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What We Do

A new focus for the foundation is the rising epidemic in childhood obesity in our state, which is a direct pipeline to diabetes and heart disease.

The statistics are alarming as 39% of Arkansas’ children are now considered overweight and obese.These children are in grave danger of developing heart disease prematurely if they stay on their current path.

To combat this epidemic, the Arkansas Heart Foundation (dba Champions for Health) is launching a pilot program with Morrilton Intermediate school during the 2018-2019 school year. Our goal is to infuse fitness activities and nutrition education on the school campus for both students and faculty!

The pilot project includes implementing a nationally recognized PE curriculum, plus each student will receive a state-of-the-art fitness assessment at the beginning and end of the school year. The assessment will not compare students to each other, but will instead assess fitness and health levels to determine which students may be at risk.

In addition, a school garden is envisioned to teach students where real food comes from, and to show them how to cook what they have grown. The students will also have the opportunity to take field trips to the Arkansas Heart Hospital to visit with AHH doctors and their nationally recognized chef!

The adults on the school campus will also have the opportunity to become heart healthy and inspired by working one-on-one with a dedicated health coach, so the entire school environment will be impacted!   

The foundation’s ultimate goal is to create a replicable model for schools across the state, which means the heart health of every school age child in Arkansas could be impacted by the development of this pilot school!  

With heart disease being the number one killer in the world, our nation, and in Arkansas:  

YOU can help impact these statistics by becoming a CHAMPION for health and contributing to the Arkansas Heart Foundation (dba Champions for Health) a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated solely to improving the health and fitness of children across Arkansas. 

Donate button can be found at top of page. 


  • Karey Tapley, former Principal ; Sarah Stobaugh, current Principal- Morrilton Intermediate School (MIS)
  • Zac Noland - Morrilton Intermediate School
  • Todd Sparks - Morrilton Intermediate School
  • Melinda Lentz, Kitchen Manager - Morrilton Intermediate School
  • Jerri Clark, Director - School Health Services, Arkansas Dept. of Education
  • Tina Smith, Director - Policy and Special Projects - Arkansas Dept. of Education
  • Amy Fecher, Chief Transformation Officer - Office of Governor Asa Hutchison
  • Miranda Morris, Executive Director - Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI)
  • Sylvia Stewart, Executive Assistant, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI)
  • Dr. Tony Goudie, Director - Research and Evaluation - ACHI
  • Carole Garner, Senior Associate- ACHI
  • Dr. Beth Crowder - Arkansas Heart Hospital (AHH)
  • Casey Atwood, Director - Food and Nutritional Services- AHH
  • Sheron Wiess, Diabetic Educator - AHH
  • Shelby Pierceall, Clinical Dietitian - AHH
  • Christine Alongi, Director - Cardiac Intensive Rehab - AHH 
  • Jonathan Bierman - Gardener - AHH
  • Dr. Jeremy Lyon, President - Youth Division - Cooper Institute, Dallas TX (FitnessGram)
  • Emily English, Program Administrator - Dept. of Pediatrics, AR Children's Research Institute, Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program
  • Eric Gist and Darla Henry - Outreach Specialists - AR Children's Hospital (CATCH Program)
  • Charlotte Hall, Community Liaison - Whole Foods
  • Marsha Masters, Associate Director - Economics Arkansas
  • Sue Owens, Vickie Wingfield, Lauralee Neldon, Alicia McGhee, Champions for Health staff
  • Wendy Ward, Co-Director - Pediatric Psychology, UAMS and AR Children's Hospital
  • Shannon Autrey, Agent - Conway County Extension Agent, FCS
  • Alex Handfinger, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Cooking Matters
  • Taren Swindle, Phd, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Family and Preventive Medicine, UAMS