Our Scholar Network

Partnering with the Foremost Authorities to Study & Share Knowledge

Our Scholar Network

PlayCore advances research from top scholars in partner universities, research and learning labs, and many global partnerships to drive innovation and amplify the health and wellness of communities.

Our scholar network has centuries of combined experience in what makes play and recreation equitable, engaging, and educational. Using quantitative and qualitative methodologies, our research partners have worked with us to translate the latest research into best practices across a variety of disciplines. These evidence-based practices can be used to design and implement unique and meaningful play and recreation destinations.

The expertise areas of our research partners provide a comprehensive knowledge base to promote community vitality. Together, our scholar network strategically aligns with PlayCore's mission to build healthy communities through play and recreation.

Our Scholar Network

  • Nisha D. Botchwey, PhD, MCRP, MPH

    Nisha D. Botchwey, PhD, MCRP, MPH

    Associate Professor School of City and Regional Planning

    Dr. Botchwey’s impacts on the field of physical activity are based on her planning, public health and equity research. She is an Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology and an adjunct professor in Emory University’s School of Public Health. Dr. Botchwey is a member of the Physical Activity Research Center (PARC) and directs the Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse. 

    She is co-author of Health Impact Assessment in the USA (2014), convener of a national expert panel on interdisciplinary workforce training between the public health and community design fields, and author of numerous articles, scientific presentations and workshops. Dr. Botchwey has won distinctions including an NSF ADVANCE Woman of Excellence Faculty Award, the Georgia Power Professor of Excellence Award, a Rockefeller-Penn Fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing and a Nominated Changemaker by the Obama White House’ Council on Women and Girls. She has also served on the Advisory Committee to the Director for the Centers of Disease Control Prevention and the Voices for Healthy Kids Strategic Advisory Committee for the American Heart Association.

    Dr. Botchwey’s current focus is on youth advocacy for physical activity and community wellbeing.

    Areas of Discipline: Promoting physical activity; City planning; Youth advocacy; Health equity

  • Eadric Bressel, PhD

    Eadric Bressel, PhD

    Professor of Biomechanics, Utah State University

    Dr. Eadric Bressel is a professor and clinical research scientist in the Sports Medicine Program at Utah State University (USU) in Logan, UT. He received his BS in 1994 and MS in 1995 in exercise science from California State University, Fresno, and he received his PhD in biomechanics from the University of Northern Colorado in 1999. His aquatic research examines neuromechanical adaptations to therapeutic exercise. With his academic appointment in the Department of KHS at USU Eadric is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. 

    Areas of Discipline: Sports Medicine

  • Stuart Brown, MD

    Stuart Brown, MD

    Founder, National Institute for Play

    Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry, and clinical research, Dr. Stuart Brown enjoyed a playful childhood and the benefit of growing up in an era when children, when they weren’t in school or asleep, lived their lives independently engaged in play with their peers. As an adult, he pioneered studies on the importance of play through research on homicidal young males, and felony drunk drivers, finding a startling common thread in their stories: serious lack of play in childhood. As his career progressed through roles as  Asst Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, Fellow in Psychiatric Research at Harvard’s McLean Hospital, Chief of Psychiatry at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, and an Associate Professor at UCSD School of Medicine in San Diego, CA, Dr. Brown believed that play could be the key to discovering the full potential that is in everyone, but also that defining “play” would require more in-depth understanding of its essential nature.

    As a like-minded play advocate, PlayCore is proud to partner with Dr. Brown on furthering the advancement of play and helping our world understand the critical importance of participating in play throughout life. Our work together thus far has resulted in several play concepts that promote attunement, and we are excited at the opportunities for ongoing work and promoting the value of play.

    Learn more about Dr. Brown and read some of his blog at www.playcore.com/drstuartbrown.

    Areas of Discipline: Internal Medicine & Psychiatry

    Community Vitality Expertise Areas: Social & Emotional Health; Education

    PlayCore Partnership:The Science of Play

  • Timothy A. Brusseau, Ph.D.

    Timothy A. Brusseau, Ph.D.

    Chair and Professor, Department of Health & Kinesiology, University of Utah

    Timothy A. Brusseau, Ph.D. is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Health & Kinesiology at the University of Utah. His doctoral training was completed at Arizona State University with a specialization in physical education pedagogy and a cognate in physical activity epidemiology. He earned a M.S. in Exercise and Sport Science and a B.S. in Health and Physical Education Teaching from Ithaca College. Dr. Brusseau is a research fellow in the Society of Health and Physical Educators of America (SHAPE) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). He is an internationally recognized leader in school and community physical activity programming having more than 150 peer reviewed publications. He has made more than 180 presentations on topics related to youth physical activity and has published multiple books and chapters, including the Routledge Handbook on Youth Physical Activity, Introduction to Kinesiology, and Dynamic Physical Education for Secondary School Students.

    Areas of Discipline: School and Community Physical Activity Programs

  • Kathleen G. Burriss, EdD

    Kathleen G. Burriss, EdD

    Professor, Middle Tennessee State University

    Dr. Kathleen Burriss is a professor in the College of Education at Middle Tennessee State University. Her writing and research interests describe aspects related to children's outdoor play, physical activity, and learning. Her publications include work related to physical, social, and cognitive environments in the outdoors; integration of information related to child development in creating outdoor playscapes; the impact of parental fear associated with children's outdoor play. She co-edited "Outdoor Learning and Play: Ages 8-12" describing the contributions of outdoor play for elementary children's physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional learning. Additionally, Dr. Burriss founded the Play Symposium, an annual event hosting renowned speakers addressing children's outdoor physical activity and play. She also developed a radio spot, “Play Talk”, which provided parents with information and strategies for supporting children’s quality play. Currently, as editor for the International Journal of the Whole Child, using an innovative format, she provides researchers and practitioners with relevant information.

    Areas of Discipline: Education

  • Paul Chantler, PhD

    Paul Chantler, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Division of Exercise Physiology, School of Medicine, West Virginia University

    Paul Chantler received his PhD in cardiovascular physiology from Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, and his post-doctoral training from the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes on Aging. Dr. Chantler is examining the effects of various therapeutic interventions, which includes exercise training, nutritional supplementation, and pharmacological therapies, on improving heart and blood vessel health in people with metabolic syndrome, and diabetes at West Virginia University.

    Areas of Discipline: Cardiovascular Physiology

  • Keith Christensen, PhD

    Keith Christensen, PhD

    Center for Persons with Disabilities Faculty Fellow, Utah State University

    Dr. Keith Christensen earned a masters degree in landscape architecture and a doctorate in disability studies. He is a Faculty Fellow with the Center for Persons with Disabilities and a professor of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at Utah State University. Keith directs the Beyond Access program which advocates for the planning and design of socially inclusive play environments and he is the Principal Investigator on a Federal program to support individuals with disabilities community living and participation. 

    Areas of Discipline: Landscape Architecture & Disability Studies

  • Terry Conway, PhD

    Terry Conway, PhD

    Research Investigator, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California San Diego; and Adjunct Doctoral Faculty, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University

    Dr. Conway has been the principal or co-investigator on numerous large-scale national and international research projects that have included observational and longitudinal studies, quasi-experimental studies, and intervention trials examining physical activity, sedentary behavior, dietary behaviors, tobacco use, and physical and mental health. Primary aims have been to examine psychosocial and environmental influences (e.g., “walkability” characteristics of neighborhood built environments) on physical activity and other health behaviors and health outcomes across multiple age groups, including adolescents, adults, and seniors. Dr. Conway’s expertise is in the areas of research design, data measurement and quality control, and statistical analysis. She has co-authored over 250 publications and has been recognized as a "highly cited" author. (Google Scholar link: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ZIpyuKwAAAAJ&hl=en)

    Areas of Discipline: Psychosocial and environmental influences on physical activity and other health behaviors and health outcomes.

  • Nilda Cosco, PhD

    Nilda Cosco, PhD

    Research Associate Professor, Director of Programs- Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University

    Nilda Cosco, PhD, Research Associate Professor and Director of Programs, Natural Learning Initiative NLI, College of Design, NC State University. Dr. Cosco holds a degree in Educational Psychology, Universidad del Salvador, Argentina and a PhD in Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh University, Scotland. In 2000, she cofounded the Natural Learning Initiative at the College of Design, North Carolina with Professor Moore.  She developed in 2007 the program Preventing Obesity by Design (POD). Cosco’s research focuses on the impact of the physical environment on children’s learning, health, and well-being.

