Community & CultureSports Partnerships
May 22, 2024
7 Minute Read

2024 Blue KC Gamechanger Honoree Lauren Lucht – month of May

Putting Others First, In Principle and Action

Lauren Lucht has spent her entire professional career looking out for others. Truth be told, that probably is a pretty good description of her personal life as well.

Lucht is the vice president of mental and behavioral health at The University of Kansas Health System. In that role, she leads the mental health service line and has developed programs to support underserved patients at the health system, which includes providing addiction-recovery services for those without adequate resources.

It’s a natural fit with one of her other passions, “The Battle Within,” an organization that helps military and first responders cope with the sometimes-hidden trauma of their careers.

“I love service and have a passion for veterans and first responders,” she said. “Getting to work alongside our first responder counterparts, I’ve held a special place for first responders. They’re running toward the emergency while other people are trying to get out of the way and not get harmed.

“This naturally led into my love for ‘The Battle Within’ and helping first responders of all kinds. The organization helps military veterans, health-care workers, law enforcement, correctional officers and other first responders.”

If you’re in her very large circle of influence and you have a mental or behavioral health need, you’ve probably been impacted—directly or indirectly—by Lauren Lucht.

For that reason, Lucht is the May “Blue KC Gamechanger.” Launched during the 2024 season, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the Kansas City Current have teamed up to create this exclusive program highlighting local individuals blazing the trail for all women across the Kansas City area. A Blue KC Gamechanger inspires bold ambition in all his or her work, enriching the community around them, and enacting positive change through intentional action.

“Lauren goes out of her way to positively impact the lives of people she comes in contact with on a daily basis,” said Blue KC Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Christina Lively. “Her dedication to removing the stigma around mental health is inspirational and we are so proud to recognize her as the Blue KC Gamechanger!”

Lucht, who graduated from Rockhurst University with a dual major in psychology and sociology, also earned a graduate degree in clinical psychology at Washburn University. She immediately joined the Kansas Department of Corrections, providing direct psychological support to patients in custody at a maximum-security prison. Early in her career she witnessed the social determinants of health in action. She loved her work with the patients, but she also found the care delivery system in need of an overhaul.

From there she became the director of the treatment and reintegration unit created at Lansing Correctional Facility, taking on the administrative challenges required to retain great clinicians, while coordinating the holistic mental and behavioral health treatment of 260 patients with some degree of mental illness.

After serving in that role, she accepted the opportunity to serve as the “health authority” for the correctional facility, supporting all medical, dental and mental health services for 2,400 patients. Eventually, that led her to her role with The University of Kansas Health System.

“It’s always rewarding to help people,” Lucht said. “Growing up, I saw the differences in lifestyles and realized that not everyone was born into and grew up with the same privileges. I will never forget that and always root for the underdog. Understanding what humans are going through and helping them to move forward is one of the most fulfilling things I can imagine.

“I find it most rewarding to help people with things weighing on their hearts. I think that’s one of the things that I most love about working in the field of mental and behavioral health.

“Mental health conditions can be stigmatized, isolating and scary for patients. Working at The University of Kansas Health System, I am so lucky to have the resources and the support from people like Blue KC to be able to build and grow services that we know will save lives.”

We all can do a better job of putting others first. What we’ll find out is that we’ll benefit in the process. Just ask Lauren Lucht. She’s truly a Blue KC Gamechanger.

For more information on this program, please click here.

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