Tisa Hill, Cornell University

With backgrounds in Women’s Studies, Public Health, and community engagement, my research and programmatic interests focus on strengthening the health and wellbeing of families and communities.  Currently, I coordinate the Collaboration for Health, Activity, and Nutrition in Children’s Environments (CHANCE) and Adopting Healthy Habits (AHH), two Cornell Cooperative Extension projects serving low-income families and their communities in New York State.  CHANCE promotes healthy eating and active play among children aged 3-11 years by working with parents and other adults who influence children and shape the environments where children live, learn, and play. During these early years, parents and care-givers are especially important role models and lifelong habits are developed. Healthy diets and physical fitness are linked to better social and physical development and improved health throughout life. To “give kids a CHANCE” to reap the benefits of healthy lifestyles, we’re developing and testing innovative ways to prevent childhood overweight by targeting key behaviors and environmental factors. CHANCE uses a two-part approach: supporting families’ efforts to eat well and be active, and collaborating with communities to promote healthy changes in children’s environments.  Our new initiative, Adopting Healthy Habits (AHH) helps local groups, community leaders and organizations create policies, practices and environments to make healthy lifestyles the easy choice for people in three northern New York counties. Through CHANCE and AHH we conduct research to support staff development, community collaboration, and social media outreach to support the prevention of childhood obesity.  While our focus is on local income families, our approach engages whole communities in change strategies.