    Areas of Discipline: Educational Psychology & Landscape Architecture

  • Brian Dauenhauer, Ph.D.

    Brian Dauenhauer, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor, Director, University of Northern Colorado, School of Sport & Exercise Science, UNC Active Schools Institute

    Dr. Brian Dauenhauer was an elementary school physical education for six years prior to entering higher education. He now prepares future physical education teachers, coordinates a master’s program for in-service teachers, and supervises doctoral students in physical education and physical activity leadership at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). He serves as Director of the UNC Active Schools Institute, a community-engaged research lab focused on physical activity promotion in schools. His research interests lie at the intersection of school-based physical activity promotion and effective data use. Brian lives in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado, with his wife and two boys. In his free time, he enjoys fishing and playing golf.

    Areas of Discipline: Youth Physical Activity

  • Heather Erwin, PhD

    Heather Erwin, PhD

    Professor, Chair, University of Kentucky, Kinesiology & Health Promotion

    Heather Erwin earned her Ph.D. in 2006 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Pedagogical Kinesiology and Master’s in Adapted Physical Education from the University of Arkansas. Her undergraduate degree is in K-12 Physical Education with teaching certification. She is currently a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky, where she serves as Department Chair. She has taught public school physical education and worked with teachers and administrators in school districts, recreation programs, and youth sport organizations across the country to promote youth to be physically active for a lifetime. She has authored over 60 articles, both data-based and applied. She is a co-author of Dynamic Physical Education for Secondary School Children 8th and 9th editions.

    Areas of Discipline: Physical Education/Physical Activity for Youth

  • Myron Floyd, PhD

    Myron Floyd, PhD

    Dean of the College of Natural Resources, NC State University

    Myron Floyd, PhD, is Dean of the College of Natural Resources and Professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University.  He is widely acknowledged as a leading scholar in the area of race, ethnicity and outdoor recreation behavior. His most recent research examines how public parks and urban greenspace contribute to physical activity and health in low income communities of color. Myron’s research is widely disseminated in a variety of public health and social science publications. 

    Myron’s professional service includes membership on the Board of Trustees of the National Recreation Foundation, the Healthy North Carolina 2030 Task Force, and the Children and Nature Network Green Schoolyard Research and Metrics Advisory Group. He has also served on the Forestry Research Advisory Council. Myron is an elected fellow of The Academy of Leisure Sciences and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.  

    Areas of Discipline: Physical activity and the built environment, Health disparities, Race/ethnicity and leisure activity preferences, Environmental justice, Health benefits of urban green space

  • Aaron Hipp, PhD

    Aaron Hipp, PhD

    Associate Professor of Community Health and Sustainability, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

    Dr. Hipp is a built environment and active living researcher and instructor, and has served as an Interdisciplinary Research Leader Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Dr. Hipp works collaboratively on projects related to active living and multifamily developments, parks in low-income communities of color, access to greenspace, and epidemiologic surveillance of pedestrians and bicyclists. He uses technologies and big data, including web cameras, GIS, GPS, accelerometers, and social media, to explore the relationships between place and active living. https://cnr.ncsu.edu/directory/aaron-hipp/



    Areas of Discipline: Parks and Recreation Design & Development, Active Living

    Community Vitality Expertise Area: Environment, Equity

    PlayCore Partnership:Scholar Series - Episode 1 - Parks as Equitable Resources for Youth Physical Activity, Especially Now

  • Melissa Hughes, PhD

    Melissa Hughes, PhD

    President and Founder, The Andrick Group

    Dr. Hughes specializes in employee engagement, effective communication strategies, and the unique dynamics of the multigenerational workforce – all of which contribute to organizational culture and are essential for success.  Having worked with learners from the classroom to the boardroom, she incorporates brain-based research that illuminates the science behind factors that impact how people think, learn, communicate and collaborate.  With energy, humor, and a practical application of neuroscience in our everyday lives, Melissa enables leaders to explore productive ways to harness the skills, innovation and creativity from all members of the organization to build collective intellectual capacity and create a culture of learning and leadership. 

    Melissa holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master of Arts degree, and a Master of Science degree. Dr. Hughes has spoken at countless state and national conferences on learning and leadership and has been published in numerous print and online publications.  She currently develops and delivers professional development sessions across the country to increase our capacity to learn individually and collaboratively. 

