication access for vulnerable Virginians. As chair of the board, my number

one goal is to make sure that Rx Partnership has the support from the board and community — financial, informational and strategic — to move quickly and respond to everchanging community needs.

Strategy for achieving goals: It’s important to keep a laser focus on RxP’s strategic plan and goals (provide more medication access to those in need, identify data to support the mission, create opportunities and build partnerships and achieve organizational sustainability) and to encourage innovation and creativity.

How RxP is helping during COVID-19: RxP is ensuring that vital prescriptions are still provided to patients in need despite the disruption that COVID-19 is causing. Due to the pandemic, RxP quickly established a new program that mails prescriptions directly to patients’ homes — at no cost to either the clinic or the patient — instead of patients having to pick up their medications from the clinic. In addition, RxP has contacted its medication partners and extended current eligibility for an additional three months for any patients whose eligibility expires during the current crisis.

Who benefits from RxP : RxP has served more than 75,000 patients since 2004.

RxP partners with: RxP works through a network of 30 clinic partners, with and without pharmacies, across 85 Virginia localities, to supply brand and generic medications to low-income, uninsured Virginians.

How I start the day: I try to start my day with a walk/run with John and Pancho. I love how much Pancho smiles during his walks. Everyone in our neighborhood knows Pancho, the greyhound, and it’s fun to see our neighbors waving to him and telling him hello.

Three words that best describe me: Outgoing, collaborative and results-driven.

Best late-night snack: Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream.

How I unwind: I am a lifelong avid reader, so I’ll pick up a good book and get lost in the story.

Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: I am a true crime fan, so I listen to a lot of podcasts. And I watch “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: SVU” obsessively. I don’t care if I’ve seen an episode 10 times, much to my husband’s dismay.

A quote that I am most inspired by: “Treat others how you want to be treated.”

At the top of my “to-do” list: I am an extreme extrovert, so spending quality time with my family and friends energizes me. Right now, I am working hard to keep my connections going strong while being socially distant.

The best thing my parents ever taught me: To always, always say thank you. Take the time to hand write a note of appreciation. It goes a long way.

The person who influenced me the most: It’s hard for me to pick one person, so I’ll highlight an organization. I was a Girl Scout for many years and that is where I learned the importance of volunteerism and giving back to my community. I am so thankful for the experience.

Book that influenced me the most: “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper. I still remember my grandmother reading this book to me before bed. If I’m having a bad day, I’ll repeat, “I think I can!” and smile.

What I’m reading now: “Notes on a Silencing: A Memoir” by Lacy Crawford.

Next goal: To run the 2021 Kona Marathon!