About Us

Board of Directors

Woodie Kessel, MD, MPH

Vice President
BJ Carter, MS

Laura Pensiero, RD

Carolynn Lucca

Angelica Cantlon

Thom Gatewood

Susan L. Hirshman, CFA, CPA, CFP

Richard M. Lipkin, MBA

Advisory Board

Former Chairperson
Matilda Raffa Cuomo
Former First Lady - NY State
Founder and Chairperson
Mentoring USA

Woodie Kessel, MD, MPH
Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS, (Ret)
Professor of the Practice, SPH, UMD

Dorothy Adams
Greater New Haven
Community Loan Fund,
Regional Youth-Adult Social Action Partnership

Heidi Arthur
The Advertising Council, Inc.

Amanda Birnbaum, MPH, PhD
Montclair State University

Sharon Bush
Teddy Share Bears

Hon. IleneZatkin-Butler,Esq
Bulter Ventures, LLC

Angelica Cantlon
International Flavors & Fragrances

Bruce Charash, MD

AlwynCohall, MD
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

Anna Maria Cugliari
Former Strategic Planner
Sesame Workshop

Thom Gatewood
Former Member NY Giants
President, Blue Atlas Productions

Stacy Curtin

Leslie Goldman
Former Director School Health Programs
New York Academy of Medicine

Freddi Greenberg
Former Editor, Nick Jr. Magazine

Keith Hernandez
Former Member of New York Mets

Susan L. Hirschman, CFA, CFP, CDFA
Morgan Stanley

Richard M. Lipkin, MBA
Department of Neuroscience
Columbia University

Gerald M. Loughlin, MD
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Joan Liebmann-Smith PhD
Medical Sociologist/Author

Michael P. Osborne, MD
Strang Cancer Prevention Institute

Paula Veale
The Advertising Council, Inc.

Diane Whitty
JP Morgan Chase

Christine L. Williams, MD, MPH
Healthy Start

Karen Wish
Children’s Health Marketing
Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian

Mission Statement: Recognizing the importance of addressing the overweight and obesity and lack of physical activity in children and its subsequent consequences - diabetes, heart disease and cancer, HCHF created replicable programs for children, parents, and grandparents to engage in healthy eating and physical activity with support from their peers, schools, families and communities.

History: Healthy Children Healthy Futures (HCHF) programs began in 2002 as part of Strang Cancer Prevention Center with MetLife Foundation support. In 2008, HCHF became a freestanding 501 c 3 non-profit organization - Healthy Directions (d/b/a Healthy Children Healthy Futures) to administer and advance the HCHF programs.


  • Children: The Children’s Program offers a process and forum to advocate healthy eating and increased physical activities primarily through afterschool programing and media messaging. The afterschool program also includes physical activity, mentoring, homework time, and cooking demonstrations. The messages by and for children, and in the format of print, radio spots and video messaging (cell phone, cameras and animation) are reviewed by peers and then disseminated through a variety of school and community –based networks. Successful HCHF child pilot programs were developed in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and NYC.
  • Parents: The Parent to Parent group mentoring program for healthy eating and physical activity helps parents become role models for healthy choices for their families and communities enabling a consistent link between home and school.  Exemplary healthy eating and physical activity program materials pilot tested with parents are ready for large scale dissemination (state and national). Currently HCHF is partnering with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with Registered Dieticians (RDs) as community and school facilitators in an evidence-based intervention in DC, Tennessee, Chicago and San Francisco. The program is on-going since 2010 and was completed in 2013. HCHF copyrights for the Parent programs were assigned to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  The program is now available to RDs around the country through KidsEatRight.org.
  • Grandparents: The Healthy Grand Families program engages grandparents as key healthy eating influencers in the lives of their grandchildren. Partnerships with the national organizations: American Academy of Pediatrics and Generations United to facilitate the grandparent initiative. Implemented in four cities – Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and NYC, the program is currently running in Baltimore at the Sinai Medical Center and its Department of Pediatrics.

Awards: Highest ratings on the Action for Healthy Kids website and a gold star from the Cooper Institute expert-panel evaluation for healthy eating and physical activity materials.

Board: Supported by an exemplary Advisory Board of visionary professionals from the public and private sectors. Founding board chair was Matilda Cuomo, former first lady of New York and CEO of Mentoring USA. Since 2010, the Board has been led by former Assistant Surgeon General USPHS for Child Health, Woodie Kessel MD, MPH.

Publications: HCHF paper that identifies positive program outcomes for children, published in a peer-review journal. HCHF papers to identify parent and grandparent positive outcomes in progress. 

Peer Reviewed Publications: 
Using Media Messaging to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Among Urban Youth. (2005)
Carter BJ, Birnbaum AS, Hark L, Vickery B, Potter C, Osborne MP 
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior; 37(2): 98-99.2005 

Download Article (PDF)

The RD Parent Empowerment Program Creates Measurable Change in the Behaviors of Low-Income Families and Children: An Intervention Description and Evaluation (2014)
Rosa K. Hand, MS, RDN, LD; Amanda S. Birnbaum, PhD, MPH; Betty Jean Carter, MS; Lisa Medrow, RDN, LD; Emily Stern, MS, RD; Katie Brown, EdD, RDN, LD
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Volume 114, Issue 12, Pages 1923–1931
Past and/or Current Collaborators:
  • After-School-All Stars
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Harlem Hospital Center,
  • CHALK (NY Presbyterian)
  • LA’s BEST
  • Mentoring USA
  • Cooperative for After-School Enrichment (Houston, Texas)
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • NYC Department of Education
  • Community Council of Dallas
  • Schools Out ( State of Washington after school initiative)
  • Southampton ( LI) School System
  • Weill Cornell Medical College Dept. of Pediatrics/Dept. of Medicine
  • Kids Gym USA-Atlanta
  • Eugene Lang Foundation/ I Have a Dream Foundation
  • TASC (The After School Corporation) NYC
  • Shaping America’s Youth
  • Race with Purpose
  • Action for Healthy Kids
  • Sinai Medical Center (Baltimore)
  • Montclair State University
  • University of Maryland
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Generations United
  • National Center for Creative Aging



 Healthy Children Healthy Futures (HCHF)