March 2018 CANCELLED
July 2019 CANCELLED
November 2019 NOT SCHEDULED
December 2019 CANCELLED
2019-2021 ArCOP Leadership Team
Board of Directors
Chair – Sarah Powell, AR Department of Health (2019-2021)
Chair-Elect – Jennifer Conner, U of A Cooperative Extension Service (2019-2021)
First Vice-Chair (Advisory Committee) – Kimberely Boren, AR Department of Health (2019-2021)
*Second Vice-Chair (GHC Liaison) – Taniesha Richardson-Wiley, AR Department of Health (2019-2020)
Secretary – Vanessa Krause, U of A Disability & Health Program(2019-2021)
*Fiscal Chair – Becky Adams, AR Department of Health (2019-2020)
Past-Chair – Andi Ridgway, AR Department of Health (2019-2021)
*These positions will initially serve a one-year term then come due for re-election to preserve staggering of terms in the future.
Advisory Committee: Members are elected by the BOD and each serves a two-year term (2019-2021)
1. Advisory Committee Chair (1stVice-Chair) – Kimberely Boren
2. Growing Healthy Worksites Advisor – Kenya Eddings, AR Department of Health
3. Growing Healthy Kids Advisor – Amy Routt, Curricula Concepts
4. Growing Healthy Kids Advisor – Daphne Gaulden, AR Foundation for Medical Care
5. Growing Healthy Places Advisor – Trudy Redus, Pine Bluff Park and Recreation Department
6. Growing Healthy Foods Advisor – Emily English, AR Children’s Hospital
7. Advisor – Joy Rockenbach, AR Department of Health
8. Advisor – Derek Lewis, Derek Lewis Foundation
Board of Directors
Katrina Betancourt, DHEd, AGM, CPM, ArCOP President, Executive Director
Cell: (501) 712-2002,
Katrina Betancourt is the President for the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCOP). She has earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Kinesiological Science and a Doctorate in Health Education with an emphasis in Health Program Planning and Health Policy. She is a Certified Public and Government Manger and currently works with over 100 Growing Healthy Communities (GHC) across Arkansas and 5 additional Mid-South States. Her focus area has been concentrated in community and public health policy, system and environmental change. Dr. Betancourt’s mission is to increase access to healthy-affordable foods and physical activity through the built environment by supporting equitable cultural change to improve economic impact at the local level.
Andi Ridgway, ArCOP Past Chair
Office: (501) 280-4561
Cell: (501) 425-33376
Andi Ridgway is currently the Branch Chief for Hometown Health Improvement in the Center for Local Public Health at the Arkansas Department of Health. Andi is a registered dietitian by profession and also a Certified Diabetes Educator. Andi works with ADH colleagues and state partners to improve the health of Arkansas’ communities through Hometown Health Improvement. Andi is responsible for developing and maintaining state-level partnerships, coordinating staff training and program development at the state level, managing fiscal appropriations, and producing state and federal reports. Andi currently serves as the Past Chair for the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention and Second Vice-President for the Arkansas Public Health Association.
Andi graduated from the University of Central Arkansas for her BS degree in Dietetics, and then attended Oklahoma State University for her Master’s Degree in Food, Nutrition, and Institution Administration. She has received the Certificate of Public Health Leadership and participated in the South Central Public Health Leadership Institute.
Sarah Powell, ArCOP Chair
Cell: (903) 733-2936
Sarah Powell is a Social Worker practicing in the in the Hometown Health Improvement Program as a Rural Health Specialist for the Arkansas Department of Health. Sarah has provided direct services in Mental Health and as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor, but has been working in community health education for over ten years. She serves as a technical assistant and resource to a multitude of community collaborations within the six counties she covers in Southwest Arkansas. Sarah has been an ArCOP member since its inception and works directly with several Growing Healthy Communities that host a variety of successful initiatives.
