September 30, 2013

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Governor Recognizes 2013 Kansas Health Champions

Council on Fitness convenes 2nd annual obesity summit

TOPEKA— Kansas Governor Sam Brownback presented the 2013 Kansas Health Champion Awards to the following individuals and organizations today during the second annual Kansas Obesity Summit:

“Congratulations to our 2013 Health Champion Award winners and honorable mentions. It is a privilege to recognize them today for their extraordinary efforts to improve the health of their communities through programs that increase physical activity,” said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. “It was also an honor to participate with the Council on Fitness in our second annual summit on obesity. There is much work to be done in reducing the rate of obesity in Kansas, but I’m confident we can achieve our goals for a healthy Kansas through this continued collaboration.”

The Health Champion Award was developed by the Governor’s Council on Fitness to recognize and promote exemplary contributions to fitness in Kansas. Eligible nominees include volunteers, schools, communities, employers, media organizations and policy makers who go above and beyond what is expected through normal job or organizational responsibilities related to modeling, encouraging and promoting fitness.

Health Champions
Lisa Moritz has served as the Unified Greeley County Health Nurse and the USD 200 Greeley County Schools nurse since 2004. In her dual role she promotes healthy eating, physical activity and general health issues to students and school personnel. In addition to her full-time job, Moritz spearheaded an annual community family 2 mile walk, 5K run and 10K run “Full Moon in June Run” that has been held since 2009. In 2011 she created an eight-week program “Shoot for the Moon” to help community members build the stamina to run a 5K. In 2012 she created the “The Solution to Your Resolution Wellness Program” designed to help people improve their eating, monitor blood pressure and increase their activity level in the winter.

For more than 65 years, Lawrence Parks and Recreation has grown and developed programs, activities and its park and trail system to accompany the needs and growth of the Lawrence community. With more than 450 programs each season, Lawrence Parks and Recreation offers activities in a number of areas including sports, aquatics and fitness, and offers a scholarship fund for underprivileged youth to participate in activities. In recent years, Lawrence Parks and Recreation added a nutrition education program for both youth and adults, and outdoor fitness equipment in one of its parks. The department also assists with a community program transforming vacant or under-utilized city properties into community gardens, which provide fresh fruits and vegetables to the community members who plant and tend the gardens, as well as provides produce to local food pantries.

Honorable Mentions

Scott Wadle, Senior Planner for the Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Department (MAPD), lives his work. Officially, Wadle’s responsibilities with MAPD include neighborhood plans, GIS, environmental assessments and pathways. The past several years, Wadle has been instrumental in creating plans and implementing changes in Wichita’s built environment to improve citizen access to physical activity. Wadle is a volunteer for the Health and Wellness Coalition Bike Wichita Committee. Wadle rides to work when possible and invites other riders to join him in his commute into the downtown area.

HaysMed’s core purpose is to help people get and stay healthy, and they serve as a model for advocating healthy lifestyles. In 2002, HaysMed built the first medically integrated fitness facility in Kansas to promote healthy lifestyles with patients, associates and the community. The Center for Health Improvements works closely with physicians and other health care providers to design comprehensive fitness plans that incorporate prevention strategies. The center works with local businesses to promote nutrition and exercise programs, offers monthly blood screenings at reduced rates, offers after school and summer nutrition and health programs for kids, facilitates an internal corporate wellness program that serves approximately 1,400 employees of HaysMed, and provides the Kansas Optimizing Health Program for individuals with chronic diseases.

The Garden City Schools Wellness Team (USD 457) has created a school culture that prioritizes health and wellness. The key to this team’s success is the designation of wellness champions at each district school or building who plan and implement wellness activities for employees and further the district’s goal of empowering individuals to live longer, healthier lives and serve as role models for students. The team participates in several state and national health programs and has developed additional programs and initiatives including an annual 5K and one-mile walk/run,  training plans before each year’s run, walking programs before school, fitness clubs, staff exercise classes, evening community health and wellness events, and monthly health challenges.

The Health Champions were recognized during the Governor’s Council on Fitness’ second annual Kansas Obesity Summit. The summit engaged decision-makers in identifying and promoting best and most promising strategies to address rising rates and the health and economic impact of obesity in Kansas.

The summit’s keynote speaker was Dr. Doug Gruenbacher from Quinter, Kan. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Gruenbacher founded Castle Rock Wellness Center to provide a gym and exercise classes for his small community. He is an avid runner and a 2012 Summer Olympic torch bearer who looks for opportunities to motivate his community to improve their health.

"I want to thank our keynote speaker and all of our panelists for showcasing their success stories and sharing great examples for collaboration at the community level to increase physical activity and nutritional options," Virginia Elliott, chair, Governor's Council on Fitness.