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Meg Thomas Ackerman, MA

DIRECTOR, SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL
MICHIGAN FITNESS FOUNDATION

Meg Thomas Ackerman is the director of Safe Routes to School (SR2S) working for the Michigan Fitness Foundation, which is the Michigan Department of Transportation’s partner in administering the federal Safe Routes to School program in Michigan. In this capacity, Ms. Ackerman and her team provide outreach, training, and technical assistance to schools and communities throughout Michigan to help them increase physical activity by developing successful SR2S programs that enable and encourage more children to walk and bike to school while reducing the number of cars driving to schools.

Prior to her work with the Safe Routes to School program, Ms. Ackerman spent several years working in an elementary school, first as an upper elementary teacher then as a principal. While in that position she recognized the benefits, both academically and behaviorally, of students getting physical activity before and during school by doing something as simple as walking or biking to and from school and on field trips. She now works throughout Michigan to see that we benefit our students by increasing their safety and ability to walk to school rather than being driven.

 Dawn Clifford, PhD, RD

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR OF THE DIDACTIC PROGRAM IN DIETETICS, DEPARTMENT OF NUTRITION AND FOOD SCIENCE
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, CHICO

Dawn Clifford is an associate professor and serves as Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at California State University in Chico. She co-founded and is the current director of FitU, a peer mentoring nutrition and exercise counseling program on campus.

Dr. Clifford received the Outstanding Dietetics Educator Award from the Nutrition and Dietetic Educators and Preceptors and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for the 2013-2014 school years. She conducts research and is an accomplished speaker in the areas of motivational interviewing and non-diet approaches to health and wellness. She is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers and is the co-author of Motivational Interviewing in Nutrition and Fitness. In addition, she has published several research articles in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior and written curriculum for Today’s Dietitian and Nutrition Dimensions.

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Justin Fast

SOCIAL INITIATIVES SPECIALIST
MICHIGAN FITNESS FOUNDATION

Justin Fast is Social Initiatives Specialist at the Michigan Fitness Foundation (MFF) and a Conference Ministerial Candidate in the Free Methodist Church, USA. As part of the SNAP-Ed leadership team at MFF, Justin provides issue-area expertise on food security and sustainable food systems to nutrition educators statewide. His particular focus is on “policy, systems, and environmental change” to improve the health and wellness of families facing hunger. Justin was named a 2012 Hunger Justice Leader by Bread for the World, a 2015 Re:Generate Fellow with Wake Forest University School of Divinity, and served as 2015 Chair of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior’s Division of Sustainable Food Systems. Prior to joining MFF, Justin developed and managed Michigan’s first food bank network SNAP Outreach Program and led regional food bank’s federal advocacy efforts. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Relations and Policy with a focus on Religious Politics from James Madison College at Michigan State University.

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Mary Moomaw

DIRECTOR OF TRAINING AND RESOURCES
MICHIGAN FITNESS FOUNDATION

Mary Moomaw is the director of training and resources at the Michigan Fitness Foundation. She works collaboratively to ensure that Michigan organizations have training, resources, and support to successfully implement health programs with communities and individuals. She is an expert coach and trains nonprofits to use coaching skills to ignite transformation in communities and individuals. Ms. Grill has been a nonprofit leader for more than 25 years. Her past experience includes director of communication of the Michigan Community Service Commission, vice president of the Michigan Nonprofit Association and executive director of the Grand Rapids Service Corps. She spent more than seven years with YMCAs in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio and St. Louis, Missouri where she progressed from physical director to executive director. Mary has corporate experience as promotions manager and sales representative for Reebok, International and a sales representative for Abbott Laboratories. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and is completing her Community Coaching Certification.

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Ben Kohrman

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
MICHIGAN FITNESS FOUNDATION

Ben Kohrman joined The Michigan Fitness Foundation’s Office of Communications in 2013. He previously held public policy positions with the Office of Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and the Michigan Department of Human Services. Prior to to that, he was the Director of Communications for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

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Teresa Zwemer

SNAP-ED PROJECT MANAGER
MICHIGAN FITNESS FOUNDATION

Teresa Zwemer joined the Michigan Fitness Foundation as a SNAP-Ed Project Manager in 2015. A graduate of the Michigan State University Dietetics program, her background as a Registered Dietitian is in clinical nutrition with a focus on the elder population. As a retired athlete, she is also highly interested in fitness, and holds certifications in group exercise and yoga.

