MOCAN Chair: Natalie Hampton
Natalie, MPH, is the acting director at the University of Missouri Health Communication Research Center and a transplant from Southeastern Missouri. She has a rich background in public policy, advocacy and public health. Natalie has supported state and national campaigns related to policy change, particularly with underserved populations in Iowa, Louisiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Oklahoma. As a community-based behavior change practitioner, Natalie has extensive experience in field testing campaign messages and working with community-driven media firms. She has also led initiatives to increase health care access through telehealth and mHealth and has facilitated student-driven advocacy work through photovoice methods. She has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Missouri and has taught in Ecuador and Spain.
The Steering Committee is comprised of two members from each of the Work Groups, and up to six at-large members as may be identified and elected by members of MOCAN. The Steering Committee should be prepared to support the decisions of the group. While action may not be required, the Steering Committee members will not deny or speak against decisions from this group. If there is a conflict by a member with any issue being discussed, he or she may excuse him/herself from voting on that issue.
The elected officers will serve as the executive committee between meetings. Elected offices of the Steering Committee include:
- Secretary/Treasurer, as needed
Roles and responsibilities
In addition to general membership roles and responsibilities, Steering Committee members:
- Serve on a two-year renewable term (rotating term).
- Submit a slate of Steering Committee members to the MOCAN membership at the business meeting for the coming year. Nominations will be allowed from the floor, and voting will be conducted by ballot.
- Approve major policy or funding issues brought forth by the membership.
- Approve the annual work plan and budget (as applicable).
- Approve or reject changes to the operating principles as recommended by the membership or Steering Committee.
- Elect Steering Committee officers: one Chairperson, one Vice-Chairperson, one Secretary/Treasurer.
- Recommend guidelines and governance for MOCAN.
- Review/recommend funding issues/decisions affecting MOCAN.
- Act on behalf of MOCAN between large group meetings. In situations where a decision is needed so quickly that a polling of the membership is not possible, the Steering Committee will make the decision. The Steering Committee will make the decision by consensus or by a majority vote. Decisions made on behalf of MOCAN will be shared with the membership.
- Promote the Plan as the foundation of the work of MOCAN.
- Review and accept/reject/terminate membership to MOCAN and identify gaps.
- Assist Work Groups to set priorities for annual MOCAN activities, as needed.
- Coordinate an annual evaluation of MOCAN activities.
- Develop an annual budget for MOCAN, as indicated.
- Assist with and communicate funding opportunities to MOCAN members.
- Meet at least once quarterly, in person or via phone conference. Members who miss two consecutive meetings without notification will be considered as resigning from the Steering Committee.
- Identify and facilitate opportunities for collaboration across health promotion and chronic disease initiatives, other coalitions and MOCAN, e.g., matters concerning policy issues, communications and funding.
- Coordinate MOCAN meetings and professional development programs.
- Provide ongoing communication to the MOCAN membership.
- Review the Operating Principles at least annually.
Current MOCAN leadership
MOCAN Chair: Natalie Hampton
MOCAN Vice Chair & Food Systems Co-Chair: Erica Williams
Erica R. Williams holds a BA in Paralegal Studies and an MBA, both from Maryville University. She is working on her PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University, with a concentration on policy analysis. Erica is the Founder and Executive Director of A Red Circle. A Red Circle is a community based, collaborative nonprofit organization, which was founded to address racial disparities in the North St. Louis County region. It has five focus areas: employment, education, holistic living, policy, and the arts. Erica’s leadership addresses income inequality, educational achievement, access to healthy and affordable food to holistically improve St. Louis communities. Additionally Erica serves as a St. Louis Master Gardener, chairs the Food Systems Work Group for MOCAN, leads a Peer Circle for Executive Directors of Color for Winrock International’s Food Systems Leadership Network, is a member of the Youth Ed & Development Work Group of Kids Win-Missouri and a member of HomeGrown Stl, an initiative of Washington University for Black boys and young men aged 12 to 29, and was recently named an unsung ‘shero’ by the Coalition for Human Rights. When not working for A Red Circle, Erica is on the executive board committee as treasurer for Missouri Health Care for All.