    Areas of Discipline: Whole Brain Learning

  • Tin-Man Lau

    Tin-Man Lau

    Professor, MID Program Chair and GPO School of Industrial and Graphic Design College of Architecture, Design and Construction Auburn University

    Tin-Man Lau originally from Hong Kong, worked for the Taiwan Kolin Co., Ltd. (A corporation branch of Mitsubishi, Japan) as an assistant engineer before his graduate study. He joined the faculty at the Auburn University in 1986. He has published and presented papers nationally and internationally. He has also lectured and taught at numerous universities in China and Taiwan. He was invited to teach at National Cheng Kung University and Shu-Te University in Taiwan sponsored by the Minister of Education and the National Science Council of Taiwan as a visiting Professor. Since 2004 he has directed the annual Study Abroad Taiwan Program at Auburn University bringing Auburn Student to Taiwan for Design Education Exchange. He is also an independent design consultant specialized in developing consumer products. During his tenure at Auburn, he has directed student design projects sponsored by NASA (aerospace products), Brother International (consumer electronic products), DOE (Department of Energy, sustainable products), Frigidaire (power equipment), PlayCore / GameTime (playground equipment), SummerClassics, Peak Season (out-door furniture), Winsted (security furniture), etc. He has also participated design research projects funded by IBM, SeikoMead, and NASA. His research and teaching interests include design semantics, cultural aesthetics, design methodologies, new product development, rapid prototyping, and 3D computer modeling. He was recently named by DesignIntelligence magazine as one of the Design Educators of the Year in 2007, and one of the Most Admired Educators of the Year in 2008, 2009, and 2013. He was also awarded Alumni Professorship by the Auburn Alumni Association (2010-2015).

  • Gary Liguori, PhD, FACSM

    Gary Liguori, PhD, FACSM

    Inaugural Dean, Provost and Senior Vice President, University of West Florida

    Gary received his PhD from North Dakota State University, MS from East Stroudsburg University, and BS from the University of Central Missouri. Gary has held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, North Dakota State University, Youngstown State University, and the University of Wyoming. Gary is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), serves on the Executive Council of the ACSM Committee of Certification and Registry Board (CCRB) and on the Executive Council of the ACSM Publications Committee. Gary was the Senior Editor of the 1st edition ACSM Resource Manual for the Health Fitness Specialist, an Associate Editor for ACSM’s 10th edition Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, and the Senior Editor of ACSM’s 5th edition Health Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual. Gary has been a keynote presenter at venues around the world, published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles, and sits on the advisory board of numerous health, wellness, and medical organizations.

    Areas of Discipline: Kinesiology

  • Marybeth Lima, PhD

    Marybeth Lima, PhD

    Professor, Louisiana State University

    Marybeth Lima, PhD, PE (professional engineer), CPSI (Certified Playground Safety Inspector) is the Cliff & Nancy Spanier Alumni Professor in Biological & Agricultural Engineering (BAE) at Louisiana State University (LSU) and the Director of the LSU Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership (CCELL). In 1998, Marybeth established the LSU Community Playground Project, a service-learning program which pairs elementary school and college students to design and build “dream playgrounds” at local public schools. These sustained efforts have led to the construction of more than 30 collaboratively designed playgrounds; this program is internationally known, and Lima received the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award from Campus Compact (2007), the highest national honor for a service-learning faculty member in any discipline. She has authored or co-authored more than 100 technical publications, including four books. Lima is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and the American Society for Engineering Education.

    Areas of Discipline: Biological & Agricultural Engineering

  • Thom McKenzie, PhD

    Thom McKenzie, PhD

    Emeritus Professor of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences San Diego State University

    Dr. Thom McKenzie is Emeritus Professor of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University and former Adjunct Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego. He has authored or co-authored over 250 papers and chapters and developed and published numerous assessment and curricular materials. He is a Fellow of four professional organizations and has been an investigator on 15 large-scale multidisciplinary research projects supported by NIH and collaborated on numerous projects funded by Active Living Research. He is currently studying physical activity behavior and policies in diverse settings, including homes, schools, recreation centers, and community parks He and a colleague, Dr.Monica Lounsbery just wrote a children's physical activity picture book that is available in English and English/Spanish on Amazon.com.

