Web Forum

Research and Nonprofit Partners Creating Healthy, Active Communities
Wednesday, January 9, 2013 | 11:00 AM to12:30 PM Pacific

Communities all over the US are implementing projects that improve people’s ability to walk, bike, and get other types of physical activity. Researchers and nonprofit organizations have partnered in creative ways to advance this “active living” movement. This Web Forum will share lessons learned from partnerships between researchers and nonprofit groups to create healthier communities through policy and environmental change. The Web Forum will include different examples of such partnerships including ones in which nonprofit groups collaborated with researchers to spearhead active living initiatives, and ones where researchers evaluated a project’s effectiveness in promoting physical activity and other health impacts.

Researchers and staff from nonprofit programs will talk about strategies, tools, and resources that you can use to form and improve your own partnerships.

Topics will include:

  • How to establish collaborations and partnerships between researchers and nonprofit groups to implement policy and environmental change and to evaluate “active living” projects;
  • How researchers and nonprofit groups can communicate more effectively;
  • Advice for how to speed up the research process; and
  • Tactics to improve translation and dissemination of project findings.






    Ian Thomas, PhD
    Executive Director,
    PedNet Coalition
    Columbia, Missouri

    Ian Thomas, PhDIan Thomas is the founding Executive Director of the PedNet Coalition of Columbia, MO, whose vision is a "healthy and active community." During twelve years in health policy advocacy, Ian has led efforts to build a local movement with more than 7,000 members, pass the first Complete Streets policy in Missouri, develop the largest Walking School Bus program in the United States, and institutionalize Health Impact Assessment within the City, County, and School District. Ian is a Board Member with America Walks and holds seats on the Safe Routes to School National Partnership Steering Committee and the Safe Routes to School National Review Group. (http://www.pednet.org)

    Stephen Sayers, PhD
    Associate Professor
    University of Missouri School of Health Professions

    Stephen Sayers, PhDDr. Sayers was trained as an exercise physiologist at the University of Massachusetts and joined the faculty of the University of Missouri in 2003. He is currently an associate professor and Director of Scholarly Activity in the Physical Therapy department in the School of Health Professions. His research program focuses on the evaluation of physical activity behaviors of adults and children and how infrastructure changes may help in the prevention of obesity-related chronic diseases. Dr. Sayers has been funded by granting agencies such as the NIH, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Arthritis Foundation, the American College of Rheumatology, and HealthSouth Corporation. (http://shp.missouri.edu/index.php)

    Noreen McDonald, PhD
    Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Noreen McDonald, PhDNoreen McDonald is an associate professor in the city and regional planning department at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on travel behavior and addresses cross-cutting policy questions in the fields of planning, education, and public health around children's physical activity and the siting of schools. (http://planning.unc.edu)

    Renee Kuhlman
    Director of Special Projects
    National Trust for Historic Preservation

    Renee KuhlmanRenee Kuhlman works for the National Trust for Historic Preservation helping states preserve their historic places. Between 2008-2012, Kuhlman directed the Helping Johnny Walk to School: Sustaining Communities through Smart Policy project which provided grants, technical assistance, and educational materials to encourage more community-centered schools. In 2010, the National Trust released the policy report she wrote that summarizes the many government actions that could encourage more community-centered schools. (www.preservationnation.org)


    Deborah Lou, PhD
    Program Analyst
    Active Living Research
    A National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    University of California, San Diego

    Deborah Lou, PhDDebbie Lou is the program analyst with Active Living Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Debbie engages advocacy, policy, and community groups to develop opportunities for research translation and dissemination, especially to ensure the research meets the needs of communities at highest risk for childhood obesity. She is co-author of a research synthesis with Dr. Wendell Taylor titled “Do All Children Have Places to be Active?” This synthesis reviews evidence showing that lower-income people and racial and ethnic minorities often live in communities that discourage active living. (www.activelivingresearch.org)


The following documents are PDF versions of the speakers’ presentations and are intended to be used for reference only.

Thomas/A Powerful Partnership for Creating Healthy Communities

McDonald/Recognizing the Value of Collaboration for Researchers

Kuhlman/Research and Non Profit Partners Creating Healthy, Active Communities


The following documents provide important background information that can enhance the Web Forum experience.


The organizations listed below have come together to sponsor this important effort:

Public Health Institute Logo http://www.activelivingresearch.org/

Public Health Institute

Active Living Research