The Houston Wellness Association (HWA) announces its lineup for the 2008 Wellness Symposium on November 13th-14th at Minute Maid Park/Union Station. This two-day event will encompass HWA’s inaugural Obesity Summit and its second-annual Worksite Wellness Conference.

The Wellness Symposium promises to be the most unique two-day healthcare event of its kind in the country, said Mayor Bill White, mayor of Houston. Solutions come from action, and we™re bringing together leaders from the private, public, not-for-profit, medical and academic sectors together to translate knowledge into collaborative action.

The Wellness Symposium will feature two days of distinct programming. The Obesity Summit, to be held Thursday, November 13, will focus on the impact of obesity from personal, physiologic, economic, and environmental levels. It will feature world-renowned experts in obesity, including William Klish, MD, Lovell Jones, PhD, and Eduardo Sanchez, MD. MPH, Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, 17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002-2006) and president of the non-profit Canyon Ranch Institute, will provide the keynote address at the Houston Wellness Association’s reception. Carmona has noted that America’s weight problem is the terror within.

Our nation is faced with a growing chronic disease burden that places a tremendous toll on individuals, families, and communities, said Dr. Carmona. We must transform our approach to health. We must move away from the current system that is focused on treating disease to a system focused on embracing wellness through prevention. If we focus our resources on prevention, we can and will reduce health care costs and save millions of lives. At Canyon Ranch Institute, we are working with our partners to help educate, inspire, and empower every person to prevent disease and embrace of life of wellness. I look forward to being a part of the Wellness Symposium with Mayor White and many friends and colleagues from the great city of Houston and beyond.

The Obesity Summit is Co-Chaired by Molly Bray, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine and Dorcas Ukpe, Associate Professor, Texas Southern University and CEO of Walk the Talk America.

The second day of the Wellness Symposium will host the second annual Worksite Wellness Conference, created to cover the latest information on improving employee health to increase productivity and profits. With the theme Worksite Wellness: Impact Your Bottom Line, Learn from Experts, Leave with Solutions & Tools, Friday, November 14 will feature a number of keynote speakers including Houston business economist Barton Smith, Ph.D., noted Sociologist on Houston Stephen Klineberg, Ph.D., Baker Institute Health Economist Vivian Ho, Ph.D., and nationally acclaimed author and research on the ROI of worksite wellness programs, Ron Goetzel, Ph.D. The day™s program will also include breakout sessions and panels lead by local and national experts in the field of Employee Wellness. The Conference Chairman is Laurie R. Lee, President, InterFit Health & Fitness Management Company. The Program Co-Chairs are Sheila Sharemet, Wellness Manager, BP and Mark Poindexter, Wellness Director, Shell.

CIGNA and KelseyCare are the 2008 Wellness Symposium Title Sponsors.

In Houston, we™re both optimistic and realistic about change, said Jonathan H. Lack, Executive Director of the HWA. We have the expertise here to know what real change will involve. As one of the country™s largest metropolitan areas that houses the largest medical center in the U.S., we™re in a unique position to start working together to effect change in our city. We™re bringing together a variety of stakeholders in one place at one time to collaborate in health and wellness solutions. Through this effort, we hope to build on a movement in Houston that will improve on the quality of health and wellness for all residents, here and across the nation.

The Houston Wellness Association is a not-for-profit 501(C6) with a mission to advance the health and well being of the Houston community and the economic vitality of its wellness sector, with a vision to transform Houston into a widely-modeled, innovative city for healthy living.

For information on the 2008 Wellness Symposium or Wellness Symposium sponsorship opportunities, visit, call 713.357.9515, or contact Jonathan H. Lack, HWA Executive Director ( or Bill Krull, HWA Membership Director ( For media inquiries, please call Laura Mayes at 713.523.7900.

The Houston Wellness Association
Laura Mayes, 713-523-7900