High Obesity Program Recipients

CDC funds 15 land grant universities to work with community extension services to increase access to healthier foods and safe and accessible places for physical activity in counties that have more than 40% of adults with obesity.

HOP 1809 Recipients


Recipient: Auburn University (Auburn)

Geographic Location of Work: Alabama

Counties: Barbour, Bullock, Conecuh, Dallas, Escambia, Greene, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Sumter, Wilcox

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Barb Struempler
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Auburn University
207 Duncan Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849
Tel: 334-750-9559
Email: struebj@auburn.edu

Project Overview: Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Alabama Preventing and Reducing Obesity: Helping Engage Alabamians for Long-Term Health (ALProHealth) is increasing access to healthier foods by improving nutrition guidelines in local agencies and community sites and exploring a food hub infrastructure. They are also connecting transportation infrastructure with homes, early care and education programs, schools, worksites, and parks or recreation centers through implementing master plans and land use interventions.


Recipient: University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (Little Rock)

Geographic Location of Work: Arkansas

Counties: Chicot, Lee, Mississippi, Phillips, St. Francis

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Laura Balis
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
2301 S. University Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72204
Tel: 501-671-2099
Email: lbalis@uaex.edu

Project Overview: The Arkansas Delta Region Obesity Program is: 1) working with food vendors, distributors, and producers on healthier food purchasing and sales; 2) establishing healthy nutrition standards in key institutions; 3) making improvements to state and local programs and systems; and 4) collaborating with partners to connect sidewalks, paths, bicycle routes, and public transit with homes, early care and education, schools worksites, and parks or recreation centers through implementing master plans and land use interventions.


Recipient: University of Georgia (Athens)

Geographic Location of Work: Georgia

Counties: Calhoun, Clay, Dooly, Stewart, Taliaferro

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Marsha Davis
University of Georgia
105 Spear Road
116 Rhodes Hall
Athens, GA 30602
Tel: 706-542-4369
Email: davism@uga.edu

Project Overview: Georgia is targeting places in Calhoun, Clay, Dooly, Stewart, and Taliaferro counties where children and their families interact on a regular basis, including schools, anywhere food is sold, health departments, churches, and parks. Georgia also is focusing on food production and distribution, transportation, and increasing awareness through media and social media. Activities will take place in community settings, at the county level, and the regional/state level for a larger systems change.


Recipient: University of Kentucky (Lexington)

Geographic Location of Work: Kentucky

Counties: Martin

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Jennifer Hunter
University of Kentucky Research Foundation
102 Erikson Hall
Lexington, KY 40506
Tel: 859-257-3887
Email: jhunter@uky.edu

Project Overview: Kentucky is working with counties on master plans to support active living and trail development to connect residents to everyday destinations and recreation. They are working with schools, faith-based organizations, after school programs, food banks and other community sites to offer healthier food through nutritional guidelines and healthier procurement. They are also working on increasing access to fruits and vegetables with fruit and vegetable vouchers at schools and connecting community members to farmers markets.


Recipient: Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge)

Geographic Location of Work: Louisiana

Counties: Madison, Tensas, St. Helena, Assumption, Claiborne, East Carroll, Morehouse

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Denise Holston
Louisiana State University
201 Knapp Hall
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Tel: 225-578-4573
Email: dholston@agcenter.lsu.edu

Project Overview: The Healthy Access, Behaviors, and Communities II (Healthy ABCs) project is engaging target parishes in Complete Streets planning and implementation and assessing transportation options to improve accessibility to both healthier food and physical activity options. They are working with retailers, farmers markets, faith-based organizations, healthcare organizations and early care and education providers to improve nutrition guidelines and to make healthy food more widely available.


Recipient: Mississippi State University (near Starkville)

Geographic Location of Work: Mississippi

Counties: Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Sharkey, Sunflower, Washington

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
David Buys
Mississippi State University
Box 9805
202B Ballew
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Tel: 662-325-3060
Email: drb73@msstate.edu

Project Overview: Mississippi State University Extension Service (MSUES) is promoting community-driven programs that 1) improve the food system to increase access to healthier foods and 2) bring together partners to connect sidewalks, paths, bicycle routes, and public transit with homes, early care and education, schools, worksites, and parks or recreation centers through implementing master plans and land use interventions.

North Dakota

Recipient: North Dakota State University (Fargo)

Geographic Location of Work: North Dakota

Counties: Rolette, Sioux

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Megan Ditterick
North Dakota State University
Dept 7270, FLC 219
P.O. Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108
Tel: 701-231-6515
Email: megan.ditterick@ndsu.edu

Project Overview: North Dakota State University is working with the communities of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Sioux County and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in Rolette County to increase access to healthier and culturally-appropriate foods at schools, group meal settings, childcare centers, and retailers. They are also working on creating or improving safe, culturally-appropriate, and accessible places for physical activity for these communities.


Recipient: Oklahoma State University (Stillwater)

Geographic Location of Work: Oklahoma

Counties: Adair, Muskogee

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Deana Hildebrand
Oklahoma State University
315 Human Sciences
Stillwater, OK 74078
Tel: 405-744-5059
Email: deana.hildebrand@okstate.edu

Project Overview: Oklahoma is working in Adair and Muskogee counties, and partnering with Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Healthy Living coalitions to address needs for safe places for physical activity and access to healthy and affordable food. They are working with schools, parks, and local government to make walking and biking to school safer, and increasing bicycle infrastructure. Nutrition standards are being improved in food banks, afterschool and recreation programs and early care and education sites. The food system is being improved with farmers markets and farm to school programs.

South Carolina

Recipient: Clemson University (Clemson)

Geographic Location of Work: South Carolina

Counties: Hampton, Lee, Marion

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Sarah Griffin
Clemson University – Department of Public Health Sciences
507 Edwards Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
Tel: 864-656-1622
Email: sgriffi@clemson.edu

Project Overview: Multidisciplinary Extension Teams (MDET) in Hampton, Lee, and Marion counties are working on healthier food procurement and making healthy and local foods accessible; 2) connecting local farmers to local vendors and concessions; community gardens; active transportation plans to encourage use of physical activity locations; helping schools offer open use of space for physical activity by community residents.

South Dakota

Recipient: South Dakota State University (Brookings)

Geographic Location of Work: South Dakota

Counties: Buffalo, Ziebach

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Lindsay Moore, MS
Community Health & Obesity Program Director
South Dakota State University Extension
Tel: 605-280-4446
Email: Lindsay.Moore@sdstate.edu

Project Overview: South Dakota State University is building upon successful work in tribal communities in Buffalo and Ziebach counties under previous CDC High Obesity Program (HOP) funding. The project continues to partner with the established Wellness Coalitions but is also establishing school-based coalitions to help schools serve as centers for healthier food and will provide physical activity opportunities for communities in extremely rural areas.


Recipient: University of Tennessee (Knoxville)

Geographic Location of Work: Tennessee

Counties: Hardeman

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Soghra Jarvandi
University of Tennessee
218 Morgan Hall
2621 Morgan Circle Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996
Tel: 865-974-7328
Email: Sjarvand@tennessee.edu

Project Overview: Tennessee is working in eight distinct communities located in Hardeman County to work on improving food systems; to establish healthy nutrition standards in public and community institutions and food pantries; and to assess transportation needs to create an active living plan for each of the eight towns.


Recipient: Texas A&M (College Station)

Geographic Location of Work: Texas

Counties: Hudspeth, Maverick, Starr, Webb

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Jamie Rae Walker
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
17360 Coit Road
Dallas, TX 75252
Tel: 972-952-9214
Email: jamierae.walker@ag.tamu.edu

Project Overview: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is working with partners in Hudspeth, Maverick, Starr, and Webb counties to improve access to healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and routine physical activity for residents.


Recipient: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg)

Geographic Location of Work: Virginia

Counties: Petersburg (city)

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Kathryn Hosig
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Department of Population Health Sciences
Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Tel: 540-231-6637
Email: khosig@vt.edu

Project Overview: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University continues partnerships and initiatives built through previous funding from CDC to improve access to healthier foods and opportunities for physical activity in Petersburg. Partnerships with the Virginia Cooperative Extension (Virginia Tech and Virginia State University) and the Virginia Department of Health (state and local) will strengthen and enhance existing collaborations.

West Virginia

Recipient: West Virginia University (Morgantown)

Geographic Location of Work: West Virginia

Counties: Clay, McDowell

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Emily Murphy
West Virginia University Extension Service
605 Knapp Hall
P.O. Box 6031
Morgantown, WV 26506
Tel: 304-293-8589
Email: Emily.Murphy@mail.wvu.edu

Project Overview: West Virginia is working to improve access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities for all residents of Clay and McDowell counties. They are working with Mountaineer Food Bank to promote procurement and purchase of healthy food by community-based agencies for children and families. They are working with ECEs and farmers markets to also make healthier food more available. Schools are working with communities on shared use agreements to create more spaces for safe physical activity for all.


Recipient: University of Wisconsin (Madison)

Geographic Location of Work: Menominee Indian Reservation, Wisconsin

County: Menominee

Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Amber Canto
University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension
432 N Lake St, Room 329
Madison, WI 53706
Tel: 608-265-4975
Email: amber.canto@ces.uwex.edu

Project Overview:

The Kemmaceqtaq project is collaborating with partners to establish new or improved active transit systems using indigenous design strategies to establish healthier food purchasing practices and nutrition standards in key community settings. These settings include the Menominee Tribe, afterschool and recreation centers, food pantries, senior meal sites, concession stands, and Tribal, county, and local government meetings and events.

Connect with Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity