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Tipping the Scales for Children

Featured Speakers

Dan Buettner

Dan Buettner

Bestselling Author of "Blue Zones"

Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow and multiple New York Times bestselling author.  He has discovered, through multiple expeditions with teams of research scientists specializing in population studies, the five places in the world – dubbed Blue Zones – where people live the longest, and are healthiest and happiest. His New York Times Sunday Magazine article about these places, “The Island Where People Forget to Die,” was one of the Times’ most popular, as was hisNational Geographic cover story on longevity, “The Secrets of Living Longer”.  

A chord was struck, and thus subsequent books and a company which seeks to share the distilled wisdom of Blue Zones cultures with American cities and corporations were born. Blue Zones, LLC, puts the world’s best practices of longevity and wellbeing to work in people’s lives at the community level.  Buettner works in partnership with Healthways, municipal governments, and various insurance companies to implement the program in more than 20 cities so far, and has dramatically improved the health of more than 5 million Americans to date.  Their strategy focuses on optimizing the local environment – walkability for citizens and kids, availability of healthy food options, social connectivity, pursuit of life purpose, and ongoing coaching and support for creating homes which effortlessly bring forth wellness and happiness.

Voted a top 50 Influencer in Aging by PBS, Dan also holds three Guinness Book of world records in distance cycling (and is possibly the only person to have cycled through the Sahara desert without sunscreen!) and has won an Emmy Award for television production. He resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is particularly proud to be the father of three (nearly) grown children.

Ken Cooper

Kenneth H. Cooper

Founder of the Cooper Institute

At age 84 and having logged more than 38,000 miles running, Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, sets an example for maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising at Cooper Aerobics Center on a regular basis, along with his wife, Millie, daughter, Berkley, son, Tyler, and their families. Dr. Cooper serves as Chairman of seven health and wellness companies and The Cooper Institute 501(c)(3).

For 45 years, Dr. Cooper has inspired millions to exercise for good health beginning with the release of his first best-seller, Aerobics. Today Dr. Cooper is revolutionizing health and fitness again—calling on America and the world to Get Cooperized™. As a leading pioneer of preventive medicine, Dr. Cooper challenges everyone to follow these “8 Healthy Steps” to live better both sooner and later: maintain a healthy weight; make healthy food choices most of the time; exercise most days of the week; take the right supplements for you; stop smoking; control alcohol; manage stress; and get a regular, comprehensive physical exam.

A grandfather of five, Dr. Cooper is passionately involved in the fight against childhood obesity. In Texas, Dr. Cooper was instrumental in getting physical education back in schools through the passage of Senate Bill 530 that requires enhanced PE activity levels and annual physical fitness testing using FITNESSGRAM®. Since then, The Cooper Institute has partnered with NFL to bring FITNESSGRAM to more than 1,000 schools nationwide. Reaching across the globe, The Cooper Institute partnered with the Hungarian School Sport Federation to establish a national youth fitness assessment in Hungary. In 2015, the new fitness test will be administered to approximately 934,000 children in Hungary.

During his 13 years of service in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, Dr. Cooper served as a flight surgeon and director of the Aerospace Medical Laboratory. He developed the 12-minute and 1.5-mile fitness tests and the Aerobics Point System, used today by branches of the military, schools and organizations worldwide.

In 1970 Dr. Cooper resigned from the military and founded Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas with the mission to explore the relationship between cardiovascular fitness and health and longevity. With the popularity of Aerobics, which has been translated into 41 languages and Braille, he also coined ‘aerobics’ and submitted the official definition to the Oxford English Dictionary. Dr. Cooper has authored 18 additional books, which combined have sold more than 30 million copies.

Gordon Echtenkamp

President and CEO, YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas

Gordon Echtenkamp has been the President/CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas since January 2002. A native of the Midwest, Echtenkamp grew up in Fremont, Nebraska. He spent hundreds of hours in the Fremont YMCA as a Gra-Y kid and finally as a youth club leader while in high school. His professional career began at the Kansas City YMCA in 1976, where he worked for seven years before moving to positions with YMCAs in Memphis, Houston, Phoenix and Des Moines before returning to Texas in 2002.

He is a proud alumnus of Leadership Dallas Class of 2003, served as chair of the Character Coalition of North Texas, Chair of the Texas Alliance of YMCAs, served on the 2003 United Way Campaign Cabinet and on several professional boards including AYP (the Association of YMCA Directors) and the National YMCA Benefits Plan.

Gordie is a recovering runner and a driving-range golfer. He and his wife Kassie, a teacher at Parish Episcopal School, have two sons.

FraserWilliam M. Fraser III

Former Commander, U.S. Transportation Command

Will Fraser is a proven strategic leader, administrator, and communicator. He is a highly decorated retired General of the United States Air Force and landed at the pinnacle of the United States Military as one of nine Combatant Commanders. During 40 years of service, he held a variety of demanding command and staff positions.  He has led large-scale, diverse, global organizations where he earned a reputation as a motivational leader, strategic thinker and change agent who delivered solutions to the most complex challenges.

As Commander, United States Transportation Command—a Unified, Combatant Command—he answered directly to the President of the United States and Secretary of Defense and served as the single manager responsible for global air, land, and maritime transport for the Department of Defense.  He led the most comprehensive and collaborative strategic planning effort in the command’s 25 year history.  His diplomatic skill fostered new international partnerships and strengthened others enhancing the nation’s unparalleled ability to rapidly project influence, anywhere at anytime.  He led over 130,000 personnel and annually executed over $12 billion of business.

As Commander, Air Combat Command, the largest major command in the Air Force, he was responsible for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat ready forces while ensuring strategic air defense forces were ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense.  The command consisted of over 130,000 personnel who operated over 2000 aircraft at more than 300 locations worldwide. 

As Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, he presided over the Air Staff and served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group. He led the organization, training and equipping of over 690,000 people serving in the United States Air Force and provided oversight of a $120 billion annual budget.

As Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he represented the Chairman or Vice Chairman in the White House, traveled internationally as an advisor to the Secretary of State and served as the Middle East Peace Process Roadmap Monitor.  During his tenure he streamlined the coordination process and increased collaboration between the Department of Defense and Department of State to obtain time-sensitive policy decisions and to meet US strategic objectives.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of Northern Colorado.  Additionally, he completed the National Security Leadership Course National Security Studies at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, the Executive Development Program Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, the Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard University, the Senior Intelligence Fellows Program and Leadership at the Peak Center for Creative Leadership Colorado Springs.

He is currently serving on the Texas A&M University (TAMU) President’s Board of Visitors, TAMU Galveston Board of Visitors, TAMU Corps of Cadets Association Board of Directors, and TAMU Association of Former Students Leadership Council.  He is a member of the Advisory Boards of Uber Military, aVolt Incorporated, Knight Aerospace Medical Systems, a member of the Gordian Institute, a Senior Fellow for National Defense University, a consultant for Northrop Grumman, MV Transportation, and a Senior Advisor for the Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Doug Hawthorne

Doug Hawthorne

Founding CEO Emeritus, Texas Health Resources

Douglas D. Hawthorne, FACHE, is the chief executive officer of Texas Health Resources. At the helm of Texas Health, Hawthorne oversees the health system with 24 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. The health system includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, a large physician group, outpatient facilities, and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education.

Hawthorne was born in Orange, N.J., in 1947, and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree and his Master's degree in Health Care Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio. He served Presbyterian Healthcare Resources in many roles since his graduation in 1971.

Under Hawthorne's leadership, Texas Health and its member organizations have received numerous awards. Four hospitals within Texas Health have been named among the Top 100 Hospitals in America nationally, regionally or for clinical excellence. The Greater Dallas Community Relations Commission and Dallas Together Forum have honored Texas Health for its commitment to diversity. In 1995 and 1998, the American Hospital Association presented Texas Health with its coveted NOVA Award for outstanding community service.

In addition to helping lead the formation of Texas Health, Hawthorne's other notable career achievements include six mentions in seven years (2003-2009) in Modern Healthcare magazine's list of 100 Most Powerful People in Health Care, receiving the Modern Healthcare CEO IT award in 2008, receiving the Diversity Ambassador of the Year Award from the American Red Cross Chisholm Trail Chapter, receiving the Texas Hospital Association Trustee Award in 2004, receiving the American College of Healthcare Executives 2002 Gold Medal Award, serving as chairman of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council and the Texas Hospital Association, the Earl M. Collier Award for Distinguished Hospital Administration in 1994 from the Texas Hospital Association and receiving the Boone Powell Sr. Award of Excellence for distinguished hospital administration by the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council in 1996.

Hawthorne is currently serving as the chair of the Health Leadership Council Executive Task Force on the Uninsured as well as a member of the American Hospital Association's President's Forum. He is a past chairman of the board of Premier, an alliance of not-for-profit hospitals and healthcare systems. He also served as chairman of North Texas LEAD (Leaders and Executives Advocating Diversity) Initiative and currently serves on the board of LHP Hospital Group, Inc. He was formerly on the board and executive committee of the American Hospital Association. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Michelle Kinder

Michelle Kinder

Executive Director of Momentous Institute

Michelle Kinder is the Executive Director of Momentous Institute in Dallas, TX. She has worked in the field of children’s mental health for the last 18 years. She graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts and the University of Texas with a Master’s in Educational Psychology.

Momentous Institute is a large nonprofit with a 90 year history of building and repairing social emotional health with children and their families so they can achieve their full potential. 7,000 people are served directly each year through comprehensive therapeutic services as well as through a state-of-the-art laboratory school for children growing up in poverty. Momentous Institute is committed to research and training for thousands of professionals each year.

Michelle developed a family strengthening program, Fortaleza en la Familia (Strong Families), which has been used to provide culturally grounded parent education to thousands of families. She is often asked to speak to diverse groups about what children need to succeed, mindful parenting, social emotional health, effective parent engagement, the effect of trauma and violence on children, and the intersection of mental health and education.

Michelle grew up in Guatemala and is fluent in Spanish. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, Patrick, and their two daughters, Maya and Sophia. 

Rita KirkRita Kirk

Director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, SMU

Rita Kirk holds the rank of Professor at SMU and is both an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor and a Meadows Distinguished Professor. Kirk has been awarded both the prestigious “M” Award and the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award by the SMU student body. As an academic, she is recognized for her analysis of political and persuasive campaigns. She is the author of several award-winning books and numerous articles, including Political Empiricism: Communications Strategies in State and Regional Elections; Hate Speech, a book analyzing implications for hate discourse in public communication, with coeditor David Slayden; and Soundbite Culture: The Death of Discourse in a Wired World. Specializing in communication strategy, she has more than 30 years of experience as a strategist for city council, mayoral, state, U.S. Representative, and gubernatorial races.

In addition to her political consulting, she has served as a communication consultant to several national and multinational corporations on public policy matters. Kirk and research colleague Dan Schill conducted dial tests for CNN and ABC-Hearst/Argyll during the 2008 Presidential primary and general elections debates and continue to work with them during Presidential State of the Union addresses. Kirk holds a bachelor's degree in Communication/Political Science and a master's degree in communications, both from the University of Arkansas. She received her Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Missouri.

Margaret Lopez

Executive Director, Food and Nutrition Services, Dallas ISD

Bio coming soon.

Nancy Cain Marcus

Dallas Philanthropist and Civic Leader

Nancy Cain Marcus, a native of Dallas, is a civic leader who is active in city, state, national and international affairs. Recipient of a Presidential appointment to the United Nations with the rank of ambassador, Nancy served as a Public Delegate to the 56th Session of the General Assembly in 2001. Marcus has also received three gubernatorial appointments, one to the State of Texas Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities and two to the Board of Directors of Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

With a doctorate from the Institute of Philosophic Studies, University of Dallas, Nancy Cain Marcus has taught at the University as an adjunct professor of Literature, at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture’s Summer Teachers Academy, and most recently in the Masters of Liberal Studies program at Southern Methodist University.

