About Us

Board of Directors

Woodie Kessel, MD, MPH

Vice President
BJ Carter, MS

Laura Pensiero, RD

Treasurer                          Carolynn Lucca     

Angelica Cantlon 
Susan L.Hirschman,CFA,CPA,CFP 

Thom Gatewood

Richard M. Lipkin, MBA

Advisory Board

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

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

Heidi Arthur
The Advertising Council, Inc.

Amanda Birnbaum, MPH, PhD
Montclair State University

Sharon Bush
Director of Public Relations/Fund Raising at Cristo Rey 

Hon. IleneZatkin-Butler,Esq
Bulter Ventures, LLC

Angelica Cantlon
President, Board of Directors SHARE

Thom Gatewood
Former Member NY Giants
President, Blue Atlas Productions

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

Keith Hernandez
Former Member of New York Mets

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

Mission Statement: Recognizing the importance of addressing overweight and obesity and lack of physical activity in children and its subsequent consequences - diabetes, heart disease and cancer, HCHF creates replicable programs for children, parents, and grandparents to engage in healthy eating, physical activity, motor skill development, and social and emotional growth 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 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 and social 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. HCHF partnered 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  copyrights for the parent programs were assigned to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  The program is now available to RDs and to parents 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 was immplemented in four cities – Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and NYC. The program was last implemented in  Baltimore at the Sinai Medical Center  Department of Pediatrics.

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 papers that identify positive program outcomes for children are published in a peer-review journal. 

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. 

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.
Increasing Physical Activity in Preschool: A Pilot Study to Evaluate Animal Trackers (2009)
Christine L. Williams MD, MPH; Betty Jean Carter, MS; Debra L. Kibbe, MS; David Dennison, MS
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 40(1): 47-51.
Past and/or Current Collaborators:
  • After-School-All Stars
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic
  • 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
  • Shaping America’s Youth
  • Race with Purpose
  • Action for Healthy Kids
  • Sinai Medical Center (Baltimore)
  • Montclair University (NJ)
  • University of Maryland
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Generations United (DC)
  • National Center for Creative Aging (DC)



 Healthy Children Healthy Futures (HCHF)