    Areas of Discipline: Exercise & Nutritional Sciences

  • Muntazar Monsur, PhD

    Muntazar Monsur, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Texas Tech University

    Dr. Monsur is an assistant professor in Texas Tech University's Department of Landscape Architecture. His teaching and research efforts are focused to enhance the quality of children's lives by improving/modifying environments with special emphasis in schools, preschools, and childcare centers. One of his primary goals at Texas Tech is to collaborate with different departments and units of the university and the city/state to develop a long-term research plan focused on a holistic approach of childhood development by bringing more nature in children's everyday experience to promote health and wellbeing.

    Link to complete bio: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/larc...

    Areas of Discipline: Architecture & Design

  • Robin Moore, Dipl Arch, MCP, ASLA

    Robin Moore, Dipl Arch, MCP, ASLA

    Professor of Landscape Architecture, Director of Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University

    Robin Moore, Dipl Arch, MCP, ASLA, holds degrees in architecture (London University) and urban planning (MIT), and for most of his career has worked in the field of landscape architecture as an educator, researcher, and consultant. Moore is an international authority on the design of children's play and learning environments, user needs research, and participatory public open space design. He has won many awards for his contributions to the field of design. and is the author or co-author of several books and numerous articles on the use of the outdoor environment by children and youth and families, and their involvement in the planning and design process. He was the principal investigator for the US Access Board update of the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards for Children's Environments. Professor Moore is past president of the International Association for the Child's Right to Play (IPA), and for twenty years was editor of the IPA magazine, PlayRights.

    Areas of Discipline: Landscape Architecture & Planning

  • Elizabeth “Betsy” Nagle, PhD, FACSM

    Elizabeth “Betsy” Nagle, PhD, FACSM

    FACSM, Assistant Professor and Graduate Faculty, Department of Health and Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh

    Elizabeth Nagle, PhD, FACSM is an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator in the Department of Health and Physical Activity at the University of Pittsburgh where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in exercise physiology, research methods, and physiology of training. Her research includes prediction in performance in swimmers, aquatic weight loss interventions (funded by NIDDK), and development of test protocols that assess cardiorespiratory fitness (funded by National Swimming Pool Foundation). Most recently (2014) she served as a co-investigator for the Naval Special Warfare Injury Prevention and Human Performance Research Initiative (funded through Department of Defense) examining prediction of aquatic performance. She is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, Red Cross, USA Swimming, and National Swimming Pool Foundation.

    Areas of Discipline: Exercise Physiology

  • Jacquelyn Ann Nagle, PhD

    Jacquelyn Ann Nagle, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling and Exercise Science, John Carroll University

    Jacquelyn Nagle, PhD is an Assistant Professor at John Carroll University. Her research interests include the physiological responses to aquatic exercise and the subsequent impact on health. Her current work includes the development of multiple fitness tests designed specifically for aquatics to improve performance and reduce the risk of long-term injury during aquatics based exercise. She was a past recipient of the National Swimming Pool Foundation Fellowship Award during her doctoral work. She completed her dissertation on “Comparing Energy Expenditure during Land and Shallow Water Walking in Overweight and Obese Females,” while at the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, where she developed aquatics-based protocols for the assessment of swimming performance in military populations. Future work hopes to continue to investigate the effective and safe of aquatic-based exercise in special populations.

    Areas of Discipline: Exercise Physiology

  • M. Renée Umstattd Meyer, PhD, MCHES, FAAHB

    M. Renée Umstattd Meyer, PhD, MCHES, FAAHB

    Professor, Baylor University, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences

    Dr. Umstattd Meyer is a Professor of Public Health and the Associate Dean for Research in the Baylor University Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences who is recognized nationally and internationally for her work with diverse underserved and rural communities. Her research aims to better understand and promote physical activity for all people across the lifespan, specifically acknowledging the importance of and interrelationships among behavioral, environmental, and policy factors.

    She works with communities using mixed methods to understand cultural context and advance approaches and policies to foster healthy and active opportunities and lifestyles for all people, focusing much of her work on partnering with underserved rural communities and families. She co-leads the PAPREN Rural Active Living Workgroup and a Voices For Healthy Kids IEE special interest group focused on Activating Rural America. She has been invited to serve on advisory panels and/or lead webinars for Voices for Healthy Kids, America Walks, the Active Living Conference, and is a Past-President for the American Academy of Health Behavior, a multidisciplinary society of health behavior scholars and researchers.

