Amy Joy Lanou has been appointed as the new executive director of the North Carolina Center for Health & Wellness (NCCHW) at UNC Asheville. NCCHW works statewide to impact policy, build capacity and create health initiatives through a web of community partners all over North Carolina providing wellness programs and education.
A professor who has served on the faculty for 13 years, Lanou will continue to teach courses, do research and chair the university’s Department of Health and Wellness, in addition to leading NCCHW.
“I am honored to be stepping into this role to work with the accomplished NCCHW staff,” says Lanou. “I see this as an opportunity for our academic Department of Health and Wellness and our Healthy Campus Initiative, focused on expanding a culture of health for UNC Asheville students and employees, to work more closely together with our outward-facing NCCHW team addressing primary prevention and health equity statewide.”
The author of more than 25 scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, British Medical Journal, Nutrition Research and Cochrane Reviews, Lanou served five years as nutrition director and 10 years as senior nutrition scientist on a consulting basis for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She presents frequently at scholarly conferences. Her research interests include nutrition for the prevention of chronic disease, nutrition and bone health, and how experiential food education impacts what individuals know, think and do with respect to dietary choices.
Lanou also is a leading advocate for plant-based diets, and frequently appears in national and international media coverage of nutrition issues. She is co-author of two books for general audiences, Building Bone Vitality: A Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis—Without Dairy Foods, Calcium, Estrogen or Drugs, and Healthy Eating for Life for Children. Lanou will offer a free public talk on plant-based nutrition and the benefits of dairy-free eating patterns on Aug. 29 as part of Asheville’s Vegan Awareness Week.
At NCCCW, Lanou will lead a staff of six with offices in Asheville and Raleigh. Through two core initiatives, Healthy Aging NC and Culture of Results, NCCHW and its community partners collectively work to improve health outcomes for historically marginalized populations statewide and build systems to support the inclusivity and decision-making abilities of these underserved populations long term.
Healthy Aging NC provides statewide training, data reporting and management, and technical assistance for evidence-based health programs. The Culture of Results (CoR) Initiative is a training and technical assistance program that strengthens coordination at the state, regional and local levels, assessing impact, and improving programs and systems. NCCHW’s growing list of partners can be found at ncchw.unca.edu.