Nancy served nine years as a trustee on the executive committee of the University of Dallas and also as a trustee of The Hockaday School, as well as for Southern Methodist University’s Board of Libraries, Tate Lecture Series and the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, and also two terms each on the Boards of Visitors at both Columbia and Duke Universities. Having been a member of the advisory council at the Council on Foreign Relations, Nancy continues to serve on the boards of the Human Freedom Council at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU campus and SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics. Nancy also currently serves on the boards of North Texas Broadcasting/KERA, The Trinity Trust, and the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, where she is a Life Trustee.    

Nancy has traveled extensively, participating in official delegations to South Africa on behalf of the City of Dallas, Tunisia at the invitation of the World Affairs Council, and Jordan with Bridges of Understanding, a Washington, D.C. organization dedicated to fostering peace in the Middle East.  Having studied in Greece, Italy, France, India and China, Nancy Cain Marcus has also broadened her cultural, political and economic understanding through travel to Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia, Central and South America and the Middle East. 

Cheryl McCarver

Vice President and Executive Director, Health and Wellness Alliance for Children, Children's Health

Cheryl McCarver is the Vice President and Executive Director of The Health and Wellness Alliance for Children (The Alliance). The Alliance, established by Children’s Health System of Texas, has more than 100 powerful and influential partner organizations and is committed to evidenced-based, community-led, and sustainable social change for our children in Dallas and Collin County. Cheryl is a passionate, fully committed community thought-leader who is commonly heard saying, “It’s all about the kids.” 

A tireless servant-leader, Cheryl is uniquely gifted at building consensus and encouraging diverse voices to solve complex issues impacting our children. She is leading the cross-sector Alliance work towards solutions for the two most pressing problems facing children in the Dallas area today: asthma and obesity. Each of the initiatives has its own community–driven Steering Committee and Work Groups focused on innovative approaches to transform the health and well-being of children. Two examples of the innovative work unfolding in Dallas County are the Healthy Corner Store project that pairs corner stores with corporate partners who are committed to improving families’ access to healthy food in South Dallas neighborhoods and the “My Asthma Pal” App for families and teens 13 to 17 years old to assist them in managing their asthma as well as providing asthma resources at their fingertips. 

In Collin County, the Alliance work is unfolding and efforts are underway to work with community leaders and local families to identify and co-create strategies that improve the health and well-being of children and families in Collin County. They are exploring ways to better understand the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of the growing number of families and children impacted by a range of personal, social, economic and environmental factors often beyond their control. 

Before joining the Alliance, Cheryl spent 19 years with the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas in progressive leadership roles, starting as a group exercise instructor and working her way up to vice president for Community Health and Wellbeing. She offers significant expertise in non-profit management, leadership, program development and community outreach. She created and led the strategy and implementation of many community wellness programs sponsored by the YMCA, including Diabetes Prevention, Childhood Obesity, Salsa, Sabor Y Salud, and weight management for kids and families in partnership with Children’s Medical Center. 

Cheryl is a graduate of Hickey Business College and the proud mother of seven children and eleven grandchildren.

Mike MinorMichael O. Minor

Undersheperd, Oak Hill Baptist Church

Dr. Michael O. Minor is a local, regional, and national champion of faith-based health and wellness mobilization. He is best known as the “Southern pastor who banned fried chicken in his church.” As a community organizer for over 20 years, Dr. Minor has worked on community empowerment, non- profit business development, and faith community issues. He currently serves as the undershepherd of the Oak Hill Baptist Church in Hernando, Mississippi, president of the Mid-South Churches Cooperative Conference State Convention, co-chair of the National Faith-Based Mobilization Network (Faith MoNet), and the National Director of the H.O.P.E. Health and Human Services Partnership of the National Baptist Convention, USA, (NBCUSA) Incorporated – the nation’s largest African American religious denomination.

