SPRINGFIELD, MO – The Healthy Living Alliance (HLA) has added a director and two additional full-time coordinators to complete its team of professionals working to promote healthy, active living in the Springfield area. Recent funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports this growth, which includes a number of initiatives that will advance the mission of HLA, a network of more than 30 organizations.
HLA’s new director Patty Cantrell is a southwest Missouri native who recently returned to the area. She brings with her significant accomplishments in the field of community development while at the Michigan Land Use Institute and in her own business Regional Food Solutions LLC. Her experience includes development of a 10-county local food marketing initiative as well as farm-to-school and agricultural business programming in northwest Lower Michigan. She began her career at the green energy Rocky Mountain Institute after earning bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Patty also earned an MBA from Drury College when she worked in the early 1990s as a business reporter and columnist at the Springfield News-Leader. Patty’s passion for the strength and necessity of community-based economics and sustainability, paired with her experience as a professional journalist makes her the perfect candidate for directing HLA. Click here to watch her speak at TEDx Manhattan.
Long-time HLA staffers have built a solid base to work with. They are Allison Wilson who now serves as program manager and Stephanie Currao who heads up the Downtown YMCA’s Local Sprouts program for increasing healthy and local food options in child care.
The HLA team also now includes outreach coordinator Christy Claybaker and assessment coordinator Ben Hunt.
Christy brings to HLA a wealth of public relations and outreach experience as publisher of the first whole health and wellness directory for Springfield area, the iBody® Wellness Directory. As a retired licensed massage therapist and nine year entrepreneur, Christy has been very active in the community and regularly volunteers and hosts fundraisers for organizations advocating health and community support. Having seen first-hand the effects of unhealthy eating, smoking and sedentary lifestyle habits in her family, she has become very passionate about setting a healthy example for her daughter and is passionate about the opportunity to further her outreach efforts through HLA.
Ben Hunt joined the dynamic HLA team as the Community Assessment Coordinator. He will soon graduate from Missouri State University with a Master of Science in Health Promotion & Wellness Management. Ben volunteers his time as a member of the Childhood Obesity Action Group and with projects that have implemented new health policies in the Springfield Public School System and Walk Springfield, an initiative that identified and promoted 30 local walking paths. Currently, Ben is working to develop and maintain HLA’s new Healthy Communities Network website, which will provide real-time visual metrics, specific to the local community, of nearly 100 different health and quality of life indicators along with a database of more than 2,000 best practice approaches to improving health outcomes.
In Photo: From left: Allison Wilson, Stephanie Currao, Ben Hunt, Mary Kromrey (founding partner), Patty Cantrell and Christy Claybaker