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Contact Info

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Healthy Communities Program
4770 Buford Highway, N.E., Mailstop K-93
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717

Telephone: (770) 488-6452
Fax: (770) 488-8488

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Kathy Boeckman   •   Ann Brown   •   Karen Pesce   •
Bernard Turner  


Kathy Boeckman
San Jose, California
Nominated by Steps to a Healthier Santa Clara County

Photo of Kathy Boeckman

Kathy Boeckman has been a key partner and contributor since the inception of Steps to a Healthier Santa Clara County in 2004. Kathy knows firsthand that creating healthy school environments is critical to the success of students in the classroom. She is a quiet force, working tirelessly behind the scenes to help students, parents, the faculty, and community members work together to improve the health for all, and it is her passion and dedication that has resulted in positive change!

Kathy has been the Steps School Health Liaison for the largest school district in San Jose, comprising 53 schools and almost 31,000 students. Since the beginning, Kathy has dedicated herself to working with students and teachers in the classroom, providing training for teachers and administrators, and serving in a leadership role on several school and community-based collaborations. In trying to make a lasting change in her school district, Kathy embraced the value and importance of CDC’s School Health Index (SHI) tool, and she implemented its use at 39 of the 40 traditional schools within the district. This was no small feat. She knew in her heart that if she was to create healthy campuses across the district, she needed to convince decision makers that coordinated school health programs really work. The SHI results confirmed what she knew: that student test scores were better in those schools that had coordinated school health programs or activities, and school board members and administrators were convinced by these outcomes.

This is a wonderful example of Kathy’s perseverance and how it paid off. There is now a District School Health Council as well as School Health Leadership Teams on every campus. Health and safety education is being delivered, and despite tight fiscal times, every school has a full-time nurse dedicated to student health. Kathy’s commitment to Steps has helped more than 31,000 students and their families live healthier lives. She is truly a Steps Hero!

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Ann Brown
DeKalb County, Georgia
Nominated by Steps to Healthier DeKalb County

Photo of Ann Brown

Ann Brown has been a vital part of the DeKalb Steps community, serving as a Steps ambassador and cheerleader throughout DeKalb County. In addition to working in DeKalb County government and volunteering her time to neighborhood causes, Ann has been a member of the Steps to a Healthier DeKalb Leadership Team and Co-Chair of the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) initiative sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. She has also been an integral part of numerous DeKalb Steps initiatives.

Ann’s volunteerism has had a major impact on the DeKalb community, particularly in her role as champion of the expanding built environment initiative in the Belvedere community. She spearheaded a petition to help save one of the neighborhood’s main bus routes, which is an integral mode of public transportation for the residents of this Steps target neighborhood of lower-income and elderly residents. Ann was also the driving force behind a Steps initiative to connect the neighborhood with the only park in the area so that young people, among others who use the park, wouldn’t have to cross a dangerous busy main road to get there.

In her role as a Steps Leadership Team member, Ann is actively involved in educating the community about DeKalb Steps’ healthy living programs and activities. As Co-Chair of the HEAL initiative, she works diligently to promote healthy lifestyles among local residents by collaborating with community stakeholders who provide cooking demonstration classes, organize walking clubs, and develop fitness programs for families at a local elementary school. Ann also works closely with county officials to ensure the development of safe walking routes for community members.

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Karen Pesce
Tampa, Florida
Nominated by Steps to a Healthier Hillsborough County

Photo of Karen Pesce


Karen Pesce has worked with Steps to a Healthier Hillsborough County for the past 4˝ years to address the program’s call to action to improve parent and student knowledge and behavior regarding nutrition and fitness. Through a collaborative effort among school districts, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, and numerous community partners, Karen’s team has taught interactive health lessons, free of charge, to more than 1˝ million school-aged children throughout the Tampa Bay Community. These lessons, taught in public and private schools for approximately 190,000 students annually, are matched to the required Florida Sunshine State Standards for health, science, language, and math. As part of this effort, Karen set up a Nutrition Continuum Program that consists of six nutrition and fitness lessons for more than 65,000 K–12 students in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Karen is a strong, quiet force behind changing the way students and parents in the Florida Steps communities think about nutrition and fitness. Because of her commitment to working with them, many of these students and their parents have begun to adopt healthier lifestyles. Karen works tirelessly to help these community residents increase their knowledge about good nutrition and regular physical activity, hoping that, in the end, her work will pay off and the rates of diabetes and obesity, as well as other chronic diseases, will decrease among the residents of Tampa. As a committed Steps champion, Karen is deeply respected in her community and throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas counties where she has so unselfishly dedicated her time to these Steps initiatives—like a true “hero.”

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Bernard Turner
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nominated by Steps to a Healthier Minneapolis

Photo of Bernard Turner


About 8 years ago, while teaching classes at upscale workout clubs in downtown Minneapolis, Bernard became ill with a respiratory illness. Not one to give up easily, he used his fitness routine to help him manage and improve his chronic condition. The experience of changing from a person who personified health and wellness to one who felt sick and then learned to use fitness to manage his illness has been transformational to Bernard. As he put it, “fitness became my ministry.”

Today, Bernard teaches fitness classes for community-based organizations in south Minneapolis’ low-income communities of color. Most notably, he teaches classes at a community fitness center that cannot afford to pay him. Although Bernard could now easily obtain a well-paying fitness position, he prefers to provide his services free of charge when needed, offering one of the few such fitness opportunities in this community. He also does television appearances and radio interviews on behalf of Steps and makes presentations in the community, inspiring and motivating others to live a healthier lifestyle.

Bernard Turner is a “great ambassador for fitness and for Steps,” exclaimed the Steps to a Healthier Minneapolis program coordinator. Bernard is currently working on a master’s degree in business with the goal of launching a chain of fitness centers specifically for people living with chronic conditions.

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Page last reviewed: August 26, 2009
Page last modified: August 26, 2009
Content source: Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

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