|Interview with Kellie May, Senior Program Manager at the National Recreation and Park Association
Kellie May is a Senior Program Manager at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and has a demonstrated background in helping local park and recreation agencies implement strategies to improve healthy eating and increase physical activity. Ms. May has been with NRPA for over 5 years and for the past two years has lead NRPA’s work to implement evidence-based arthritis interventions at local park and recreation agencies. Ms. May has more than 8 years of experience managing health and physical activity programs and has a Master’s degree from George Washington University.
1. What do you think is the most important issue today in osteoarthritis?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that everyone, including those with arthritis, get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Local parks and recreation agencies provide a safe and affordable place for people with osteoarthritis to walk or do other moderate exercise every week. Physical activity, through parks and evidence-based arthritis interventions, also can help prevent or delay the progression of osteoarthritis.
2. How is your organization working to address this issue or other issues related to OA?
Since 2013, NRPA has been working to expand the reach of arthritis-appropriate evidence-based interventions (AAEBIs) including Walk with Ease (WWE), Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP), and Active Living Every Day (ALED). Through small grants, NRPA has expanded offerings to 38 local park and recreation agencies reaching approximately 4,400 participants. In 2016, through sub-grants to 29 agencies, NRPA expects to reach an additional 2,700 participants. The results of these programs couldn’t have been better- those with arthritis were more mobile, lost weight, had lower blood sugar and less joint pain.
3. What is a headline you’d like to see about osteoarthritis in five years?
Currently, there are 27 million Americans affected by osteoarthritis. In five years, we’d like to see that local park and recreation agencies across the country through a variety of evidence-based interventions are helping people better manage symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.
4. What is one interesting fact you’d like people to know about your organization?
America’s local and regional public park agencies generated nearly $140 billion in economic activity and supported almost 1 million jobs from their operations and capital spending alone in 2013. When the spending at local and regional parks is combined with that of national and state parks, public parks are responsible for more than $200 billion in annual economic activity.
5. What is your interest in the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance?
NRPA is committed to working with national partners like the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance to help people with arthritis, including osteoarthritis, reduce their pain and increase their activity levels so that they can improve their quality of life. Local park and recreation agencies are health and wellness leaders in their communities and are helping people every day do just that.