MOCAN Past Chair: Jessica Mackey
Jessica Mackey, MPH, RD, CSP, LD, is a registered dietitian with a Masters in Public Health. Jessica is an energetic, self-motivated dietitian with experience in clinical and community nutrition. She has a passion for youth wellness and previously worked for Children's Mercy Hospital and Midwest Dairy where she served as a nutrition liaison to health professionals providing science-based information and nutrition education. Jessica now works for Mead Johnson Nutrition as a Hospital Nutrition Business Manager.
MOCAN Treasurer & Financial Stability Ad Hoc Chair: David Ross
David P. Ross is currently the development manager for KC Healthy Kids in the metro Kansas City area. KC Healthy Kids is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing obesity and improving the health of Greater Kansas City’s children. David is a graduate of Westminster College and University of Missouri-Columbia Law School. David gained a working knowledge of Kansas City philanthropy while working as the Senior Vice President at Bank of America in Kansas City for 38 years. During David’s 38 years he administered many grants for the Bank of America’s charitable trusts. He has been active in various health prevention causes for the past 30 years.
Healthy Weight Advisory Committee Chair: Lisa Nelson
For the past several years Lisa has brought her professional experience in nonprofit leadership, strategic communications, project design and implementation, and system change design and evaluation to MOCAN. A past MOCAN Chair, in July 2019 she began chairing the Healthy Weight Advisory Committee. For the past 15 years Nelson has worked for Freeman Health System, a nonprofit health system in Joplin. She holds B.A., B.S., and M.A. degrees from Boston University and an M.A. from the University of London. She has traveled extensively and experienced health and social systems in Egypt, England, and France, as well as rural and urban America, and firmly believes there is no scarcity of resources to improve health and well-being.
Healthy Weight Advisory Committee Co-Chair: Angela Lima
Angela Lima, MBA, RD, LD, is a senior project manager for the PCORI sponsored project named TEAM UP in the Center for Healthy Weight and Wellness at Washington University in St. Louis. She received her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics in 2001 and her MBA from Webster University in 2013. Lima’s research interests include increasing access to care, reducing health disparities, improving health literacy, and dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatment for childhood obesity.
Food Systems Chair: Andrea Cullers
Andrea Cullers, PhD, RD, is an Associate Professor in the Kinesiology Department and Director of the Lion Co-op at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri. She received her BS in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Arkansas, her MS from University of Kansas Medical Center in Clinical Nutrition and her PhD from the University of California, Davis in Nutritional Biology with an emphasis in Community and International Nutrition. Dr. Cullers is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and completed her training at KUMC. Dr. Cullers is currently chair of Joplin Area Food Action Network; she also serves on the Community Health Collaborative in her community. Andrea loves playing outside and exploring the world with her husband and 4-year-old son, Asher.
Healthcare Chair: Sarah Hampl
Dr. Sarah Hampl graduated from the combined BA-MD program at the University of MO-Kansas City School of Medicine. She completed her residency and chief residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Obesity Medicine. Dr. Hampl is a member of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and leads the advocacy focus area at the Center for Children’s Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition. She is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of MO-Kansas City School of Medicine. She has been working with children and families with obesity for the past 20 years. She provides clinical care in the Promoting Health in Teens and Kids (PHIT Kids) Weight Management Clinic and is the medical director of Weight Management group programs. She is actively involved in resident and community primary care provider education and research on clinical outcomes of treatment. Dr. Hampl and Dr. Denise Wilfley were the co-chairs of the MO Children’s Services Commission’s childhood obesity subcommittee, which released statewide recommendations for childhood obesity treatment and prevention in 2014, and continue to work towards implementation of these recommendations through the Healthy Weight Advisory Committee. She is a member of the MO Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the AAP Section on Obesity, where she serves as an adviser for pediatric healthcare providers in DHHS Region VII.
Healthcare Co-Chair: Julie Benard
Julie Benard, MD, is originally from Ste. Genevieve (in Southeast Missouri) and moved to Columbia in 2004 to attend MU for college. She continued to complete her medical education at MU and then went on to complete her residency in Child Health at MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital. She was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to join the MU Child Health faculty in 2015 after completing her residency training. She has always had an interest in childhood nutrition and obesity prevention/management which grew into a passion during residency and her early career on faculty. In 2018, she obtained board certification for obesity management to better assist her patients and the children of Mid-Missouri with weight concerns and overall health. She is very excited to serve the state of Missouri in the capacity of Healthcare Workgroup co-chair.
Physical Activity Co Chair: Ron Bentch
Ron Bentch is the Project Coordinator for Missourians for Responsible Transportation, an organization dedicated to aligning local and regional efforts for streets, roads and trails that work for ALL Missourians. Prior to working for MRT, Ron was a building contractor and lived with his family in South Africa as a community development worker. He is passionate about infrastructure that allows a healthy lifestyle by default.
Physical Activity Co-Chair: Shawn Hayden
Shawn, MS, is a Project Coordinator II with CoxHealth. Shawn’s focus is on engaging community partners, creating functioning coalitions, facilitating policy discussions, and creating sustainable programming solutions in community health and healthcare equity. At CoxHealth, he has utilized and received more than $1.3 million in funding from Missouri Foundation for Health to combat childhood obesity in Southwest Missouri while creating a coalition of community partners to examine policies and programming opportunities for increasing physical activity, improving healthy and local eating options, and engaging health care providers in their communities. Shawn is also a grant manager with Clark Community Mental Health Center. While working with Clark Community Mental Health, Shawn has received over $300,000 in grant funding to coordinate care for the most at risk populations within the Clark service area. Shawn has extensive work with state and federal partners such as the EPA, DHSS, and MHA, on incorporating policies to not only better the health of communities, but also the economy to ensure sustainability. Shawn has a Bachelor’s degree from Drury University, a Master’s degree from Missouri State University, and is working on a Doctorate of Education from AT Still University.
Policy Chair: Stephanie Cooper
Stephanie has more than twenty years of non-profit management experience and is currently the CEO of Douglass Community Services in Hannibal, MO. Douglass is a non-profit organization located in Northeast Missouri that provides a multitude of programs including Head Start/Early Head Start, youth service programs including CASA and Kids/Teens in Motion, food insecurities programs including a food pantry, Summer Lunch and Super Supper, senior/volunteer programs including RSVP and Foster Grandparents and relationship programming for couples/families. Stephanie received her Bachelor’s in Social Work from Christopher Newport University and her Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis on policy, planning and administration from University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a Fellow from UCLA Anderson School of Management and is currently a LMSW in the State of Missouri, an adjunct faculty at John Wood Community College and is Vice-President of Hannibal Rotary. She also sits on a variety of boards and committees in Northeast Missouri.
Schools Chair: Laura Beckmann
Following more than 28 years of educational service in public schools as a teacher and curriculum coordinator, Laura Beckmann now serves as the Director of Health, Physical Education and School Wellness for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Throughout her career, Laura has been awarded numerous local, state, and federal grants for improved wellness within the schools and communities she served. Due to documented success, Mrs. Beckmann has led multiple projects that have served as models within the areas of Health, Physical Education and School Wellness, conducted various workshops and presentations, contributed to many publications, and provided consultant services in the development of curriculum, grant and data programming and reporting at the state and national level. In recognition of her scholarship, service, teaching and professional leadership in the areas of Physical Education, Health, and School Wellness, she has received honors inclusive of the Missouri Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MOAHPERD) Exemplary Gold Physical Education Program award, MOAHPERD Missouri Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year award, the Helen Manley award, and the Robert M. Taylor Professional Service honor award. Due to recognition of Mrs. Beckmann’s contributions at the national level, she was one of 59 invited delegates to the 2010 Global Forum on the Future of Physical Education. Mrs. Beckmann completed her undergraduate education at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO, her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Saint Mary in Kansas, and her MEd in School Administration from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.
