Healthier Generation names Laurie Stradley as new chief program officer

May 17, 2019

Dr. Laurie Stradley

Dr. Laurie Stradley

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, one of the nation’s preeminent children’s health organizations, has named public health visionary and community leader Laurie Stradley, DrPH, to serve as its chief program officer. Stradley, who earned a doctorate in health policy and management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, currently serves as an adjunct instructor in the School’s Master of Public Health program.

Founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, Healthier Generation’s work with schools, communities and businesses has empowered more than 28 million children nationwide to develop lifelong healthy habits. Stradley joins the organization at a key point in its evolution, as it seeks to lead the way in meeting children’s comprehensive health needs — inclusive of quality nutrition, regular physical activity and strong social-emotional development.

Stradley joins Healthier Generation with a lengthy career in public health and early intervention health care and experience serving on numerous local, state and national coalitions driving the future of health. She is an effective policy and advocacy change-maker, playing a key role in the passage of several pieces of North Carolina health legislation that banned smoking in bars and restaurants and increased access to healthy foods via corner stores.

Healthier Generation Chief Executive Officer Kathy Higgins praised Stradley’s appointment, citing her innovative approach to health and ability to activate communities around meaningful change.

“Laurie’s strong public health credentials combined with her compassion and personal energy around our cause make her the ideal candidate to fortify our programs and lead our rapidly evolving portfolio of evidenced-based services and programmatic solutions,” Higgins said. “We look forward to the immediate impact her leadership will have on supporting our network of schools and youth-serving organizations as they transform their environments to promote health and development.”

“We are at a pivotal moment as leaders in children’s health,” said Stradley. “I am thrilled to be joining an organization that is at the forefront of advancing a holistic approach to kids’ health, consistent with the latest science on the mind-body connection. As chief program officer, I am eager to continue moving the needle on health equity to give more children, in more communities, the healthy futures they deserve.”

Most recently, Stradley served as the director of wellness at Mission Health System in Asheville, N.C., where she worked to improve employee health and well-being as well as population health strategies for the regional health care system. In 2010, Stradley became a founding staff member at the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness at UNC-Asheville, serving as the director of state and community collaboration. In that role, she became more involved in healthy eating and food access, working with the National Farm to School Network to improve the connection between children, schools, farms and farmers. At the core of her work in this field is a deep commitment to supporting schools and communities in improving children’s health, complemented by a strong appreciation for policy to improve health outcomes through legislative change.

“Thousands of educators, community leaders and parents rely on Healthier Generation’s expertise and evidence-based programming to guide them in creating healthier environments where all children can thrive,” said Leah McCall Devlin, DDS, a Professor of the Practice of health policy and management at the Gillings School and a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Board of Trustees, which has been a strong supporter of Healthier Generation’s programmatic work since the organization’s inception. “With Laurie at the helm of these efforts, I’m confident that Healthier Generation’s programs will only grow, to the great benefit of the individuals and communities served.”

In addition to being a published researcher, Stradley has been recognized locally and nationally for her dedication to public health, serving as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Ladder to Leadership” fellow and receiving the Mission Health Leadership Award for her role in elevating the health system’s workforce health and well-being programs. While studying at the Gillings School, she was inducted into the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society.


Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at sphcomm@listserv.unc.edu.

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