Meet our 2018 Texas Health Champions

Published: August 14, 2018

Texas Obesity Awareness Week (TOAW), including the Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony, was established in the 80th Legislative Session (2007) by House Bill 2313 and is designated to occur in the second week of September each year. The purpose of TOAW is to raise awareness of the health risks associated with obesity and to encourage Texans to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In this 11th year of recognizing public health leaders in Texas, we would like to give a big congratulations to this year’s honorees and let you know more about the work they do to build healthy communities.

2018 Texas Health Champions

The Texas Health Champion Award is presented to public health leaders who have demonstrated exemplary achievement in reducing the burden and/or raising awareness of the obesity epidemic in Texas.

This year we recognize the following leaders in obesity prevention:

Stephanie Kellam
Student Wellness Coordinator

Stephanie Kellam has managed throughout her career as a Student Wellness Coordinator to meet people as they are and elevate them to become leaders within their own communities. Whether it is through education, collaboration, or advocacy, her main thoughts center around equity and the biggest impact in the community. She is a Fort-Bend ISD champion for the teachers, coaches, and nurses who continue to make a difference each day in every child. By helping to find resources for these staff, whether it be small donations like water bottles for a hydration awareness initiative or big challenges such as managing the WATCH School Wellness Award Recognitions for the district, Stephanie demonstrates her understanding for the importance of wellness on any level.  

As a Student Wellness Coordinator, Stephanie has always looked to evidence-based programs and initiatives. As she attends both regional and national conferences, she brings back information to the district and looks for ways to integrate effective strategies and programs. One such example is Brain Breaks which is now commonly used throughout the district and is even incorporated into the SHAC agenda. When Stephanie starts new programs, she works to create a sustainable and replicable process, so that the momentum which she creates continues on.

Stephanie holds a MS in Exercise Science from the University of Houston and a BA in Kinesiology from Rice University. She is a certified personal trainer and a certified cycling instructor. Stephanie was born in Canada, grew up in North Carolina but now calls Houston home. In her spare time she can be found exploring one of the many fabulous Houston parks with her husband and two children. She loves to run and just completed her second marathon in January.


CHEF (Culinary Health Education for Families)

CHEF is a non-profit organization in San Antonio, Texas that teaches children and families basic nutrition and practical cooking skills, with the long-term goal of driving healthy eating habits in the community. The program model is a highly engaging, community collaborative involving an array of partners offering culinary medicine programming in six CHEF Teaching Kitchens as well as local schools.

CHEF has curated a portfolio of community partners and programming sites that target under-served populations throughout the city. Since CHEF opened the door to its first teaching kitchen in January 2017, there have been more than 35,000 engaging CHEF encounters with children and caregivers eager to learn and adopt healthier eating habits.

CHEF has three current strategies for engaging, teaching, training, and mobilizing members of the community to drive healthy eating among children and families.

  1. In a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, the program provides culinary medicine training and education to clinical providers (including pediatric residents), patients and families, and hospital associates. CHEF is also conducting clinical research to measure the efficacy of the intervention with specific patient populations.
  2. CHEF partners with non-profit organizations uniquely positioned to reach large numbers of under-served children including: The San Antonio Food Bank, the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio, the YMCA of San Antonio, the San Antonio Botanical Garden, the Witte Museum, the Bexar County Metropolitan Health District, and the San Antonio Mayors Fitness Council.
  3. Most recently, CHEF expanded into area schools, training existing school staff, who in turn reached more than 1,000 students in a single semester.   


Stephanie & CHEF will both be recognized at this year’s Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony on September 13, 2018. 

You can register to attend this year's ceremony here.