‹ back to Press Releases

May 28, 2013

Alliance for a Healthier Generation Announces New CEO

Former CDC division director to lead national children’s health nonprofit

(NEW YORK, N.Y.) May 28, 2013 — The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national nonprofit working to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity, has named Dr. Howell Wechsler to serve as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective today. He will succeed Dr. Ginny Ehrlich, who has been named the CEO of the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Initiative. The Alliance was founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation in 2005 in response to the rapid increase in childhood obesity rates over the last three decades. The Alliance serves as a catalyst for children’s health—working with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier kids.

"As a respected thought leader in childhood obesity prevention, we are thrilled Howell has agreed to bring his unparalleled expertise and stewardship to the Alliance,” said Bruce R. Lindsey, chairman of the Board of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “Howell’s passion for improving the health of young people and deep familiarity with the Alliance’s growth and impact thus far, makes him the ideal individual to lead us in the important and challenging work that lies ahead."

“I am honored to join the Alliance and contribute to a dynamic organization that is providing critical leadership in reducing obesity among young people,” said Dr. Wechsler. “By working across sectors the Alliance has had a tremendous impact in just eight short years. I am very excited about the opportunity to help the Alliance continue to fulfill its mission during this critical time for children’s health.”

Dr. Wechsler has served as the Director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 2004. He supervised the management of DASH's three surveillance systems -- Youth Risk Behavior System, School Health Policies and Programs Study, and School Health Profiles. He also oversaw the division’s research and evaluation studies, development and dissemination of tools to help schools implement evidence-based policies and practices, and the funding of and technical assistance to state and local education agencies and national, non-governmental organizations. He was also the lead author of CDC’s Guidelines for School Health Programs to Promote Lifelong Healthy Eating and played a leading role in the development of the School Health Index: A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide.

Dr. Wechsler has received a number of professional honors including the William A. Howe Award in 2012, the highest honor from the American School Health Association; the Milton J.E. Senn Award in 2006 from the American Academy of Pediatrics for achievement in the field of school health; the William G. Anderson Award in 2005 from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance in recognition of meritorious service to the profession of health education, physical education, recreation, and dance; and the Secretary’s Award for Innovations in Health from the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in 1991.

Before joining the CDC in 1995, Dr. Wechsler served for six years as Project Director of the Washington Heights-Inwood Healthy Heart Program in New York City. This community-based cardiovascular disease prevention program was affiliated with Teachers College, Columbia University, where Dr. Wechsler taught courses in health communications. Dr. Wechsler earned a doctorate in health education from Teachers College, Columbia University, a master of public health degree from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He entered the field of public health during his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire.

Dr. Wechsler will lead a team of more than 110 professional staff in 40 states and the District of Columbia taking action to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by making it easier for kids to be physically active and eat healthier foods including:

  • Supporting more than 17,000 schools serving over 10 million students, in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, to become healthier places where physical activity and healthier foods are available before, during and after school.
  • Supporting over 150 out-of-school time sites, reaching 12,000 youth, to create healthier environments.
  • Working with more than 100 companies to make healthier products more available in and affordable to schools.
  • Reducing the number of beverage calories shipped to schools by 90 percent through our landmark beverage agreement.
  • Facilitates 56,000 doctors’ offices providing obesity prevention and treatment to more than 2.4 million children through healthcare benefits.


About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, works to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and to empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier children. To learn more and join the movement, visit www.HealthierGeneration.org.


Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Megan McIntyre