Schools Co-Chair: Lisa Farmer
Lisa, MSEd, currently serves as a Nutrition Specialist with the Bureau of Community Health and Wellness at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Child Care Co-Chair: Sarah Young
Sarah Young, MS, RD, LD is a Nutrition Specialist with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Southeast Missouri State University and her Master’s degree in dietetics from Eastern Illinois University. She holds a passion for the prevention of obesity, rather than treating, particularly throughout the childhood years. She has worked in state government for over seven years, of which four have been spent with early child care nutrition and physical activity programs at the Department of Health and Senior Services.
Child Care Co-Chair: Emily Meissen-Sebelius
Emily Meissen-Sebelius, M.S.W., is project coordinator for Weighing In, a program at Children’s Mercy Hospital that works to prevent childhood obesity through community collaboration. Before joining Children’s Mercy, Emily was an analyst at the Kansas Health Institute, where she conducted research and worked with state agencies and elected officials on Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, early childhood mental health, home visiting, health care access and public health issues. Emily has a range of experiences, from grassroots nonprofit to federal government, but has always had a passion for and focus on children’s health, working with state policy-makers and community organizations on evaluation, health improvement planning and implementation of cross-sector initiatives. Emily has lived in the Kansas City area for 13 years with her husband Drew and three children, Ella (7), William (4), and Madison (born May 2019).
Worksites Co-Chair: Kris Drake
Kris Drake, RN, CHPD, is the Wellness Coordinator at Freeman Health System in Joplin Mo. As coordinator of Freeman’s employee wellness program - WellBalance, Kris works daily to improve the work-life balance of more than 4,500 health system employees. Since October 2002, she has developed an array of programs to empower Freeman employees to reach their personal wellness goals. The WellBalance program mission is to inspire total well-being by providing opportunities and encouraging employees to improve and maintain their quality of life.
Worksites Co-Chair: Andrea Abbott
Andrea Abbott is a Business Development Account Manager with Freeman Health System. As account manager, Andrea works with local and regional employers promoting health and wellness, Freeman physicians and service lines. Andrea will celebrate 20 years of service with the health system in November. She enjoys spending time with family, traveling and watching baseball.
Terry Atteberry is the Healthy Schools Program Manager for the state of Missouri, for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. She has been with Healthier Generation for four years as a Program Manager and two years as the Missouri Alliance Ambassador. Terry’s work with Healthier Generation is to provide support to approximately 85 Missouri School Districts. Terry partners with Missouri Foundation for Health and the Healthy Schools/Healthy Community Initiative. Terry’s support consists of guidance with completion of school health assessments, creation of sustainable action plans, implementation of district wellness policies, and building relationships with wellness coordinators, champions, and wellness committees at school and district levels. Additional areas of support include resources, tools, and guidance for creating sustainable and evidence-based strategies to increase physical activity, improve nutrition standards, implement healthy snacks and celebrations, and awareness of employee wellness. Before her work with Healthier Generation, Terry worked with her local school district for 17 years as both a district office manager and a district wellness coordinator. Over that course of time, she coached cheerleading and track, as well as many after-school clubs such as archery and running club. Terry also assisted with gardening clubs and taste tests. Terry’s work at Eldon School District aided students and staff to implement healthier lifestyles into their everyday routines.
