Pittsburgh, Pa.—Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is pleased to announce the hire of Mary Kathryn Poole as director of programming and operations for Let’s Move Pittsburgh — a collaborative of organizations, parents and caregivers working to improve the health of children in southwestern Pennsylvania. Providing leadership for group initiatives, Poole will build and maintain engagement through regional symposia, as well as organize public events to provide families with the resources they need to eat more nutritiously, get active and reduce screen time.
Mary Kathryn Poole comes to Phipps with a master of public health degree with a focus on community health sciences, as well as several years of experience in areas related to improving children’s health. For the last year, she has been managing public health policy research and advocacy at the Tulane Prevention Research Center in Louisiana, identifying state-level strategies to decrease rates of obesity. Her dedication to the field has resulted in the passing of nine bills during the 2014 state legislative session to improve health and wellness efforts in Louisiana.
Prior to her time at Tulane, Poole worked with a citywide obesity prevention partnership, Fit NOLA, developing a worksite wellness program and toolkit to promote health and wellness in local businesses. Her experience in working to curb the effects of childhood obesity also includes efforts within high schools to educate students and staff on nutrition and fitness. As a coordinator for HealthCorps, she successfully introduced healthier eating options for students, planted an organic garden on school grounds, and established a committee to coordinate wellness challenges and community outreach programs.
“Mary Kathryn brings a wealth of experience to Phipps and we are excited to welcome her to our team,” says Phipps Executive Director Richard V. Piacentini. “Ours is a critical movement with a big goal to make our region one of the healthiest places in the nation for children to live, and we are already aiming to take our efforts to new heights with her leadership. We look forward to making a big impact in 2015.”
“I am thrilled to be a part of such a dynamic initiative that aims to build healthy environments in schools and communities,” adds Poole. “Through our efforts to increase physical activity and healthy eating, we can help Pittsburgh youth and their families lead long and healthy lives.”
Launched in 2010 to provide local solutions to the national problem of childhood obesity, Let’s Move Pittsburgh is modeled after First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. To learn more about the initiative and the program’s new Green Light Foods mobile app, a tool created to help busy families make healthier food choices at the grocery store, visit www.letsmovepittsburgh.
About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Learn more: phipps.conservatory.org.