A national voice for the promotion of faith and health, Dr. Minor has generated extensive international multi-media coverage including the New York Times, Reuters News Service, Buenos Aires Herald, German Public TV ARD, NPR’s Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More, Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Southern Remedy TV Broadcast, ABC-TV, NBC News, and Fox News. In February 2012, he was featured in Guideposts Magazine. Cooking Light Magazine selected Dr. Minor as one of 20 national food heroes in its November 2012 issue. In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now (2015) listed Dr. Minor as one of America’s new generation of civil rights leaders in the area of health equity. 

Dr. Minor has honed his efforts through his nearly 20 years’ as the director of education and training for the Rising Sun Usher Federation/H.O.P.E. Ministry editing a comprehensive congregational usher and health and wellness ministries guide centered around the concept of wholeness. Championing the initiation and networking of health and wellness ministries in houses of worship across the country, Dr. Minor vigorously promotes the use of trained health ambassadors to lead these ministries. These efforts have expanded nationally including his work with the NBCUSA, Faith MoNet, and tri-regional faith and community health summits in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

Evidence of the success of his mobilization efforts have come through his work with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative. During the First Lady’s visit to Mississippi in February 2010, Dr. Minor participated in the launch of this effort. Dr. Minor has received White House invitations to attend several events celebrating the success of Let’s Move! including the December 2011 national convening, the second year anniversary celebration in Orlando in February 2012, and the third year anniversary in March 2013 in Washington, DC. Since 2013, HHS awarded his church and state-wide collaborative nearly $2.3 million in Affordable Care Act Navigator Grant funding, one of only two awards for the State of Mississippi. 

After receiving his undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard University, Dr. Minor earned masters’ degrees in business administration and real estate development and a doctorate degree in higher and adult education from the University of Memphis. 

MontoyaRegina Montoya

Chair of the Dallas Mayor's Task Force on Poverty

Bio coming soon.








Shellie PfohlShellie Pfohl

Executive Director, President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

Shellie Pfohl was appointed by President Barack Obama in February 2010 to serve as Executive Director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN). The Council is charged with educating, engaging and empowering Americans of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to live a more active, healthy lifestyle.

As Executive Director, Shellie is responsible for developing the vision, strategy and goals of the Council in consultation with its members, and directing the organization’s daily operations. In addition, Ms. Pfohl leads the Council’s efforts to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s national Let’s Move! initiative to solve the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation.

Prior to joining the Council, Shellie served as Senior Vice President of Partnerships for HOPSports, Inc., a fitness technology company, where she created strategic partnerships with state, national and international organizations and corporations seeking health and physical education resources for schools and community organizations.

Ms. Pfohl also co-founded and served as Executive Director of Be Active North Carolina, a non-profit organization that worked statewide to increase physical activity among North Carolina citizens. While there, she led the implementation of Be Active Kids, a preschool physical activity and nutrition program implemented in over 7,000 childcare centers across North Carolina. She also oversaw the training of more than 40,000 classroom teachers on the implementation of the Healthy Active Children Policy to incorporate physical activity into classroom settings throughout the state. In 2007, Be Active North Carolina was named the best physical activity organization in the nation by the National Association for Health & Fitness (NAHF).

Shellie was a founding director of Be Active America, a national non-profit advocacy organization. She served as executive director of the North Carolina Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health from 1990 to 1998, and was head of the Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. She was also Assistant Director of the National Association of Governor’s Councils on Physical Fitness and Sports for three years (1986-1988) and planned and implemented the first International Conference on Physical Fitness and Nutrition.

In 2007, Ms. Pfohl received the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Community Leadership Award for her exemplary service to North Carolina and the nation. She was a member of the board of the NAHF and was appointed by the Governor of North Carolina to the Governor’s Task Force for Healthy Carolinians and the Fit Families NC Study Committee on Childhood Obesity. She served on the executive committee of the NC Alliance for Health and has also served on the board of North Carolina Rail-Trails.