Jill Lucht, MS, is a Project Director at the University of Missouri Center for Health Policy. In this position, she partners with state and academic institutions to analyze Medicaid claims data for research on health outcomes, health care utilization, expenditures and trends in Missouri and nationwide. She also directs the Missouri Healthcare Workforce Project, which collects and analyzes data about Missouri’s healthcare workforce. Jill has a rich background in policy research related to health, agriculture and food security, as well as the impact of food policy on health. She received her Master's Degree in Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Rural Sociology and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin. In her spare time, Jill is part of the goat milking team at Goatsbeard Dairy.
Donna Mehrle, MPH, RD, LD, has a wealth of experiences in public health nutrition through her work at the Department of Health and Senior Services and the University of Missouri Extension. During her time at the Department, Donna worked in aging, WIC, planning and surveillance and obesity reduction and prevention. Currently, at Extension, she assists in day-to-day implementation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Nutrition Education and leads several special projects. She recently served as the coordinator of the Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition (MOCAN) and has been involved since the council's first developments. In addition, Donna also worked part-time as a registered, licensed dietitian at the Jefferson City Medical Group, counseling patients at the Weight Treatment Center. She continues to be active in her state dietetic association, the national Association of State and Territorial Public Health Nutritionists (ASTPHN) and the national Association of SNAP-Ed Nutrition Networks and Other Implementing Agencies (ASNNA). She has presented at local, state and national conferences about policy and environmental changes to make the healthy choice the easy choice in Missouri, the socio-ecological approach to behavior change and the impact of obesity in various settings and populations.
Debra Schumer, MA, RD, LD, is a registered dietician and the Manager of Clinical Nutrition Services for Saint Francis Medical Center. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and Master’s degree from Southeast Missouri State. Debra is an active member of the Eating Disorder and Pregnancy Advisory Panel for Southeast Athletics. She also serves as a diet and nutritional consultant for Southeast and is a member of the Athletic Performance Team.
Stephanie Smith, Director of Mission Initiatives for the Missouri State Alliance of YMCAs, is passionate about feeding kids healthy food. From working with community partners to increase kids’ access to nutritious food to facilitating the opening of a commercial production kitchen that served locally-sourced, farm fresh food to children in the YMCA’s School Age Services Program, Stephanie has emerged as a leading advocate for food accessibility. In recognition of her leadership in anti-hunger efforts, YMCA of the USA selected Stephanie as a Regional Food Program Facilitator. She serves as a technical advisor to YMCAs across the nation, providing support, resources and project management for YMCAs participating in federal nutrition programs. Stephanie also provides leadership and staff support for the Missouri Convergence Partnership (MCP), which brings together multi-sector stakeholders to accelerate healthy eating and active living strategies that improve health equity through collective action.
Jollyn Tyryfter, MPH, recently joined the University of Missouri Extension as an Assistant Professor where she guides a statewide network of specialists to develop policy, systems, and environmental changes to improve nutrition and physical activity for Missouri’s residents. After completing her Master of Public Health degree at Loyola University in 2015, she joined Purdue Extension’s Nutrition Education Program as a Community Wellness Coordinator where she remained until joining MU. Focusing on long-term, sustainable changes in limited-resource communities, she has worked with a variety of community stakeholders and championed several new initiatives related to improving food security, healthy food access, and physical activity opportunities.
Sherry Davisson, MSEd, is new to the University and the state of Missouri, relocating from West Virginia. She has experience working for West Virginia University Extension as a Health Educator. She has also worked for the WIC program as a nutritionist. Sherry holds a Master’s degree from Virginia Tech University in Health Education. Healthy living in everyday situations is a message she enjoys sharing. She has 3 children and 1 grandchild.
Pat works to support the operational and logistical needs of MOCAN. Pat has worked at Mizzou for 15 years alongside purchasing and fiscal teams. Pat is also an avid gardener, owns and drives her own motorcycle, enjoys reading, sewing, cooking, canning, going to theatre/musical productions, and spending time with friends and family. She has 5 children & 9 grandchildren.
Steering Committee chairs
Healthy Weight Advisory Committee
MU Extension Coordinating Staff