Jennifer L. Conner, DrPH, MPH, MAP, ArCOP Chair Elect
Office: (870) 265-8055
Dr. Jennifer Conner has extensive experience in behavioral research, clinical health services research, grant administration, community-based public health programming, and policy evaluation. She has brought together academic institutions, hospitals, schools, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, municipalities, and non-profits to investigate and evaluate a broad range of health topics. She has also examined healthcare system topics such as access to quality care, safety net benefits, and incentive-based insurance. Dr. Conner recently graduated from the Delta Regional Authority DLI Executive Academy and was accepted into the Community Development Institute – Central. Dr. Conner has served on the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention Executive Committee and served as Built Environment Subcommittee Co-Chair for several years.
Taniesha Richardson-Wiley, ArCOP Second Vice Chair Taniesha.Richardson@arkansas.gov
Taniesha Richardson-Wiley, MPH has been employed with the Arkansas Department of Health since 1999. She is currently the Public Health Section Chief for the Hometown Health Improvement Section. Taniesha has provided leadership in strategic planning and presented at local, statewide and national trainings and conferences. Taniesha currently serves on the North Little Rock School District Board of Directors as Vice-President and Friends of Johnson’s Board of Directors. She also served on the Arkansas Cancer Coalition Board of Directors, President of the Arkansas Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), and held leadership positions in many more civic and community organizations. Over the years she has received numerous volunteer awards. Taniesha is a published author and enjoys teaching music to children ages 5-16 through her music program, Infinite Melodies Art and Music, LLC., as well as playing piano/keyboard at her church. She also enjoys spending time with her husband Kevin, and is a proud mother of two beautiful children, Destiny and Kyler.
Becky Adams, DrPH, RD, CDE, Fiscal Chair
Office: (501) 661-233
Dr. Becky Adams is the Partnership and Policy Support Director for the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Branch and Section Chief for Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Arkansas Department of Health. She has a DrPH in Public Health Leadership from the UAMS Faye Boozman College of Public Health and an MPH from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Dr. Adams is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator She is a founding member of ArCOP and one of the first Co-chairs. She has held various leadership positions in state and national associations. As President of the Association of State Public Health Nutritionist (formerly the Association of State and Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors), she chaired the Administration and Finance Committee for over 6 years. She was the 2013 recipient of the Association of State and Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors’Excellence in Advocacy Award, 2017 recipient of the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists’ Excellence in Association Work Award and 2018 recipient of the Arkansas Public Health Association’s Tom T. Ross Award. Interests include primary prevention of chronic disease and lifestyle change through policy and environmental change to improve quality of life.
Vanessa Krause, ArCOP Secretary
Office: (501) 912-4760
Vanessa Krause is the director of the Arkansas Disability & Health Program at the University of Arkansas. Vanessa began her career in mental health and eventually began working at a local developmental disability provider. With that experience, she decided to further her education and obtained her Masters in Social Work with an emphasis in Management & Community Practice. In 2002-2005 Vanessa coordinated the development of the Direct Support Professionals training; the first comprehensive collection of a foundational knowledge set for direct care staff in the developmental disabilities field. From there, Vanessa joined the Disability & Health Program where she served as the Coordinator for 11 years. Vanessa has facilitated training with an array of audiences on a variety of topics: healthy lifestyles, nutrition, emergency preparedness, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer health education for individuals with IDD, colorectal cancer education, community planning, access in the built environment, making the case for an in inclusive built environment, disability etiquette 101, adapting health education materials, etc. Vanessa has worked on adapting evaluation tools for individuals with disabilities. She participates on many different state and local coalitions to raise the awareness of the needs of the disability community. Now, as the director of the Arkansas Disability & Health Program, her goal is to infuse disability and inclusion information into all aspects of life – our health, our homes, and our communities.
Emily English, Growing Healthy Foods Advisor
Office: (501) 773-7136
Emily English is the Program Director of Arkansas GardenCorps and a Program Administrator in the Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program. She received her Master of Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service and her Master of Public from the College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where she spent much of her time working on developing farm to school initiatives in Arkansas. Prior to graduate school, Emily worked on and managed small, organic farming operations in Arkansas and Oregon. When not in the office, Emily spends her time gardening, cooking, wrangling a toddler, and trudging her way through a doctoral program in public health leadership.
Amy Routt, Growing Healthy Kids Advisor
Office: (501) 514-8414
Amy Routt is the Program Development Coordinator for Curricula Concepts. She has a background in education and is a licensed teacher in Arkansas, as well as working in the health and wellness field for 17 years. She currently assists in providing tools for family engagement among early childhood educators as well as partnering in the state with many different early childhood initiatives. Amy believes that a healthy child is a happy child and will continue to work on providing resources and opportunities to increase the overall wellness of the children in Arkansas. Amy is committed to serving the whole child where they live, learn and play.
Daphne Gaulden, MPA MPH Growing Healthy Kids Advisor
[Office] 501.212.7460 Daphne.Gaulden@arkansas.gov
Daphne is the Grants Coordinator and Program Manager at the Arkansas Minority Health Commission (AMHC). She is responsible for coordinating the agency’s Sponsored Health Outreach Initiatives and providing management support to AMHC’s health specialist team. Daphne is passionate about the power and potential communities have to impact complex issues and works with communities and coalitions to increase their capacity to effect transformational change.
Daphne is a seasoned strategic planner and skilled process thinker and an expert at growing existing partnerships and cultivating new ones. She is also a recognized specialist on issues related to minority health, health inequities and addressing the social determinants of health.
Daphne holds a Masters of Public Administration from Grambling State University and a Masters of Public Health degree from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Daphne is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. She enjoys volunteering at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and with the American Heart Association. Daphne is a proud “cat lady” and lives in Little Rock with her beloved cat Tito Chavez.
Kenya Eddings, MPH, CRS, Growing Healthy Worksites Advisor
Office: (501) 661-2381
Cell: (501) 366-2481
Kenya L. Eddings received her undergraduate degree from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama and her graduate degree from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is new to the workplace wellness field having joined the Arkansas Department of Health as Worksite Wellness Coordinator in April 2016. Previously, she worked as a Research Scientist with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Her research interests included behavioral weight loss and maintenance in African American women, access to healthy food and food deserts. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Junior League of Little Rock, Leadership Greater Little Rock Class XXIII, Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society and serves on the boards of Just Communities of Arkansas and the Beverly Divers-White Foundation.
Trudy Redus, Advisor
Office: (870) 536-0925
Cell: (870) 413-1779
Trudy Redus is the marketing & communication manager for Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department. She also serves as the special event coordinator and manages the farmers market. Focusing on “Healthy Lifestyles.” She recently served as President of the Arkansas Farmers’ Market Association. Providing networking opportunities and resources for farmer markets in the state. Trudy has been named to the 2015-2016 Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy. She presently chairs the Jefferson County Growing Healthy Communities Coalition in Pine Bluff. As chair she has implemented an annual 5K to end childhood obesity, held in September; National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
Derek Lewis II, MBA, Advisor
Office: (501) 207-0711
Derek Lewis II is the CEO/Founder of Lewis Consulting Group which is a health care consultant firm. Derek is married to Karen Lewis and has three children. Derek’s hobbies are cooking and reading. Derek also is the president of their family foundation the Derek Lewis Foundation which was created by his father Derek Lewis, MD in 1993. The foundation focuses on improvement community through health and wellness projects.
Niki Evansingston, Advisor
Niki Evansingston is a freelance consultant who founded Zenenvirotech, Incorporated, an Arkansas-based 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization that focuses on small farm projects, community/school gardens, and recycling initiatives. She is also the co-founder of Evansingston Farm, a farm that was established in 2016, for the purpose of creating healthy communities via responsible agricultural practices and naturally grown food.
Niki received her B.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and her M.A. in International Business from Webster University.
While at Webster, she began her career as a Grant Writer and Council Planner in the Juvenile Services division of Pulaski County in Little Rock, Arkansas. Following graduate school, Niki served as Director of Development for the Little Rock Boys & Girls Club and Arkansans for Drug Free Youth. Before leaving the non-profit sector, she was instrumental in securing over $1.5 million in grants and unrestricted operational income. In addition to securing a significant amount of funding, Niki restructured both organizations’ Resource Development divisions as a means to make them more efficient. In 2005, she began freelancing as a general consultant. Since 2011, Niki has secured over $850,000 in grant income for private clients. In addition to her farm obligations, non-profit work, and freelance duties, she serves on state and local grant review committees to determine how grant funds are to be allocated to community and faith-based organizations.
Staff and Contractors
Jeremy Adams is a native of Arkansas with early childhood exposure to Agriculture. His dad was a high school Agriculture teacher and his grandparents had a multi-acre kitchen garden well into their 70’s. Jeremy has a Natural Resource Science degree from Colorado State University but came back to Arkansas. The last 3 years he has been manager of the “Arkansas Gleaning Project” securing 1.5 million pounds annually for the food bank system in Arkansas. During the 2016 market season he was Program Manager for the launch of ArCOP’s “Double Up Food Bucks Program” increasing access to fresh food in Arkansas and supporting local agriculture. The Double up Food Bucks Program Manager coordinates the ArCOP Double Up Food Bucks initiative that provides SNAP recipients with double the value of fresh fruits and vegetables at Farmer’s Markets around the state.
Ashleigh Story, Health Education Coordinator
In January of 2016, I was a 235 pound mother of 2. I would wake up every day, and wish that something would change. I was unhappy with myself, and that was overflowing into every other aspect of my life. My children were begging for a mother that would play with them, we were financially strapped because I had no energy to go out and look for a job, and my marriage was struggling because I didn’t want my husband looking at how far I had let myself go. I watched friends and family take control of their health and one day I decided it was time for me as well. The reasons to start making healthy changes far outweighed the reasons to not.
My family lived off of coca-cola, sweet tea, and juice for hydration; you couldn’t get me to drink water for anything in this world. My weekly grocery list largely consisted of pre-packaged, pre-made foods that had step by step instructions on the back of the box. If I had to buy individual ingredients to make something, it probably wasn’t going to happen. This is the way that I was raised and the way I remember being taught how to cook. Changing my life’s eating habits was intimidating at first, but I knew I wanted to be around to watch my children grow up and enjoy life.
I lost a total of 95 pounds throughout my health journey. It wasn’t always easy to make the healthy choice, but I have learned that life is about balance and moderation. We now devour water anytime it is in sight. We generally shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Our fridge is full of fresh produce to make delicious, healthy meals. My husband has his wife back, I get to work hard to help provide for my family, and my children have a mother that is not afraid (or too exhausted) to play tag in the backyard! My children often CHOOSE to have fruit and eggs for breakfast rather than cereal or cinnamon rolls.
The effect of me deciding to be a healthier version of me has trickled down and changed the lives of everyone in my family. I am so very thankful for the tools and teachings I was provided with when I decided to begin my journey as well as the support of my friends, family and coaches.
Steve Powell, Health Outreach Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Powell has enjoyed a diverse career in Marketing and Communications. He worked for almost two decades as a broadcast journalist on television. For 15 years he was seen on KATV-TV in Little Rock as an anchor for “Good Morning Arkansas” and “Daybreak”. Over that time, he also traveled Arkansas as a feature reporter. He has been honored with 6 Emmy awards for writing and reporting.
After leaving television he started Traveling Pixel, a Video Production and Marketing company that produced advertising and on-air programming for a wide array of clients. The company's production work garnered two Telly Awards and appeared on national and local television countless times. Steve also enjoys speaking to civic groups and has hosted dozens of charity functions. He earned a Marketing Degree from the University of Alabama and a Broadcasting Degree from Troy University
Despite the long and varied resume, Steve will tell you his most gratifying job is staying active with his two sons. Along with his wife Amanda, the Powell's believe raising their boys to pursue a healthy lifestyle is key to reaching their potential and positively impacting their community.