NJPHK’s Building Healthy Communities Conference offered nourishment for the mind and spirit; it also had a great deal of heart, exemplified by NJPHK’s Healthy Kids Champions. These first-ever awards were given to six individuals to recognize their commitment and hard work in driving environmental and policy changes and making their respective communities healthier places to live, learn and play.
Nwando Anyaoku, MD was recognized as Newark’s Healthy Kids Champion for championing “Let’s Move! In the Clinic” and “Be Your Voice” in Newark. As director of General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey and co-director of NJPHK-Newark, Anyaoku has been a guiding light for the partnership and for the children and families of Newark, leading them towards healthy choices and lifestyles. She is a recognized expert in the field of childhood obesity and co-director of NJPHK-Newark.
Dan Fatton was recognized as Trenton’s Healthy Kids Champion for his leadership in the adoption of the nationally recognized Complete Streets policy and for his technical assistance to the ShapingNJ anti-obesity community pilot program. Fatton is the director of development for the Electrochemical Society (ECS), an international scientific society, a member of the Trenton Green Team, and chair of Trenton Cycling Revolution.
Lisanne Finston, Healthy Kids Champion for the State Program Office, was recognized for her leadership in New Brunswick’s local food and social enterprise movements. As executive director of Elijah’s Promise, Finston reinvented the food bank and soup kitchen by finding ways to offer healthy foods and food preparation training to clients. She was a force behind the launch of the New Brunswick Community Food Alliance and is on the NJPHK-New Brunswick steering committee.
Emma Lopez was the Vineland Healthy Kids Champion. Lopez was recognized for her leadership in implementing Vineland’s first bike lanes. She is a health educator who works in public health education, program planning, implementation and evaluation for the city of Vineland. She is committed to environmental policy and system change that promotes wellness and healthier lifestyles for communities. Lopez is Co-Director of NJPHK-Vineland.
Mariam Merced, MA, was recognized as New Brunswick’s Healthy Kids Champion for successfully coordinating efforts to provide quality, preventive health care services to New Brunswick’s underserved minority community, including “Fun in the Park” structured play events. As director of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Community Health Promotion Program, Merced makes quality preventative health care accessible for New Brunswick’s underserved minority communities. She serves on the NJPHK steering committee.
Robin Waddell, Camden’s Healthy Kids Champion, was recognized for her outstanding efforts and advocacy in implementing two of Camden’s most far-reaching accomplishments: breakfast in the classroom and wellness policies in key institutions. Waddell is the County Extension department head, senior program coordinator of Nutrition Education Program in Camden County and Southwest regional supervisor for Rutgers Cooperative Extension. She has worked with the partnership since the beginning, serving on the Camden advisory board.SHARE: