Our approach

The Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion (Center) at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital is a collaboration between Penn State College of Medicine's Department of Public Health Sciences and the Department of Pediatrics at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

The Center is committed to helping youth and families in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania learn how to eat well, engage in regular physical activity, and incorporate healthy habits into their daily life.

The work of the Center focuses on four key areas:

  • Providing informative and educational programs and materials to schools, youth, and their families
  • Collaborating with schools, communities, and like-minded organizations on projects related to promoting nutrition and physical activity behaviors
  • Implementing research-based interventions in the school and community setting and disseminating innovative solutions and methods
  • Obtaining funding and in-kind support for its work from foundations, industry, and state/federal government sources

Since 2003, the Center has led statewide efforts to promote healthy eating and active living for youth and families. The Center's work (originally under the name of Pennsylvania Advocates for Nutrition and Activity or PANA) has contributed to significant institutional changes.

The Center is under the guidance of Vernon M. Chinchilli, Ph.D., Distinguished Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences; Barbara E. Ostrov, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Chief, Division of Pediatric Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy; Gil Pak, Director of Operations, Department of Pediatrics.

The Center welcomes research opportunities in the areas of nutrition and physical activity among youth and families. Please direct all inquires to Donna Kephart, Executive Director, at dkephart@psu.edu.

“The stellar interaction between the Center and administrators at six PA public schools led to a very successful week-long health ride. I enjoyed working with the Center and would highly recommend them as partners in any future projects.”

Roy E. Baldwin
Executive Director
Healthy Lifestyles Foundation