About Us

Penn State PRO Wellness is a non-profit organization that is committed to educating and inspiring youth and their families to eat well, engage in regular physical activity, and become champions for bringing healthy choices to life.

Our approach of Prevention, Research and Outreach provides schools, communities and like-minded organizations with program development and implementation, assessment and evaluation, capacity building, technical assistance, collaborative partnerships and access to proven wellness interventions.

Since 2003, the Center has led statewide efforts to promote healthy eating and active living for youth and families. The Center’s work has contributed to significant institutional changes statewide and has focused on several key areas:

  • Providing informative and educational programs and materials to schools, youth and their families
  • Collaborating with schools, communities, and like-minded organizations on projects related to promoting nutrition and physical activity behaviors
  • Implementing research-based interventions in the school and community settings and disseminating innovative solutions and methods
  • Obtaining funding and in-kind support for its work from foundations, industry and state/federal government sources
  • Growing Healthy Champions throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Of course, we cannot do this important work alone. Please do not hesitate to ask how you can participate in the Center’s efforts, either with your time, talents or philanthropy. Together, we can make a difference in helping improve the lives of those around us – one child, one family and one community at a time. Thank you for supporting our efforts!

  • 2019

    Dr. Deepa Sekhar becomes Executive Director.

  • 2016

    In April 2016, the Center became known as Penn State PRO Wellness.

  • 2015

    Dr. Jennifer Kraschnewski became Executive Director.

  • 2013

    CNAP changed its name to Penn State Hershey PRO (‘Prevention, Research, and Outreach’) Wellness Center—a rebranding decision that propelled the Center to work more heavily in public health.

  • 2009

    Donna Kephart became the Center’s Executive Director.

  • 2007

    In 2007, PANA/I-CAAN set their sights on the Hershey campus. They established a new affiliation in the Health Evaluation Sciences Department (now Public Health Sciences) at Penn State College of Medicine and became Penn State Hershey Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion (CNAP).

    PANA/I-CAAN received a five-year, $1 million grant from the Highmark Foundation. A teenager empowerment campaign, nrg-Powered by Choice Teen Movement, forwarded a mission to obtain teen champions in high schools to learn healthy habits, adopt them and advocate for fellow students to do the same.

  • 2006

    PANA established a new organizational home through the Penn State Institute for the Collective Advancement of Activity and Nutrition (I-CAAN), a joint initiative between Penn State Outreach and the College of Health and Human Development.

  • 2004

    PANA established its connection to Penn State by joining Penn State Outreach.

    Schools required a wellness policy (mandated in 2004 by the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act). The Healthy Champions Program was created.

  • 2003

    The Pennsylvania Advocates for Nutrition and Activity (PANA) was created through a partnership with Pennsylvania Department of Health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention grant to support healthy community activities in Pennsylvania.