The MOTION Coalition was organized to change social structures, policies and personal behaviors to reduce childhood obesity and promote healthy living.
Thriving children, thriving adults, thriving communities.
To accelerate organizational and community efforts that promote physical activity and healthy eating to optimize health and wellbeing.
2023 MOTION Summit
Dr. Rebecca Hassan, Associate Professor
University of Michigan
Alex Allen 2nd, President & CEO
Chandler Park Conservancy
Dara OBryne, AICP – Chief Parks Planner
City of Detroit
JJ Velez, Director of Public Space
Gilbert Family Foundation
Charles Walker, Retail Specialist
Fair Food Network
Julie Cassidy, Policy Analyst
Michigan League for Public Policy
Julie Rice, Deputy Director
More About the MOTION Coalition Efforts
The MOTION Coalition was established in 2012 by Authority Health as a community coalition concerned with the growing incidence of obesity among young people. It meets quarterly for information sharing and advocates for policies that promote active living and healthy eating.
Childhood obesity is not just a medical matter, but a community predicament. To make an impact in this epidemic, a whole family approach is needed.
The MOTION Coalition (the “Coalition”) is a unique collaboration of stakeholders representing health plans, schools and early childhood programs, organizations supporting nutrition and fitness, local government, health providers, health systems, universities and other nonprofits, among others.
The Coalition is comprised of more than 30 organizations across the region. Co-chaired by Dr. Bill Dietz and Barbara Blum Alexander, MPH, MSW, the action-oriented Coalition works together to identify opportunities to advocate for improved nutritional programming, the creation of safe green spaces and the development of community resilience. The Coalition holds an Annual Summit to share findings and collaboratively identify community strategies.
For more information on the MOTION Coalition, contact Dr. Prashanti Boinapally, MOTION Coalition Lead, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Advocacy Agenda
Working in tandem with the Authority Health public affairs staff, the MOTION Coalition advocates for legislation and policies that favor active living and healthy eating. Some of those include:
10 Cents a Meal
When state funding for the 10 Cents a Meal program was threatened, the Coalition launched a sign-on letter advocating for maintaining the funding. When funds were vetoed, a “Paper Plate Campaign” activated Coalition members to decorate paper plates and send them to the governor to save the program. Coalition efforts proved beneficial when full funding was reestablished in February 2020.
MDOT I-94 Modernization Project
Coalition members learned more about the I-94 reconstruction plan and notable improvements that were added to contribute to enhanced community health through increased neighborhood connectivity, “Complete Streets” and greater recreational fitness via connecting trails. A letter was submitted on behalf of the Coalition supporting these improvements and advocating for the inclusion of “calming service drives” at the initiation of the plan rather than waiting until 2030.
Michigan Complete Streets Legislation
Active living requires safe spaces for walking, running and riding – oftentimes while sharing urban streets. The Complete Streets initiative provides guidance for the planning, design and construction of roadways or an interconnected network of transportation facilities being constructed or reconstructed and designated for a transportation purpose that promotes inclusion of multiple modes of transit.
City of Detroit Dog Bite Ordinance
The threat of attacks from wild dogs dissuades people from using some public spaces for exercising. The death of a young girl who was attacked by a loose dog prompted the Coalition to support efforts by Detroit City Council to pass “Emma’s Clause” to create tighter guidelines for securing neighborhood dogs.
Federal Farm Bill
The Coalition supports the cultivation of urban agriculture to promote nutrition and food security in Detroit. The Federal Farm Bill has traditionally promoted funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan. Most recently, it has established an Office of Urban Agriculture, designed to promote development of this sector of the agricultural industry. Both programs are integral to the nutrition goals of the MOTION Coalition.
Who We Are
William Dietz, MD – Co-Chair, MOTION Coalition
William H. Dietz, MD, is the director of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.
Previously, Dr. Dietz served as director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (CDC). In that role, he was on the front lines of the fight against obesity – a health condition that affects one out of five children and one out of three adults in the United States.
In addition to his role as a public health leader at the CDC, Dr. Dietz has a portfolio that includes more than 200 published research papers in scientific journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Pediatrics, The Lancet and others. His work in the field of childhood obesity includes the first study to demonstrate a relationship between television viewing habits and obesity in young children.
Dr. Dietz is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and has served on many professional advisory boards, including the expert panel that published the Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, a landmark 1998 report that reclassified many “normal weight” Americans as “overweight.” In addition, he is the editor of five books, including “Clinical Obesity in Adults and Children” and “Nutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know.”
Prior to his appointment at the CDC, Dr. Dietz served as a professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine and director of clinical nutrition at the Floating Hospital of New England Medical Center Hospitals. His awards include the John Stalker Award from the American School Food Service Association for his efforts to improve school lunches and the George Bray Founders Award from the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. In 2012, he received a Special Recognition Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics Provisional Section on Obesity.
Barbara Blum-Alexander – Co-Chair, MOTION Coalition
Barbara Blum-Alexander, MPH, MSW (pronounced “Bloom”-Alexander), is a director within the Office of Community Health, Equity, Wellness and Diversity at Henry Ford Health System.
Barbara has been leading the Generation With Promise (GWP) program since its inception in September 2007, through the Michigan Department of Community Health, Office of the Surgeon General (2007-2011), and at Henry Ford Health (2011-present). She has a Master of Public Health and a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan and over 20 years of professional experience in the field, primarily in Detroit and surrounding communities. Her special areas of interest include working with diverse, multicultural community partners, youth and adults around social drivers/ determinants of health, with the ultimate goal of eliminating health disparities.
In addition to the GWP program (Henry Ford Health’s SNAP-Ed funded program in Detroit/Wayne, Macomb and Jackson), she leads efforts on: food access such as the Fresh Prescription produce prescription program; chronic disease efforts identified through our Community Health Needs Assessment (in particular diabetes prevention); Henry Ford LiveWell childhood wellness related to ACES, trauma-informed care, and building resilience; the Trauma Recovery Initiative (TRI) at Henry Ford Hospital with acute care trauma surgery: and guiding the system towards being more trauma-informed overall.
In addition to being the Co-Chair of the MOTION Coalition, she is on the executive committee of Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan and the executive committee of the Fresh Rx Network.
MOTION Coalition Member Organizations
- American Heart Association
- Ascension Health System
- Beaumont Health System
- Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Detroit
- Brilliant Detroit
- Children’s Hospital of Michigan
- Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
- Detroit Health Department
- Detroit Food Policy Council
- Detroit Greenways Coalition
- Detroit Medical Center
- Detroit Public Schools Community District
- Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network
- Fish & Loaves Community Food Pantry
- Food Corps
- Girl Trek
- Gleaners Community Food Bank
- Great Start Collaborative Wayne County
- Healthy Michigan
- Henry Ford Health System
- Macomb Family Services
- Matrix Human Services
- Metro Solutions
- Michigan Blue Cross Complete
- Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
- Michigan Environmental Council
- Michigan Fitness Foundation
- Michigan State University Detroit Extension
- National Kidney Foundation of Michigan
- Oakland University
- Project Healthy Community
- Starfish Family Services
- University of Michigan
- Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness
- Wayne State University Center for Health & Community Impact
- Wayne State University School of Medicine