Obesity focus of 2012 HEAL Appalachia symposium


KINGSPORT, Tenn. – The 2012 HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Living) Appalachia symposium will be held Thursday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. at MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center. Admission is free. Participants will hear from national experts on childhood obesity and get new ideas for creative ways to impact childhood obesity and improve the health of children in our region.

The event will feature Dr. Marcus Robinson, who currently serves as the president at the Consortium for Community Development in Benton Harbor, Mich. He is an executive leader responsible for the strategic direction for the transformation of the Greater Benton Harbor region through community capacity building. Robinson has been responsible for a regional transformation to improve the lives within the region.

Other speakers include:

Gary Earl, nationally recognized as a passionate visionary who delivers complex solutions that stimulate global change. Earl has joined United HealthCare to continue his lifelong mission of loving the world and all who inhabit it, to better health; one person, one mile at a time.

Pastor James Cantrell, leader of the Zion Baptist Church in Cincinnati. Cantrell is a member of the Avondale churches, who took a collective pledge as part of Cincinnati-Based Health Leadership Institute (HLI) for Faith-Based Organizations. Supported by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant (Faith-Based Advocacy: Galvanizing Communities to End Childhood Obesity), Cantrell is committed to improving health through spirituality.

John Bilderback serves as the project director for Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities in Chattanooga and as the Step ONE Program manager for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. He is dedicated to improving health through policy and environmental change efforts. HKHC is funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Also during the symposium, HEAL Appalachia will announce the recipients of this year’s childhood obesity grants. This year, 113 organizations in Tennessee and Virginia have applied for these grants designed to directly impact childhood obesity in our region.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m., and presentations will start at 9 a.m. Please RSVP by April 5 at www.healappalachia.com.

HEAL Appalachia was created by Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) to help local communities address health challenges, especially those associated with childhood obesity.

About Mountain States Health Alliance

Mountain States Health Alliance, a not-for-profit health care organization based in Johnson City, Tenn., operates a family of hospitals serving a 29-county, four-state region (Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Southeastern Kentucky and Western North Carolina). MSHA offers a large tertiary hospital, several community hospitals, two critical access hospitals, rehabilitation, a children’s hospital, a behavioral health hospital, home care and hospice services as well as a comprehensive medical management corporation. Its 13,500 team members, associated physicians and volunteers are committed to its mission of bringing loving care to health care. For more information, visit www.msha.com.

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