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Patrick Fields, PhD, MS

DOCCHOC, PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY
OLIVET COLLEGE

Patrick F. Fields (a.k.a. “DocChoc”) holds a bachelor’s degree in paleo-plant ecology from the University of California at Davis, a master’s degree in paleontology from the University of California at Berkeley, and a doctorate in botany and plant pathology from Michigan State University.  His research emphasis is on fossil plants from the Pacific Northwest.  He is a past president of the Michigan Botanical Club and of the non-profit Michigan Botanical Foundation.  He has also served on the board of directors of other organizations that fund research and education on native plants of Michigan.

Dr. Fields presently teaches courses in biology, field botany, environmental science, geology, physical geography and general science for non-majors at Olivet College. Since 2001, he has been giving lectures on chocolate, and has offered adult-education short courses and tasting workshops on chocolate at the Kellogg Community College, Michigan State University, Olivet College and the University of Michigan.

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Barb Flis, BIS, MIS

FOUNDER
PARENT ACTION FOR HEALTHY KIDS

Barb Flis founded Parent Action for Healthy Kids and is an advocate focused on connecting families, schools and communities for the purpose of promoting the well-being of children’s social, emotional and physical health.  As a nationally recognized thought leader and skilled facilitator, Ms. Flis  has years of experience bringing key stakeholders together as positive, engaged partners and active advocates for children.

As a mom herself, she cites her grass-roots PTA experience as the first step on a journey that has ultimately led to strengthening the parent voice for leading schools and public health initiatives, including: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Michigan Surgeon General’s Michigan Steps Up campaign, the American Cancer Society Coordinated School Health Leadership Training Institute, developing the Talk Early & Talk Often parent workshop for former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, leading the parent engagement efforts in the Michigan Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) initiative and, assisting with the development of the parent toolkit for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move” initiative.  In her work at Parent Action for Healthy Kids, Barb creates customized training sessions and focus groups that help organizations learn how to engage parents across a diverse range of critical topics.  Ms. Flis received her BIS degree from Wayne State University.

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Demarra Gardner, MA

PRINCIPAL AND LEAD CONSULTANT
CHANGE AGENT CONSULTING

Demarra Gardner is principal and lead consultant of Change Agent Consulting (CAC), a full service organizational development consulting company that has been in operation since 2007. CAC’s areas of expertise include organizational assessment, strategic planning, fund development, program development, leadership development, start-ups, evaluation, coaching, and diversity/inclusion/equity.

Some of CAC’s past and current clients include Family Health Center, Kellogg Community College Center for Diversity & Innovation, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, Southwest Michigan Regional Resource Center, Michigan Primary Care Association, The Michigan Federation for Children & Families, the Michigan Nonprofit Association, Urban League of SW Michigan, Tapology, Bangtown Studio on the GO, Black Arts & Cultural Center, and Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy & Action in the Community.

Ms. Gardner is also the founder of Educating for Freedom in Schools, which is a 501(c)(3) youth development organization that provides summer & afterschool enrichment and leadership development programming that is accessible to all youth and families in Kalamazoo County. The organization also provides inclusion and equity capacity building services for the youth development sector and beyond.

Ms. Gardner holds an MA in Clinical Mental Health from Western Michigan University, is a licensed professional counselor, and certified professional coach. She is also an Associate Faculty Member of Leadership that Works (LTW)-a national and international coaching firm with the goal of bringing coaching to every person on the planet.

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Kathy Grosso, CPC

CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL COACH
FACULTY MEMBER, LEADERSHIP THAT WORKS

Ms. Gross is a certified professional coach and also currently serves on the faculty of Leadership That Works.  In addition, Ms. Grosso completed the Civic and Community Leadership Coach Program in Battle Creek and is certified as a community coach and trainer. Her coaching path continues with a desire to embed coaching in communities and organizations. Her passion is training and facilitating the application of coaching skills as a way to inspire and impact change in both the person and the community.

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Deborah Harris, MPH, RD, CDE

DEFENSE COMMISSARY AGENCY DIETITIAN
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

Deborah Harris began her professional career in the United States Army as a dietitian where her passions for public health programming and social justice were catalyzed.  Upon becoming a civilian, the majority of her career has focused on programming, integration, evaluation, and policy development in the governmental and nonprofit sectors where she gained an understanding of policies/regulations which then led to opportunities to serve and guide multiple federally-funded programs such as Medicaid, SCHIP, Title V, Title X, TANF, various CDC initiatives, and USDA WIC and SNAP-Ed.

Her passion to improve maternal-child health outcomes led her to tirelessly pursue and ultimately be granted federal approval to expand Medicaid coverage in Virginia for family planning services to uninsured postpartum women.  She also served on the team that developed and then lead the team that beta tested and launched the first nationwide mobile health text initiative –text4baby.

Ms. Harris has served on various national health policy teams related to women’s health, unplanned pregnancy prevention, and infant mortality.   She developed, implemented and managed multiple programs at the Virginia Departments of Health and Medical Assistance Services and served as a technical resource supporting the Governor, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, local health departments and other safety-net providers.

Ms. Harris also had the honor of serving Michigan’s SNAP-Ed program where she learned and professionally grew to target her public health programming passion towards healthy eating, physical activity, and preventing obesity.  As a result of the knowledge and experience she gained in Michigan, she now has the honor to serve the Department of Defense as the Defense Commissary Agency’s dietitian where she works to support DoD’s mission of “readiness and resilience”  while also promoting the commissary benefit to the military community as being “More than A Grocery Store.”

Anne Lindsay, PhD

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND EXTENSION SPECIALIST, EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND PUBLIC HEALTH
UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA EXTENSION

 Anne Lindsay is an exercise physiologist at the University of Nevada Extension. Her education and research includes women under correctional supervision with co-occurring issues in substance abuse, eating disorders, body image, and health, which led to her development of the Healthy Steps to Freedom program. Her interests include childhood obesity, especially physical activity and healthy at any size for preschool children. She currently serves as co-chair of the Community Health Committee of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine global health initiative and has worked with worksite health promotion, YMCA Fitness Standards, and fitness for firefighter, police, and security forces.

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Jennifer R. Lyons, MSW

DATA DESIGNER
EVERGREEN DATA

Ms. Lyons is a data designer and speaker, bringing creative energy to making data Intriguing and impactful, while helping clients transform the way they communicate Their story. Her work focuses on bringing research-based transformations to a range of deliverables including: charts, slides, reports, infographics, and dashboards. Grounded in data visualization best practice, she teaches methods of reducing clutter and ways to best emphasize the most important points. She is committed to revolutionizing the landscape of data reporting by working with nonprofits, government agencies, and companies using a capacity building training approach. She works to capture the audience’s attention with impactful visuals so people can be empowered make meaningful data-driven decisions.

At Evergreen Data, Ms. Lyons works with clients like the Westat, Adobe, and The World Bank. Prior to working as an associate with Evergreen Data, she trained in program evaluation at the University of Michigan Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group. She worked on a team that provided evaluation services to a broad range of community-based clientele, focusing on improving program capacity, service delivery, effectiveness, and sustainability. She holds a MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.

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Barbara J. Mayfield, MS, RD, CD

NUTRITION EDUCATOR

Ms. Mayfield is a nutrition educator and communicator specializing in helping students, professionals and lay audiences, especially children and families, make sense of the complex science of nutrition and build healthy relationships with food and eating. She has worked directly with families as an early intervention nutrition specialist with Indiana’s First Steps Program, and spent 20 years with the WIC Program.

Ms. Mayfield develops nutrition education resources, and consults, writes, and speaks to nutritionists and educators across the country about nutrition education.  She has published nutrition curricula for preschoolers, early elementary, high school, college, and professional audiences. In 2015, she completed Nutrition for Everyone, an electronic textbook for introductory nutrition courses for non-majors. As a faculty member in the Nutrition Science Department at Purdue University, Ms. Mayfield taught courses in Nutrition Communication, Dietary Guidance, Life Cycle Nutrition, Public Health Nutrition and Introductory Nutrition for non-majors. She founded the Promoting Family Meals Project through Purdue’s Center for Families. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Purdue University and a master’s in human nutrition from Cornell University.  She received multiple teaching awards at Purdue, and was named Outstanding Dietetics Educator by both the Indiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Nutrition and Dietetic Educators and Preceptors (NDEP) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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Rodney Lamar Page

DJ ROD P

 DJ Rodney Lamar Page has been djaying for 12 years throughout the state of Michigan.  A former music teacher in the East Lansing and St. Johns Public School Districts, Mr. Page continues to inspire not only students but also adults with his music and powerful message.

