Introducing the 2021 Be Well Philly Health Hero

To celebrate, we surprised this year’s winner at her workplace. Cue all the happy tears.

Our 2021 Health Hero is Armenta Washington! / Photograph by Laura Brzyski.

After thousands of votes came in for the final round of this year’s Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge presented by Independence Blue Cross, we announced the winner during a virtual event on December 7th!

And that winner is…*drum roll*

Armenta Washington!

Washington, who now holds the title of our 10th Health Hero, is a senior research coordinator for the community outreach and engagement program at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center. Recently, Washington and her team created a drive-through Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) service, so that at-risk community members had access to preventative care and could determine if they needed a referral for a colonoscopy.

In being named the 2021 Be Well Philly Health Hero, Washington won $15,000 for her selected charity, Frontline Dads, Inc. For the past 20 years, the local nonprofit has been empowering African American youth and young adults to become changemakers in their communities and providing them with the educational tools and general resources to do so. They have mentoring programs for at-risk youth and those in the juvenile justice system, as well as parenting workshops and re-entry training support for returning citizens.

Washington with Reuben Jones, founder and executive director of Frontline Dads, Inc. / Photograph by Laura Brzyski.

Our two runners-up — Tahirah Austin-Muhammad, co-founder and chief operations officer for sickle cell-focused organization Crescent Foundation, and Kristina Burke, founder of TAG Time Happy Hour, a fundraiser event series for lung cancer research — did not go unrecognized for their hard work, either! Both received $2,500 for their charities of choice, Crescent Foundation and Hospitality Assistance Response of Pennsylvania (HARP), respectively.

Though we were unable to host a large in-person celebration this year, we at Philly Mag decided to do something special to commemorate Washington. For the first time ever, we surprised the Health Hero Challenge winner at work! It was such an emotional moment full of constant smiles, happy tears, and community appreciation.

You can watch that very special moment — along with the entire virtual Health Hero Challenge event — via the video below. Congratulations again to Armenta Washington, and thank you to our past Health Heroes, semifinalists, and nominees who are doing such important health-related work throughout the Philly area!