Skip to main content



Jim Annesi, Ph.D., YMCA of Metro Atlanta

Dr. Jim Annesi joined the YMCA of Metro Atlanta in early 2000 as Director of Wellness Advancement. He has been on the faculties of Rutgers University and the United States Sports Academy and has held appointments with the Veterans Affairs Health Care Systems, Elizabeth General Medical Center, and Enhanced Performance Technologies. Jim’s research program focuses on behavior-changing methods applied to exercise adherence, weight management, and the effects of physical activity on depression, anxiety, self-image, and other mental health and quality-of-life factors. In addition to authoring over 80 peer-reviewed research studies and 100 articles and chapters for professional publications, Dr. Annesi has written three books on evidence-based methods for changing and sustaining improved physical activity and nutrition behaviors. Jim’s programs, The Coach Approach, Youth Fit For Life, and The Health and Fitness Experience, are applied in a variety of health promotion and preventive medicine settings in the U.S., United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, and Canada.

Web Link:

Heidi Blanck, Ph.D., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commander Heidi Blanck is the Team Lead for Nutrition Research and Surveillance at the CDC in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity in Atlanta. Dr. Blanck is a Senior Epidemiologist who oversees the CDC’s national and state monitoring of nutrition behavior, as well as environmental and policy support for the fruits and vegetables and breastfeeding target areas. Her research interests include the effects of the food environment on diet and obesity and policies intended to improve access to healthy foods in schools and communities. She coordinates the CDC’s Healthy People 2020 Goal Setting for Nutrition and has served on the planning committee for the 2009 Food Systems and Public Health Meeting and the 2009 Weight of the Nation Inaugural CDC Conference. She is a member of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) between the CDC, National Institutes of Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Blanck received her Ph.D. from Emory University and has been at the CDC for 10 years. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles, focusing on nutrition and obesity.

Web Link:

Seema Csukas, M.D., Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Seema Csukas, M.D., Ph.D., is director of community health development and advocacy for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. She graduated from Emory College and the Medical College of Georgia and completed her pediatric residency at the University of Louisville before joining Children's in 1994 as a primary care pediatrician. After serving as the medical director of primary care, Dr. Csukas joined Child Health Promotion as director in December 2004. Dr. Csukas believes that the relationship between primary care and child health promotion is a natural fit and has helped to strengthen that relationship through the development of the Healthy Steps and Reach Out and Read programs. She is a board-certified pediatrician with memberships in the American Academy of Pediatrics and in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Web Link:

Pamela Jackson, MSM, Youth Becoming Healthy

Pamela Jackson founded The YBH Project in memory of her only brother, Bernard Green, who died in February, 2004 from complications related to morbid obesity and other illnesses. The YBH Project works to place fitness centers in middle schools, giving students the opportunity to participate in a safe physical activity program. The Project also coordinates with community partners to provide nutrition education and other services as needed and has begun to work with elementary schools as well. Pamela divides her time between her non-profit organization, her consulting business, and working on her Doctorate. She is also an advocate for implementing mandatory PE in all elementary and middle schools, policy changes and research at the state and federal level, and supporting after-school programs that work to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.

Web Link:

William P. Kanto, Jr. MD, Medical College of Georgia

Dr. Bill Kanto is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics of the Children's Medical Center and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the School of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia.

Web Link:

Christi Kay, M.Ed., HealthMPowers

Christi Kay has been a leader in health education in Georgia for more than 20 years, serving as a teacher at the elementary, high school and college levels and as a health and physical education administrator for the Gwinnett County School District. She joined HealthMPowers in 1999 as Curriculum Director and has been instrumental in developing the overall program as well as authoring a variety of materials, including a program that integrates physical activity and math with a student fitness portfolio. Christi Kay has served in executive volunteer positions with the Georgia Chapter of American Alliance for Physical Activity, Health Education, Recreation and Dance (GAPHERD) and the Southeast Division of the American Heart Association. She has received distinguished honors from both organizations. Christi Kay received a BS degree in Health and Physical Education from Florida State University and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Georgia State University with a Masters degree in Education.

Web Link:

Rodney Lyn, Georgia State University

Dr. Rodney Lyn is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University, where he teaches courses in the Health Policy and Administration track of the Master of Public Health (MPH) program. Dr. Lyn’s research is focused on childhood obesity prevention, school and community health, and reduction of health disparities. He has special interest in the role of public policy in shaping environments, influencing behaviors and public health. Dr. Lyn directs the Policy Leadership for Active Youth (PLAY) initiative, a collaborative effort between the state’s research universities and statewide partners to address childhood obesity by connecting an emerging evidence base to practice and policy. Over the past five years, Dr. Lyn has worked closely with state agencies, professional associations, not-for-profit organizations, and the philanthropic community to prevent childhood obesity.

Web Link:

Richard Reiselt, D.A., Georgia Department of Education

Bud Reiselt is the Education Program Specialist for Health and Physical Education at the Georgia Department of Education.

Web Link:

Natalie Rogers, Nutrition Advocacy Specialist for Georgia PTA

Atlanta native Natalie Rogers proudly represents the Georgia PTA as Nutrition Advocacy Specialist. Although her favorite roles are those of wife and mother, she enthusiastically embraces her PTA work as public health advocate and wellness educator. She is dedicated to engaging all people in implementing solutions to our cultural nutrition crisis and enjoys acting as a catalyst for the establishment of school garden programs statewide.

Web Link:

Keep Your Kids Happy, Healthy, and Fit

Eating Habits Begin at Home

Childhood Obesity Home Page