In the 20th Century, we preserved the land. In the 21st, let’s restore it.

Health and Wellness Participants

Health and Wellness Subject-Matter Experts

The Next Century Conservation Plan Planning Team conducted interviews with Cook County subject-matter experts in the health and wellness field. The Team also facilitated two roundtables with subject-matter experts, on February 27 and May 3, 2013, to learn from their perspectives on nature and health.

In both the interviews and the roundtables, participants were asked to share insights based on their clinical or administrative experience. They were invited to share recommendations for improving the connection between Cook County residents and the Forest Preserves with the goal of improving health and wellness.


Mary Elsner
Director, Obesity Prevention Initiatives, Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP)

Susan Katz
Director of Paralympics & Disability Sport, World Sport Chicago

Mary J. Larsen
Manager, Environmental Stewardship, Advocate Health Care

Barbara Otto
Chief Executive Officer, Health & Disability Advocates
Presidential Appointee, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative Public Health

Roundtable Participants

Roundtable 1
February 27, 2013

Elizabeth Lee
Senior Program Officer for Proactive Grants, Michael Reese Health Trust

Nancy Ronquillo
President and Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Home & Aid Society

Grant Vitale
Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago (CLOCC)

Terry Mason
Chief Operating Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health

Ken Campbell
Systems Operator Analyst, Cook County Health and Hospital Systems

Joe Harrington
Regional Health Officer, Illinois Department of Public Health

Roundtable 2
May 3, 2013

Jennifer Artis
Executive Director, Crossroads Coalition/Franciscan Alliance

Debbie Gaebler-Spira
Pediatric Rehabilitation Physician, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Cecilia Hofmann
President, C. Hofmann and Associates

Michael Murnane
Assistant to the General Superintendant, Forest Preserve District of Cook County

Sarah Nau
Manager, Obesity Prevention Initiatives, Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP)

Joseph Russo
Deputy Commissioner of ADA Compliance, Mayors Office, Division for People with Disabilities

Keri Schneider
Executive Director, Dare2Tri

Julie Vandervort
Naturalist, Forest Preserve District of Cook County

Other Contributors

Ryan Reese
Instructor, Oregon State University-Cascades