Mike Rawlings

Mike Rawlings

Mayor of the City of Dallas

Mike Rawlings came to Dallas in 1976 with a couple hundred dollars in his pocket and plans to work as a radio reporter. He didn't think he'd stay long. But over the next four decades, Rawlings proved that Dallas is truly a city of opportunity. 

The Borger, Texas, native worked his way up from an entry-level position at TracyLocke, then the largest advertising agency in the South, to become the CEO. Later, he took the helm of the world's largest pizza company, Pizza Hut, and grew it to record sales. Rawlings then served as chairman and managing partner of private equity firm CIC Partners, where he is currently the vice chairman. He provides business counsel and capital, helping to grow small and mid-sized businesses in Dallas and across the country. Public service has long been important to the 1976 Boston College graduate. He previously served as chair of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, the city's homeless czar and park board president and he currently sits on the Jesuit College Preparatory Board of Trustees.  

Rawlings decided in early 2011 to run for Dallas mayor on a platform that highlighted southern Dallas as the city's greatest untapped resource. Following his June 2011 election, he launched GrowSouth, his signature initiative to spur economic development south of the Trinity River. He's also fought to improve public education, combat poverty, revitalize Fair Park, develop the Trinity River corridor, elevate the city's international profile and turn our city into a top destination for artists all over the world. He's drawn headlines across the country for his bold campaign against domestic violence, Dallas Men Against Abuse. He has presided over the passage of $600 million in new city bonds to fund streets, flood protection and economic development initiatives and he led the City Council through the hiring process for a new city manager and city attorney.  

During Rawlings' time in office, Dallas has experienced impressive economic growth. Unemployment as of June 2015 had dropped to 4.1 percent, as compared to 5.5 percent one year earlier. Taxable sales continue to rise and property tax values increased in 2015 by 7.7 percent over the prior year. Rawlings was re-elected to a second four-year term in May 2015, beating his challenger in all but one of 14 City Council districts. He continues to put Dallas in the national spotlight, in part through his post as an executive committee member for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Rawlings and his wife, Micki, live in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of North Dallas. Their two children, Gunnar, an educator, and Michelle, an artist, also live in the city. 

PeterRobertsPeter W. Roberts

President of Population Health & Insurance Services, Children's Health

Peter Roberts has nearly 30 years of executive leadership experience in health insurance and health care delivery. Since joining Children’s in 2011, Peter has conceived, organized and led the company’s development of a pediatric value-based business model, including an HMO financing vehicle, a provider-led accountable care organization (ACO), clinically integrated networks of private physicians, adult health system affiliations, data and analytics core, and a comprehensive population health management support system.       

Peter led the conceptualization and development of The Health and Wellness Alliance for Children, a collective impact social change initiative comprised of more than 30 nonprofit, government and business organizations dedicated to improving the health of children in Dallas. He also led the establishment of adult health system affiliations with Children's Medical Center across the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.

Peter is responsible for all functions related to population health, managed care, ACO laws/regulations, UT Southwestern relations, the Children’s Research Institute, physician networks, physician corporations, external organization affiliations, physician relations and recruiting, primary care strategy, disease management and corporate planning.

Peter’s strengths include his passion for community-based change and improving the health of a population; a collaborative, participative and patient leadership style; and a strategic-thinking, high-energy, enthusiastic approach to building partnerships and teams across stakeholder groups; all with a focus on the measurement of outcomes and results.

His previous positions include Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa and South Dakota, where he served as Group Vice President, Provider Relations and Health Management, as well as the University of Michigan Medical Center, where he was President, M-CARE HMO, and Senior Associate Director of Managed Care System. He holds a Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of Colorado and a Master of Health Education from Worcester State College. 

Eduardo Sanchez

Chief Medical Officer for Prevention, American Heart Association
Steering Committee Co-Chair, Health and Wellness Alliance for Children

Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., serves as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Prevention for the American Heart Association. He served as Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the AHA from April 2013 through 2014. 

Prior to joining AHA, he served as Vice President and CMO for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX).   Dr. Sanchez led the Institute for Health Policy at the University of Texas (UT) School of Public Health as director from 2006 to 2008. From 2001 to 2006, he served as Texas’ state health officer, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services from 2004 to 2006 and the Texas Department of Health from 2001 to 2004. He served as the local public health officer in Austin-Travis County from 1994 to 1998. 

Dr. Sanchez currently serves as Chair of the National Commission on Prevention Priorities and the Texas Public Health Coalition. From 2008 to 2012, he served as chair of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  He serves on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Roundtable on Obesity Solutions and on the Board of Directors of Trust for America’s Health, AcademyHealth, the Public Health Institute, and the CATCH Global Foundation. 

Dr. Sanchez obtained his M.D. from the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, an M.P.H. from the UT Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, and an M.S. in biomedical engineering from Duke University. He holds a B.S. in biomedical engineering and a B.A. in chemistry from Boston University.

SorrellMichael Sorrell

President of Paul Quinn College

Michael J. Sorrell is the 34th President of Paul Quinn College. Under his leadership, the school has become one of the most innovative small colleges in America and is rapidly becoming a model for urban higher education by focusing on academic rigor, experiential learning, and entrepreneurship.

Michael received his J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and his Ed.D. at the University of Pennsylvania (where his dissertation defense was awarded “with Distinction”). While in law school, he was one of the founding members of the Journal of Gender Law & Policy and served as the Vice President of the Duke Bar Association. Michael was a recipient of the Sloan Foundation Graduate Fellowship, which funded his studies at both Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (as a graduate fellow) and Duke University. He graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Government. 

Among the entities on which President Sorrell serves as a trustee or director are Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, the College Board, the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania, Amegy Bank, Teach for America, the Dallas Regional Chamber, Earth Day Texas, the SMU Tate Distinguished Lecture Series and the SMU Department of Education Policy and Leadership for the Simmons School of Education at SMU.

The Washington Monthly recently named President Sorrell one of America’s 10 Most Innovative College Presidents. Additionally, he has been awarded the 2012 HBCU Male President of the Year by HBCU Digest, the Excellence in Education Distinguished Alumni Award from his high school, St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Illinois, the A. Kenneth Pye Award for Excellence in Education from the Alumni Association of Duke University’s School of Law, the Luminary Award from SMU, and the TRACS Leadership Award. The Dallas Historical Society has honored Sorrell for Excellence in Educational Administration and the NAACP, Heart House, the Dallas Furniture Bank, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dallas have also recognized him for his civic leadership. He is a past recipient of the Dallas Urban League’s Torch for Community Leadership and both the President’s and C.B. Bunkley Awards from J.L. Turner for his outstanding contributions to the Dallas legal community.

In 2002 the Dallas Business Journal named him one of Dallas’ Forty Under 40 and in 2011, the same periodical awarded him a Minority Business Leaders Award. Michael is also a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Anne Thomas

Executive Director, AVANCE

Anne Thomas has served as the Executive Director of AVANCE-Dallas since April 2012. As Executive Director, she establishes a strong fiscal base, casts the vision of the agency, and keeps the programs focused on the mission. 

A firm proponent of early childhood intervention, Anne guides the organization in advancing at-risk children through time-tested educational strategies, and her vibrant leadership style energizes the staff in transforming children’s lives. She brings to her position over a decade of experience in nonprofit operations at a number of organizations, including AVANCE-Dallas, Big Thought, the ChildCareGroup, and the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County. Anne often says she is not the star of AVANCE but only the moon reflecting the light of all of the wonderful staff and participants who are the true stars! Her past experience and her enthusiasm for the AVANCE-Dallas mission make her an effective champion for at-risk children in our city. 



                          Tipping the Scales