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"Bringing the public to better self-care"

Child health expert Sara Benjamin Neelon will lead the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion in the Bloomberg School
Posted July 11, 2017
Sara Benjamin Neelon, left, receives a gift commemorating her Lerner Professorship from Bloomberg School Dean Mike Klag. Sara Benjamin Neelon, left, receives a gift commemorating her Lerner Professorship from Bloomberg School Dean Mike Klag.

Diabetes. HIV. The flu. These and countless other diseases have proven to be preventable, in many cases, through the advocacy for and adoption of healthy behaviors. But how do you communicate how to pursue those behaviors to the public in a way they'll not only understand, but actually pay attention to?

The Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion, established in 2014 with a gift from longtime Bloomberg School friends Sid and Helaine Lerner, seeks the answers to that challenging question. And in April 2017, Sara Benjamin Neelon, a child nutritionist and associate professor of health, behavior, and society, became the Helaine and Sidney Lerner Professor and director of the center.

"Our long-term vision of bringing the public closer to public health, bringing the public to better self-care with the fruits of our research and prevention discoveries, got a couple of steps closer with Sara as the inaugural Sid and Helaine Lerner Professor," Sid Lerner said at the chair's installation. Lerner, a successful corporate marketing executive, later turned his attention toward promoting healthy behaviors on the local, national, and global levels. An early partner with the Center for a Livable Future, Lerner played a role in launching the global Meatless Mondays movement in 2003.

Benjamin Neelon specializes in young children's health and has partnered with communities and other policymakers to identify effective obesity prevention strategies to guide pregnant mothers, parents, caregivers, health and education professionals, and government agencies.

Learn more about Benjamin Neelon and the Lerner Professorship in this article from the Bloomberg School of Public Health.