Communities all over the US are implementing projects that improve people’s ability to walk, bike, and get other types of physical activity. Researchers and nonprofit organizations have partnered in creative ways to advance this “active living” movement. This Web Forum will share lessons learned from partnerships between researchers and nonprofit groups to create healthier communities through policy and environmental change. The Web Forum will include different examples of such partnerships including ones in which nonprofit groups collaborated with researchers to spearhead active living initiatives, and ones where researchers evaluated a project’s effectiveness in promoting physical activity and other health impacts.

Researchers and staff from nonprofit programs will talk about strategies, tools, and resources that you can use to form and improve your own partnerships. 

Topics will include:

  • How to establish collaborations and partnerships between researchers and nonprofit groups to implement policy and environmental change and to evaluate “active living” projects;
  • How researchers and nonprofit groups can communicate more effectively;
  • Advice for how to speed up the research process; and
  • Tactics to improve translation and dissemination of project findings.


Ian Thomas, PhD

Executive Director , PedNet Coalition

Columbia, Missouri

Ian Thomas is the founding Executive Director of the PedNet Coalition of Columbia, MO, whose vision is a "healthy and active community." During twelve years in health policy advocacy, Ian has led efforts to build a local movement with more than 7,000 members, pass the first Complete Streets policy in…

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Stephen Sayers, PhD

Associate Professor

University of Missouri School of Health Professions

Columbia, Missouri

Dr. Sayers was trained as an exercise physiologist at the University of Massachusetts and joined the faculty of the University of Missouri in 2003. He is currently an associate professor and Director of Scholarly Activity in the Physical Therapy department in the School of Health Professions. His research program focuses…

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Noreen McDonald, PhD

Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Noreen McDonald is an associate professor in the city and regional planning department at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on travel behavior and addresses cross-cutting policy questions in the fields of planning, education, and public health around children's physical activity and the siting of…

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Renee Kuhlman

Director of Special Projects

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Washington, DC

Renee Kuhlman works for the National Trust for Historic Preservation helping states preserve their historic places. Between 2008-2012, Kuhlman directed the Helping Johnny Walk to School: Sustaining Communities through Smart Policy project which provided grants, technical assistance, and educational materials to encourage more community-centered schools. In 2010, the National Trust…

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