New Members Appointed to Governor's Council on Fitness
TOPEKA– Kansas Health & Environment Secretary Robert Moser, M.D., appointed six new members to the Governor’s Council on Fitness, with three-year terms beginning in 2014. “We appreciate the time and expertise these talented new members are giving to promote physical activity and other healthy choices to enhance the health of Kansans,” he said.
These members serving three-year terms beginning in 2014 are already actively contributing to the Council’s physical activity initiatives:
- Elizabeth Ablah earned a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from St. Olaf College, a master’s degree in public health from University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, and master’s and doctorate degrees in community psychology from Wichita State University. She currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Preventive Medicine and Public Health Department at KU School of Medicine-Wichita. Dr. Ablah is also a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor.
- Michael Aldridge earned a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in business administration from Baker University. He currently serves as Vice President of Operations for Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, Topeka. Mr. Aldridge’s community activities have included American Cancer Society Relay for Life team captain and soccer coach.
- Jill Geller earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Kansas. She currently works as the Superintendent of Recreation for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District in Merriam. Ms. Geller is an active member of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association and has served in many leadership roles, including President.
- Douglas Gruenbacher earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Kansas State University and a medical degree from the University of Kansas. He currently practices as a full spectrum family medicine physician in Quinter, Kan. Dr. Gruenbacher represented the American Academy of Family Physicians as a torch bearer in the 2012 London Olympics.
- Wayne Osness earned a bachelor’s degree in physical science from Wisconsin College, master’s degrees in physical education and chemistry-science education and a doctorate in physical education from the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Osness chaired the University of Kansas Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences for 35 years, retiring in 2002. Dr. Osness has remained an active promoter of physical activity at the community, state, and national levels since then. He served on the Governor’s Council on Fitness for many years, being reappointed for this 2014 term after concluding his previous term in 2012.
- Brenda Sooter earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Wichita State University. She taught elementary school for 15 years and currently works as the Executive Director for the Kansas Learning Center for Health in Halstead. Ms. Sooter’s community activities include serving as a Kansas volleyball official and girls basketball coach.
They join current Governor’s Council on Fitness members Virginia Elliott, Chair, Hutchinson; Rhonda Holt, Co-Chair, Wichita; Dolores Furtado, Overland Park; Mary Jo Halfiger, Wakeeney; Kevin Harker, Kansas City; Douglas Iliff, Topeka; Cheryl Johnson, Topeka; Craig Kaberline, Topeka; Vance Lassey, Holton; Kathy Sexton, Derby; Harold Swedlund, Topeka; Marlou Wegener, Topeka; Claudia Welch, Topeka; and Jeff Willett, Wichita.
The Governor’s Council on Fitness advises the Governor and others on ways to enhance the health of all Kansans through promotion of physical activity, good dietary choices and prevention of tobacco use. The GCOF hosted the Kansas Summit on Obesity in 2012 and 2013 to generate recommendations for improving health across the state, and last year the Council launched the Get Active Kansas campaign through a network of more than 100 Physical Activity Champions. The Council’s website is www.kansasfitness.org.