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Florida Department of Health
Program Coordinator, Healthiest Weight Florida
Catherine Howard is the Program Coordinator for the Healthiest Weight Florida initiative. Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, not for profit organizations, businesses, and entire communities to help Florida's children and adults make choices about healthy eating and active living.
Catherine began her work with the Department of Health in 2007 as a health educator in the Obesity Prevention Program. During this time she managed the statewide HOPE Project, which offered free on- and off-line bilingual personalized nutrition, fitness and health evaluations and programs. She staffed the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, and managed the development of the Governor’s Fitness Challenge for Florida’s elementary and middle schools. She continued to assist with the Council and Fitness Challenge activities as she moved into the new role of Deputy Director for the Governor’s Task Force on Autism Spectrum Disorders.
When the work of the Task Force concluded in 2010, Catherine transitioned back to the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention as a program specialist for the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. She planned, implemented, and evaluated several population-based interventions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. She served as a state advisor and consultant with the NIH/CDC National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP). She was the project director for Red Road to Health, a cultural adaptation of the NDEP diabetes prevention toolkit, for American Indian/Alaskan Native populations. These materials received national recognition and are promoted by the Indian Health Service Community Health Representative Program. She is also a master trainer for the Emory University Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center’s Diabetes Today: Planning for Coalition Action. She has been an invited speaker and presenter for numerous conferences, panels, and ceremonies.
Catherine received her doctorate in Public Health with a specialization in Epidemiology. Her researched focused on the social and economic predictors of pediatric metabolic syndrome. She has served as an adjunct faculty member for the Master’s Public Health Program & Department of Geography at the Florida State University where she teaches graduate and undergraduate Medical Geography. She is also active in her community, where she serves as a board member for Child Advocates II, which supports the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program by providing for the needs of abused and neglected children in Leon, Franklin, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson and Liberty Counties.
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