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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 18, 2018

Keynote speaker at Healthy Lifestyles Conference presenting on ‘The Happiness Diet’ in April

Mar 09, 2018

The Southeast Iowa Regional Coalition for Lifestyle Enhancement (SIRCLE) continues their tradition of bringing a conference to the area focused on health and wellness issues. The 12th Annual Healthy Lifestyles Conference will take place on April 4, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Comfort Suites in Burlington.

“This year we have some great speakers lined up, including the return of Dr. Ann,” said Christin O’Brien, conference committee member. “For several years now conference attendees have mentioned that they would like to see her back, and we are thrilled we were able to make it work this year.”

Dr. Ann Kulze first presented at the Healthy Lifestyles Conference in 2008. Kulze will be a keynote presenter with “The Happiness Diet,” which relates to diet and brain health. She will then do the capstone with “The Rest of the Story,” which will focus on how lifestyle factors can add years to your life and life to your years.

Kulze is a best-selling author and physician in the areas of nutrition, healthy living and disease prevention. She received her undergraduate degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Clemson University and her medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina. She is the Founder and CEO of the wellness education firm, Just Wellness LLC.

The midday speaker will be Chris Espersen, MSPH, with the presentation Fields of Opportunities: Addressing Barriers to Food Security in Iowa. This presentation will address how to define the Social Determinants of Health (SDH), identify the impact of SDH on nutrition and healthy lifestyles, and discuss various interventions that address food insecurity.

Espersen is the President of Espersen and Associates, where she creates strategic plans, tool kits, coaching models and presentations for public health and health care organizations to maximize their patient engagement, population health and quality improvement outcomes.

The breakout sessions will feature two presentations and panel discussion: Lynda Murray, MA, RDN, and Bethany Porter, MBA, with There’s No Such Thing as an “Innocent” Diet — Fad Diets be Damned; Morgan Hoenig with Local Food and Health; Emily Biddenstadt, Jamie Dengler, and Zach James with Difficulties in Living Healthy Lifestyles and Strategies to Improve Our Environment.

The conference is for health professionals, school personnel, community leaders and the general public. The registration fee increases after March 28. There is a student discount.

There will be six contact hours of Continuing Education Credits available for nurses through Southeastern Community College (provider number 24) on the day of the conference. Registration includes lunch, beverage break and conference materials.

New to the 2018 conference is online registration through Eventbrite at

For more information on the conference or to receive a registration brochure, contact Christine O’Brien at 319-753-0193 or at Also, a brochure can also be downloaded at in the “Special Events” section.

The SIRCLE partners for the Healthy Lifestyles Conference are the Lee County Health Department, Community Action of Southeast Iowa, Iowa State University Extension, Great River Health Systems, Southeastern Community College, Healthy Henry County Communities, Food Freedom by Michelle Kuster, and Des Moines County Living Well.

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