School & Community News

Meet the leaders in our 2014 book
March 22, 2014

2014+Book+CoverMarch 2014…A top chef, a swim coach, and a physical therapist who works with a facility dog are among the subjects of a new book written and illustrated by students participating in the Healthy NewsWorks student media program.

All told, 14 individuals and Seamus the facility dog, will appear in Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities 2014, which will be published this spring and is the third in a series focused on community leaders who work to enhance health and wellness for children and their families.

More than 70 elementary and middle school students in Healthy NewsWorks schools have contributed to this year’s volume. As did the previous book, the 2014 edition will include a companion teacher guide to encourage classroom discussions and activities.

Books can be purchased or sponsored for donation to schools, pediatric practices, youth organizations, among other venues. (The deadline to be listed in the print edition of the book as a sponsor is April 19.  Sponsors after that date can still be listed in the online version of the book).

“It’s an exciting and powerful feeling for these 8- to 13-year-old students to be able to ask good questions about health and safety and to communicate the answers to their peers,”said Marian Uhlman, director of Healthy NewsWorks.

Here is the complete list of 2014 health leaders selected from nominations received:

  • Patricia DeRusso, M.D., associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and vice president of medical staff affairs and director of the Healthy Weight Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
  • James Ellis, senior aquatics director at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Philadelphia. Previously he founded and built the PDR swim team, recognized as one of the nation’s best predominantly African American swim teams, at the Marcus Foster Recreation Center in Philadelphia. His story was the subject of the 2007 feature film, “Pride.”
  • Arthur C. Evans Jr., Ph.D., commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. In 2013 Dr. Evans received the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service from the American Medical Association in recognition of his leadership in transforming the Philadelphia behavioral health system.
  • Amy Goldberg, M.D., and Scott Charles, creators of Temple University Hospital’s Cradle to Grave program to educate at-risk youth about the perils of gun violence. Dr. Goldberg is a professor of surgery, medical director of the trauma program, and program director of the general surgery residency at Temple University School of Medicine. Mr. Charles is the trauma outreach coordinator for Temple University Hospital.
  • Juan Guerra, executive director of ACLAMO Family Centers based in Norristown. The organization provides improved access to educational, economic, health, social, and cultural opportunities for low-income individuals and families in Montgomery County.
  • Raina Merchant, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director of Penn’s Social Media and Health Innovation Lab. In her research, Dr. Merchant focuses on the bridges that connect innovation, social media, public health, and resuscitation science.
  • Michelle Angela Ortiz, visual artist, muralist, and community arts educator who uses her art as a vehicle to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. Ms. Ortiz has designed and created over 30 large-scale public works nationally and internationally.
  • Hernando Perez, Ph.D., associate professor of public health in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Drexel University School of Public Health and director of the school’s industrial hygiene consulting service. Dr. Perez has worked closely with the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health on their federally funded Healthy Homes Demonstration Projects.
  • James Reif, lieutenant in the Upper Darby Police Department and coordinator of Upper Darby Township’s Safe Schools Program. Lt. Reif founded the department’s mountain bike unit and was instrumental in starting the Police Department’s 5th Grade Mentoring Program to encourage open communications between police and young people in the community.
  • Darren and Phyllis Sudman, founders of Simon’s Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to screening children for undetected heart conditions and increasing awareness about sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Carolyn Tassini, D.P.T., physical therapy team leader of the Drucker Brain Injury Center at MossRehab, part of Einstein Healthcare Network. Dr. Tassini works with Seamus, a fully trained and certified service dog for MossRehab’s canine-assisted therapy program.
  • Marc Vetri, Italian foods chef and founder of five critically acclaimed Philadelphia restaurants. Mr. Vetri is also the co-founder of the Vetri Foundation for Children, which seeks to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living.

Healthy NewsWorks will celebrate the students’ work with a book-signing event on Tuesday, May 20, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Merion Tribute House in Merion Station, Pa.

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.