    Areas of Discipline: Physical activity across all ages, particularly in diverse, underserved rural communities.

  • Gil Peñalosa, PhD

    Gil Peñalosa, PhD

    Founder & Chair, 8 80 Cities; Chair, World Urban Parks

    Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people. He advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of age and social, economic, or ethnic background.

    Gil is the founder and chair of the internationally recognized Canadian non-profit organization 8 80 Cities. He is chair of World Urban Parks, as well as senior advisor to Children & Nature and Vision Zero Network.

    Because of Gil’s unique blend of experience, pragmatism and passion, his leadership and advice has been sought out in more than 300 different cities across six continents.

    Before immigrating to Canada, Gil was Commissioner in Bogota. He holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he recently was selected as one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” in the school’s history. He also received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Faculty of Urban Planning at the prominent University of Sweden SLU.

    Areas of Discipline: Urban Planning

  • Keshia Pollack Porter, PhD, MPH

    Keshia Pollack Porter, PhD, MPH

    Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management

    Keshia M. Pollack Porter, PhD, MPH is the Associate Dean for Faculty and Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Pollack Porter also directs the School’s Institute for Health and Social Policy, and is part of the leadership teams for the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions. She is an injury epidemiologist and policy researcher studying active play and active transportation, sports injury prevention, safe built environments, and the nexus of transportation and health. She is also a leader advancing health equity using tools such as health impact assessment and strategies that promote health in all policies. Her research informs the development and implementation of policies and environments that promote equity and safety where people live, work, play, and travel.

    Areas of Discipline: Active transportation, Active Play, Policy, Health Equity

  • Allison Poulos, PhD

    Allison Poulos, PhD

    Assistant Professor; College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University

    Allison Poulos is an Assistant Professor in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on community-based health promotion with an emphasis on physical activity in schools. Guided by a social-ecological framework, she studies how individual, environmental, and policy factors affect behavior, and how they collectively impact the health and well-being of children, schools, and communities. She combines her past experience as a health and physical education teacher with her training in community development to support a culture of active schools.

    Areas of Discipline: 

    School-based physical activity promotion 

  • Randall S. Rosenberger, PhD

    Randall S. Rosenberger, PhD

    Professor of Applied Economics; Oregon State University

    Dr. Randy Rosenberger is a professor of applied economics in the Department of Forest Ecosystems & Society in the College of Forestry, and works collaboratively with the Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy at Oregon State University.  He received his BA in philosophy from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, and his MA in applied ethics and PhD in applied economics from Colorado State University. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.  Prior to joining Oregon State University, he was a faculty member at West Virginia University, a post-doc scholar at Colorado State University, and worked collaboratively with the U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, CO. 

    His research expertise is in the area of economic valuation, in particular the use of meta-analysis and benefit transfer methods, to estimate values for resources without established markets (i.e., nonmarket valuation).  He maintains the Recreation Use Values Database—an open access collection of empirical economic measures of recreation use values in North America—which is widely referenced by researchers, planners, consultants, and others interested in economic values of recreation activities. His recent focus has been on economic estimation of the health benefits of outdoor recreation. 

    Areas of Discipline: Outdoor recreation & tourism, nonmarket valuation

  • Jim Sallis, Ph.D.

    Jim Sallis, Ph.D.

    Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California San Diego and Professorial Fellow at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne

    Dr. Sallis has made contributions to the field of physical activity  in the areas of measurement, correlates of physical activity, intervention, and advocacy. His health improvement programs have been studied and used in health care settings, schools, universities, and companies. As Director of Active Living Research he helped build an interdisciplinary field of study on the role of environments and policies in physical activity. He is an author of over 700 scientific publications, co-author of several books, on the editorial boards of several journals, and one of the world's most cited authors.

    Dr. Sallis has received awards for his science from the American College of Sports Medicine, Society of Behavioral Medicine, and American Psychological Association Division of Health Psychology. He received a lifetime achievement award in 2011 from the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. His current focus is using research to inform policy and environmental changes that will increase physical activity and reduce childhood obesity.

