Antronette “Toni” Yancey, MD, MPH, received the 2012 APHA Award for Excellence for her work on improving community health, especially obesity prevention and control among the underserved.
The award honors creative work that applies scientific knowledge or innovative organization to the betterment of community health.
Yancey, whose primary research interests are in chronic disease prevention and adolescent health promotion, developed the Instant Recess®, or IR, intervention, previously called Lift Off! IR breaks are short, enjoyable, themed bouts of physical activity, usually performed to music, with simple movements based on sports or ethnic dance traditions and scientifically designed to engage major muscle groups and maximize energy expenditure while minimizing perceived exertion and injury risk.
Yancey’s IR program approach has been used in hundreds of worksites and thousands of schools, three professional sports teams and two regional/national religious institutions. Implementation, process or outcome evaluation data have been published or are in press in 20 journal articles and two dissertations. The intervention also is the topic of the book Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time.
Yancey is a professor in the Department of Health Services at the University of California, Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health and co-director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity. She has directed or co-directed her department’s leadership DrPH program since 2002. Yancey returned to academia full-time after five years in public health practice, first as director of public health for the city of Richmond, Va., and then as director of chronic disease prevention and health promotion for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Public Health Branch.
Yancey has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, editorials and book chapters and serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the Journal of Physical Activity and Health and the American Journal of Health Promotion. She serves on the board of directors of the Partnership for a Healthier America, which is the non-profit organization supporting First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to end childhood obesity, and the Los Angeles County First 5 Commission. She is immediate past chair of the board of directors of the Public Health Institute, and among her many appointments serves on the Institute of Medicine Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention and National Physical Activity Plan Coordinating Committee.
Her numerous awards and honors include the CDC Weight of the Nation™ Pioneering Innovations Award, the California Endowment Health Happens Here Hero Award, the California Public Health Association’s Joint Health Promotion Award, the California Black Women’s Health Project Women Who Dared Award and the California State Assembly’s 47th District Woman of the Year.