Eat Smart, Move More, NC Award Winners

Hall of Fame

Dr. Alice Ammerman, DrPH

Dr. Alice Ammerman, the Mildred Kaufman Distinguished Professor in the Department of Nutrition at University of North Carolina, and the Director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

After earning her first degree from Duke University in African Studies and Anthropology, Dr. Ammerman then traveled to Chapel Hill to complete her graduate work at the University of North Carolina, earning her Masters and Doctorate in Public Health.

Her work in design, testing, implementation and dissemination of innovative clinical and community-based nutrition and physical activity interventions for chronic disease risk reduction in low income and minority populations made her an integral part of the leadership team that became the Eat Smart Move More movement.

As Director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP), part of a national network of 26 CDC prevention research centers (PRCs) that work with community partners to identify public health problems to develop and evaluate prevention-focused public health interventions for wide dissemination, particularly in underserved communities. Dr. Ammerman and colleagues have developed and are testing the “Med-South” diet which is the Mediterranean diet adapted to agricultural availability and taste preferences in the Southeastern US.

Her research addresses the role of sustainable food systems in health, the environment, and economic well-being, emphasizing the social determinants of health, particularly food access and food insecurity. Dr. Ammerman teaches courses in Nutrition Policy and Public Health Entrepreneurship. She has a developing interest in Culinary Medicine to improve medical training programs and uses social entrepreneurship as a sustainable approach to addressing public health concerns.

In 2020, Dr. Ammerman was recognized as a Food Hero for her work in food system resiliency during the COVID-19 Pandemic. During that time she also secured funding to support primary care clinics with vaccine outreach in targeted communities with low vaccination rates to increase the likelihood that patients would receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Hall of Fame

Dr. Carolyn Dunn PhD, RDN, LDN

Carolyn is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emerita in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences at NC State University. She served as department head for Agricultural and Human Sciences from 2013-2021. She is the past chair of Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina.

She has 30+ years of experience in nutrition education and develops nutrition education materials that are used across the country to help people eat smart and move more. As part of the “Dynamic Dozen” who wrote the initial 125-page North Carolina Blueprint for Changing Policies and Environments in Support of Healthy Eating, the Eat Smart Move More initiative was launched. She has been integral in the writing of updated plans with easy-to-use infographics that focus on eight Core Behaviors and a systemic approach.

Carolyn is the author/developer for numerous programs and tools that address healthy eating and physical activity. She is the lead author of the award-winning Color Me Healthy, a curriculum that helps young children eat smart and move more. She and colleagues created Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less, a 15-week evidence-based weight management program that is being used across the country in both in-person and online formats and Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes that is being delivered across North Carolina and in several other states using distance technology. Dunn and her team currently have a $5M grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to deliver diabetes prevention education across the state.

Carolyn is a Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist and enjoys cooking up a healthy meal. Her vision led to the construction of the Dinah E. Gore Teaching and Research Kitchens where Extension Agents, EFNEP Educators, and Extension Master Food Volunteers are trained in proper cooking skills and food safety.

Hall of Fame

Dr. Kathy Kolasa, PhD, RDN, LDN

Kathryn M. Kolasa, is Professor Emeritus and Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Family Medicine; Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and Vidant Health, Nutrition Initiative Consultant.

She served as Chair of the Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management Department at East Carolina University from 1983-86. She was awarded a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship in 1986. She has worked internationally in more than 20 countries. She has served as a consultant to universities, government and non-profit agencies, trade associations and the food and pharmaceutical industries and grant reviewer.

She then joined the Department of Family Medicine and has held a joint appointment in the Department of Pediatrics from 2003-2013.

In 2003 she began serving as a consultant to the Nutrition Initiative of the University Health Systems (now Vidant Health). In 2004, she was appointed to "FIT FAMILIES NC, A Study Committee for Childhood Overweight/Obesity". She provided leadership for the development and implementation of the Pitt County "Achieving Healthy Weight in Children Medical Nutrition Therapy Protocol" adopted by pediatric practices throughout the country.

Dr. Kolasa directed the Food Literacy Partners, a program that trains volunteers to provide nutrition education in the community setting including health fairs, schools, food stamp offices and free-clinics and shelters from 1998-2008.

It is no wonder that she was tapped for a leadership role in the preparation of the North Carolina Blueprint for Changing Policies and Environments in Support of Healthy Eating and was a member of the writing team for the NC plans to combat Obesity. Her commitment to health and wellness is evident in her body of work.

Dr. Kolasa has authored over 225 publications, a textbook, book chapters, curriculum guides, bulletins and training manuals, videotapes and CD-ROMS. She has created educational websites and delivered more than 380 professional presentations including webinars. She enjoys presenting nutrition programs to consumer groups. She has been writing a weekly nutrition column for the Daily Reflector, Greenville, NC since 1986.

In 2010 she was recognized by North Carolina Prevention Partners for career achievement in prevention and she received the American Dietetic Association Medallion Award in recognition of outstanding service and leadership to the dietetics profession. In 2017 she was elected as a Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition for a distinguished career in nutrition.

She continues the good work she had done promoting nutrition education for medical students and primary care residents at ECU over 40 years by establishing a planned gift. Kathy and her husband saw a need for scholarships so students could participate in summer nutrition programs. The Kathryn M. Kolasa and Patrick N. Kelly Endowment Fund fulfills that purpose, supporting nutrition learning opportunities for medical students and residents.

Hall of Fame

Cathy Thomas, MAEd, CHES

Cathy retired from Community and Clinical Connections for Prevention and Health, NC Division of Public Health, NC Department of Health and Human Services. For a number of years, her team coordinated the Eat Smart Move More movement in North Carolina, ensuring that the blueprint came to life.

Cathy’s professional life began in Green and Wilson Counties with the Health Departments as a Health Educator. She then became a School Health Education coordinator in Nash County, and then served as a Curriculum Instruction Specialist and Assistant Principal at the Camp Lejeune Dependent Schools.

This foundation of public health and education, pair with degrees from East Carolina University launched her into her roles at the NC Division of Public Health where she served for more than 20 years. Her name can be found on many publications, curricula, presentations, and studies that focus on physical activity, behavior change and strategies to manage weight through education and policy, systems and environmental supports.

Through her leadership, North Carolina has received over $68 million in grant funding to support this work! Many in this room have been a part of those grants over the years include Active Routes to School, Community Transformation Grants, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, Color Me Healthy, and numerous workplace wellness initiatives.

Champion Team Award

Pitt County Eat Smart Move More Team (ESMM Team)

Champion Award

Hayley Cowell, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Stanly County Center, North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Student Team Award

Pitt County Schools Early College High School Girls Who Code

Innovator Award

Marlana Baker, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent and Local Foods Coordinator, Cherokee County Center, North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Innovator Team Award

Pediatric Obesity Clinical Tools Core Team