Live Well Omaha Kids is excited to have two awesome interns supporting our collective work. This week we’d like to introduce Melanie Chapman:

I have been deeply engaged in a field of research and practice called physical literacy which is internationally defined as the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for maintaining purposeful physical pursuits/activities throughout the life course. In this view, physical activity is appreciated for its intrinsic value as well as its contribution to health and wellbeing. In my first year as physical education student in the late 1990s, I became interested in issues of health and social justice after volunteering on a First Nation reserve in Northern Ontario. There are many barriers that limit the opportunity to be healthy and active: it is important to me to work with communities to eliminate these structures and conditions. This experience also expanded my preconceptions about movement, particularly the importance of non-sport movements such as dance and the connections we can make with each other through movement. My motto is to “move, and move often”.

My interest in human movement and the social and environmental processes that support them thrived throughout my graduate studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. During my time in Alberta, I had many opportunities to explore my passion for research. With the Clear Outcomes research program in leadership science, I was able to build my knowledge of the impact of specific leadership practices on outcomes for the health system, the healthcare workforce, and for patients and their families. Similarly, at the Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence (ARCHE), I was part of a multidisciplinary team that supported the development of evidence-informed practice and knowledge translation activities to help inform clinical and policy decisions. Simply, I find comfort in knowing that the research I help conduct can give people better lives.

I am currently in my second year in the Public Administration doctoral program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Now I finally have the opportunity to pursue my own research interests in public policy and policy communities related to physical activity and obesity, as well as broader policy issues in community health including coalitions and partnerships, community building, advocacy, policy development, and environmental change.

So, it is fitting that I feel very lucky that I get to try a completely different working environment outside of the academic setting and into the community with Live Well Omaha and Live Well Omaha Kids. This internship is a great opportunity to gain experience related to my studies and interests. Working with the LWOK collective has exercised and furthered my leadership, communication, and problem-solving

Growing up as a competitive athlete, I still feel the need for some healthy competition. I have been challenging myself in triathlon since 2007 and have traveled to many great places to race. In September 2018, I’ll be heading to Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa for the 70.3 World Championships. Here’s a photo of me racing in Boulder, Colorado this past August: