Taking Steps Together Program: Staff
Rachel Newby, Program Coordinator
Rachel Newby grew up in South Minneapolis. She is a graduate of Marquette University with a degree in Urban Studies and Spanish. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, she worked in Paraguay, South America, where she had a chance to practice her Spanish while working in a number of community projects, including public health and youth development. Those experiences helped her realize that the work she would be happiest doing would involve helping people make their own lives better. She found that niche at HCMC when she joined the staff in June 2010 at Taking Steps Together.
With a parent who is a food educator, having the chance to work with families to help them discover how to make food tasty and attractive is also an opportunity to share some of the things her family has always practiced: Find the best, freshest ingredients you can afford, use them creatively, have fun cooking and enjoy what you make with family and friends. Rachel is an active community volunteer serving as a board member of Minnesota Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, working with a Latina Girl Scout Troop at Washburn Senior High School during the school year and cooking at Open Arms of Minnesota.
John Anderson, MD
Dr. John Anderson grew up in Minneapolis, graduated from Macalester College with a biology degree, and completed medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. He was a pediatric resident at the University of Minnesota where he also served for a year as chief pediatric resident. He is currently a pediatrician in general practice at HCMC, seeing patients at both the downtown and Richfield clinics.
When he saw increasing numbers of young patients who were either living with obesity or seemed headed in that direction, John and his colleagues talked about how they could work to reverse or prevent this problem. They wanted a way to involve children and their families in creating their own solutions for healthy living. That is when he became involved with the Taking Steps Together program and helped to start the Windom class.
The outdoors, especially hiking, canoeing and camping has always been a source of fun and joy for John. He enjoys running and feels lucky to live in the Twin Cities, one of the best urban running spots in the country. John and his wife live in St. Paul with their son Porter and dog Lincoln.
Diana Cutts, MD
Dr. Cutts graduated from the University of Illinois. She completed her residency training in pediatrics at Boston University and Harvard University. She has been involved with clinical care, teaching, and research for over twenty years in the Twin Cities. Her work on childhood hunger and related adverse outcomes have been published and provided testimony at state and national congressional hearings.
Dr. Cutts is the Assistant Chief of Pediatrics at Hennepin County Medical Center and directs the Children's Growth and Nutrition Program. She is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Also a mom, Dr. Cutts benefits from continuous in-the-trenches training at the hands of her four children.
Laurie Hanson, Masters in Nutritional Science, RD
When asked about her involvement in Taking Steps Together, Laurie said, “I have been involved since the beginning, about five years ago. It's been fun to see how it has grown over the years!”
She has been at HCMC for six and a half years. At HCMC, Laurie works with a variety of patients from premature infants to teens. She really enjoys working with kids and teenagers. She especially enjoys working with families.
Laurie’s favorite part of TST is trying new things. She loves introducing kids and teens to the new foods we cook in class and seeing how surprised they are that they like them (like green smoothies).
Laurie loves walking her dog, doing yoga, gardening and reading great books. Laurie has two children, a 25-year-old daughter (pictured here) and a 22-year-old son. Laurie lives in Rockford, west of Twin Cities, with her dog, Teddy.
Lisa Molnar, RD, LD
Lisa grew up in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a Bachelors of Science in Dietetics. Lisa completed her Dietetic Internship at Edward Hines VA Hospital in Illinois.
Lisa started her work at HCMC as a general dietician, working in all areas of the hospital and clinics. Lisa has worked with Taking Steps Together (TST) for the past four years. During her clinic hours she focuses on Medical Intensive Care Unit and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) clinic.
When asked what her favorite part of Taking Steps Together is Lisa says, “Getting to know the families. I love watching families make good choices for themselves so they are able to live more healthy and happy lives.”
Lisa loves to play outside, eat good food and spend time with family and friend. She, her husband and their son live in Bloomington.
Patty Barland, RD
Patty grew up in Minneapolis and graduated from Regina High School and from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Clinical Nutrition. With 25 years of service to HCMC, she is the longest-serving employee on the TST Team. During that time, Patty has seen an increased number of young patients living with obesity or headed in that direction.
Patty and her colleagues at the Richfield Clinic discussed ways to prevent or reverse the increase in childhood obesity. They thought the TST program at HCMC-downtown presented a successful model to emulate. They partnered with TST program staff and the Windom Community Center and thus a second TST program was born. Patty also works in diabetes education and as a lactation consultant.
Patty’s philosophy for a healthy life is simple: Spend less time in front of the television. Spend more time in the kitchen. Make preparing real food fun. She has helped make that a guiding principle for all of the TST programs.
The outdoors, especially gardening, biking, running and beekeeping are Patty’s favorite ways to spend time with her family and enjoy nature. If you visit the Huerta del Eden (TST-Family Community Garden) you might see Patty and her husband working on the adjacent plot.
Anna Richardson, Program Coordinator
Anna Richardson is a native Minnesotan. She grew up eating around a table with her family, and enjoys doing the same with her TST-family each week.
Anna is interested in the power of food from an agricultural angle. It took one summer in a kids' garden in Madison, WI for her to realize that kids and vegetables make for fun, challenging, and rewarding work. Before joining the TST team, Anna spent a year in Jackson, Mississippi as a Garden Educator through Food Corps at two public schools. While in Jackson, she learned that reaching whole families was important for affecting long-lasting lifestyle habits. When she returned to Minnesota, Anna interned with the Minneapolis Public Schools' Farm to School Coordinator where she conducted lessons about fruits and vegetables and expanded the amount of local produce used in school lunches.
Anna volunteered for TST for many months before joining the team as an official staff member. She is committed to TST's methods of family involvement to make exercise fun, and healthy eating simple and tasty.