    Areas of Discipline: Promoting physical activity; Policy and environmental influences on physical activity, nutrition, and obesity

  • Michael Suk, MD, JD, MPH, FACS

    Michael Suk, MD, JD, MPH, FACS

    Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery, Geisinger Health System Danville, PA

    Dr. Michael Suk is the Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery at Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA. Previously, Dr. Suk was Associate Professor, Associate Residency Program Director and Division Chief of Orthopaedic Trauma at the University of Florida-Shands Medical Center, Jacksonville, FL. Dr. Suk is the author of numerous scientific articles, and has spoken both nationally and internationally on a variety of topics relevant to orthopedics and health. Dr. Suk’s immersion in advocating for healthy activity began in 2003 when he was chosen by President George W. Bush as a White House Fellow to serve as a special assistant to Secretary Gale A. Norton at the U.S. Department of the Interior. During his tenure in this role, Dr. Suk organized Get Fit with US, designed to support President Bush’s federal interagency program, Healthier US, which was based on the premise that increasing personal fitness and becoming healthier is critical to achieving a better and longer life. Dr. Suk has also served as a senior advisor on health and recreation to the National Park Service. He has also served on the board of directors of America on the Move and the American Hiking Society.

    Areas of Discipline: Orthopedics & Health

  • John Sutterby, PhD

    John Sutterby, PhD

    Associate Professor, University of Texas San Antonio

    John A. Sutterby is an associate professor at the University of Texas at Brownsville. He is a co-author of the Developmental Benefits of Playgrounds published by ACEI. His other research interests include professional development of early childhood educators, family involvement for Latino families and bilingual teacher development. He is a past and future president of The Association for the Study of Play. He is also series editor for Advances in Early Education and Day Care published by Emerald publications.

    Areas of Discipline: Early Childhood

  • Hirofumi Tanaka, PhD

    Hirofumi Tanaka, PhD

    Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin

    Dr. Hirofumi Tanaka is a Professor and the Director of the Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. He received a BA in physical education from the International Budo (Martial Arts) University in Japan, a MS in human bioenergetics from Ball State University, and a PhD in applied physiology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He then completed his postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Tanaka’s research interest includes the influence of regular swimming exercise on vascular function and disease risks. He has published extensively in the area of swimming and its health benefits.

    Areas of Discipline: Cardiovascular Aging

  • Hannah R. Thompson, PhD, MPH

    Hannah R. Thompson, PhD, MPH

    Assistant Research Professor; University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health

    Hannah R. Thompson, PhD, MPH is an Epidemiologist and Assistant Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. With current and prior funding from the NIH, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente, her research focus is on school- and community-based interventions and policies to increase physical activity and improve nutrition to reduce health disparities in youth. Through both qualitative and quantitative methods, she works to understand how multiple stakeholders (families, schools, community-based organizations, health departments, healthcare organizations, legislators) can work together to improve health outcomes, with a particular focus on children and families in communities at highest risk for inactivity and poor health.

    Areas of Discipline: Physical activity and nutrition epidemiology; School health

  • Collin A. Webster, PhD

    Collin A. Webster, PhD

    Associate Dean for Research and Innovation, Professor of Physical Education, University of South Carolina

    Collin Webster earned his Ph.D. in physical education and sport studies from the University of Georgia in 2006 and has held academic appointments at the University of South Carolina (2006- 2012; 2013-present) and the University of Wollongong in Australia (2012-2013). He is currently a professor in the Department of Physical Education at UofSC and has served as Department Chair and as Associate Dean for Research and Innovation for the UofSC College of Education. 

    With over 100 publications and numerous presentations to national and international audiences, he is a widely recognized scholar in the area of youth physical activity promotion. The core focus of Dr. Webster's research is on comprehensive school physical activity programs, including best practices for program implementation, monitoring, and sustainability. 

    Dr. Webster was an invited research fellow with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at Tokyo Gakugei University in 2011 and with the Priority Research Center in Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle, Australia in 2012. He is also a research fellow with the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America. 

    Prior to his academic career, Dr. Webster worked as a physical education and health teacher at international schools in the Dominican Republic and Dubai. He is a "Third Culture Kid" who grew up in Pakistan, Singapore, Cyprus, and Taiwan. https://sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/education/faculty-staff/webster_collin.php

    Discipline: Physical education and physical activity promotion

    Community Vitality Expertise Areas: Education, Physical Health

    PlayCore Partnership: Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs 

Special thanks to our Scholar Alumni. We are grateful for their contributions to building healthy communities.

Bruce Becker, MD
Dennis Dolny, PhD
Joe Frost, PhD
Tom Lachocki, PhD