Originally from Southfield, Michigan Rodney Page (also known as DJ Rod P.) attended Michigan State University earning a degree in music education.  Mr. Page uses music when he visits schools and corporations with his inspirational message and has also done motivational speaking at juvenile detention homes, jails, and prisons. In 2013, DJ Rod P. was the performing DJ for the Detroit Pistons Basketball organization and also was the featured performer at the 25-year reunion of the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons championship team.  Currently, Mr. Page resides in Lansing with his wife and their two sons.

J.R. Reynolds

COORDINATOR
GOOD FOOD BATTLE CREEK

J.R. Reynolds is Coordinator of Good Food Battle Creek, which supports organizations and individuals working in the local food system. He sits on the Michigan Good Food Charter steering committee where he chairs the food system racial equity committee. J.R. also works as a social justice advocate, writer, and communication consultant.  He is also a Certified Professional Coach. His focus is on anti-oppression work at the intersection of race, gender, ability, identity and class.

Victor J. Strecher, PhD, MPH

PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR FOR INNOVATION AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SCHOOLS OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICINE
FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, JOOL HEALTH, INC.

Dr. Strecher is a behavioral scientist, professor, and Director of Innovation at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. In 1995, he founded the University of Michigan Center for Health Communications Research. In 1998, he founded HealthMedia, a digital health coaching company that was sold to Johnson & Johnson a decade later.

He founded JOOL Health in 2015, a digital health solution company that integrates the science of health and well-being, advanced smartphone and biometric technology, and big data analytics. His most recent book is Life On Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything (HarperOne).

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Whitney Vance, MS, RDN

NUTRITION CONSULTANT
COORDINATE SCHOOL HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAMS UNIT
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Whitney is a Nutrition Consultant in the Coordinated School Health and Safety Programs Unit at the Michigan Department of Education. She is a registered dietitian, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. In her previous positions, Ms. Vance has focused on worksite wellness, diabetes education and maternal and infant health. In her current role, she works to improve the health and educational outcomes of Michigan students through school health initiatives. She is especially active in Michigan Team Nutrition and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant titled, State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health.

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Trent Wakenight

STRATEGIC VISUALIZATION, GRAPHIC FACILITATION AND GRAPHIC RECORDING

Mr. Wakenight has been a practicing graphic facilitator and graphic recorder since 2011, with experience in the graphic recording field since 2002. Graphic facilitation and graphic recording captures themes, key messages and the salient content of presentations and discussions in real time through hand-drawn pictures, icons and images on large poster paper to extract and demonstrate meaning from contexts and discussion. Mr. Wakenight sketches and facilitates discussions as they unfold using research-based techniques, methods and templates. The end product – a large graphic recording – can strengthen understanding of complex issues, make groups smarter, foster open cooperation and idea-sharing and helps lead groups toward decision-making and a collaborative vision.

Mr. Wakenight is sought after by think tanks and non-profit entities, and provides services full-time to federal government agencies. The range of topics that he covers includes science and technology, government policy and national security, public health and safety, human rights and empowerment, and corporate visioning and strategic planning. He teaches introductory courses in graphic facilitation principles and data visualization to laypersons and experienced facilitators. His background includes experience as a meeting rapporteur for government agencies and universities since 2006.

Risa Wilkerson

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ACTIVE LIVING BY DESIGN

Risa Wilkerson is the Executive Director of Active Living By Design (ALBD). She provides overarching leadership and strategic vision to fulfill the organization’s mission of creating community-led change by working with local, state, and national partners to build a culture of active living and healthy eating. Ms. Wilkerson has been connected to ALBD since 2002, when she was a grantee of the organization. She joined the team in 2008 as a Senior Project Officer, and provided coaching, technical assistance, and grant oversight to multidisciplinary community-based partnerships across the country, with a focus on improving health through policy, systems, and environmental change strategies. From 2014-2015, she also served as ALBD’s Marketing and Communications Director and, subsequently, Associate Executive Director.

Risa brings wide-ranging experience in coalition building, community assessment, public health program planning and implementation, grant writing, and nonprofit management. She provides leadership to the field by serving as the Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s Board Chair, as a sector chair to the National Physical Activity Plan, and as a member of the Prescription for Activity Task Force.

Before moving to North Carolina, Risa was the Vice President of Active Communities for the Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports, where she led project teams in a statewide effort to create active communities. Risa holds a master’s degree. in Communication from Michigan State University. She is also an alumna of the University of South Carolina’s Physical Activity and Public Health Course, a training program sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.