Michael O'Donnell hosts conference panel on Colorado’s Commitment to Become the Healthiest State in the Nation

Colorado’s Commitment to Become the Healthiest State in the Nation

Michael P. O'Donnell, MBA, MPH, PhD

Program Chair, Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference; CEO, Art and Science of Health Promotion Institute

Donna Lynne, MPA, DrPH

Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer, State of Colorado

James Hill, PhD

Anschutz Professor of Health and Wellness Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine


In 2013, Governor John Hickenlooper announced his audacious commitment to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation with a focus on improving the health of individuals through high quality medical care and lifestyle improvement, and also by making Colorado a place where medical care and health promotion businesses can thrive. This mobilized a diverse group of leaders in healthcare, health promotion, community development and policy to develop and implement a strategic plan. Is the Governor’s goal realistic? Is the strategic plan sound? Are good measures in place to monitor progress? What are the biggest achievements and disappointments? What is the outlook for the future? What can other states learn from Colorado’s experience? A panel of the people responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating this bold dream will reflect on these questions.


Presenter Bio(s):

Michael O’Donnell is CEO of the Art & Science of Health Promotion Institute. He is also founder of the American Journal of Health Promotion, founder and program chair of the Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference, and founder and chairman emeritus of Health Promotion Advocates.

He has worked directly with more than 150 employers, health care organizations, government agencies, foundations, insurance companies and health promotion providers to develop and refine health promotion programs, products and policies, and has served in leadership roles in four major health systems, including the Cleveland Clinic, as well as serving as the Director of the Health Management Research Center at the University of Michigan.

He has authored more than 200 articles, book chapters and columns, books and workbooks, including Health Promotion in the Workplace, which has been in continuous publication since 1983, updated into 5 editions and translated into four languages. He has presented more than 300 keynote and workshop presentations on six continents, served on boards and committees for 49 non-profit and for-profit organizations and received 15 national awards. He conceived and authored legislation that was incorporated into the Affordable Care Act, including provisions that resulted in production of the annual National Prevention Strategy. He earned a PhD in Health Behavior from University of Michigan, an MBA in General Management and an MPH in Hospital Management, both from University of California, Berkeley, and an AB in psychobiology from Oberlin College. He attended high school and was later a Senior Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor in Seoul Korea.


Donna Lynne, DrPH, was sworn in as Colorado’s 49th Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer on May 12, 2016. She is widely respected as both a leader in the private sector and an expert in the health field. Her responsibilities include developing and implementing all health programs for the State of Colorado.
Prior to assuming her roles in Colorado state government, Dr. Lynne served as the executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and as group president responsible for its Colorado, Pacific Northwest and Hawaii regions – overseeing an $8 billion budget, 1.4 million members and 16,000 employees.

From 1998 to April 2005, Dr. Lynne was the executive vice president and chief operating officer for Group Health Inc., a $2.5 billion managed care organization. In the mid-1990s, she was the executive director of the New York Business Group on Health.

Dr. Lynne also spent 20 years working in various positions in New York City government, including first deputy commissioner, Office of Labor Relations; director, Mayor’s Office of Operations; and senior vice president, New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.
In addition to her role as an International Executive Fellow with the International Federation of Health Plans, Dr. Lynne is the recipient of numerous honors and accolades, including the Denver Business Journal’s 2008 Outstanding Women in Business award; the 2009 Distinguished Coloradan Award from the University of Colorado Denver School of Pharmacy; the President’s Award from Women in Health Management; and the Health Care Leadership Award from the New York Business Group on Health.
She formerly served on the boards of the Denver Metro Chamber. Colorado Education Initiative, Colorado Mountain Club, Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Public Schools Foundation, Teach for America-Colorado, U.S. Bank Colorado Advisory Board, and is the former chair of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Lynne was a co-chair for the Denver Education Compact Executive Advisory Board for Mayor Michael B. Hancock. In 2010, she was one of 16 statewide transition co-chairs and the Personnel and Administration Committee co-chair for Governor John Hickenlooper.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics and Political Science), a Masters of Public Administration, and Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University. She also holds the designation of Certified Employee Benefits Specialist from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans/University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. In 2014, Dr. Lynne received an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of Denver. Since 2005, she has been an adjunct associate professor of Public Health at Columbia University.

Dr. Lynne resides in Denver and has three children and two step-children. She enjoys skiing, mountaineering, cycling and reading. She has climbed all 58 of Colorado’s Fourteeners.


James O. Hill, PhD is Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and the Founding Executive Director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado. He is also Director of the NIH-funded Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC). He holds a B.S. degree from the University of Tennessee and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of New Hampshire in Physiological Psychology. He was Chair of the first World Health Organization Consultation on Obesity in 1997. He was President of The Obesity Society (TOS) 1997-8 and the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) 2008-9. He was a member of the NIH Expert Panel on Obesity that developed first U.S guidelines for the treatment and prevention of obesity. Dr. Hill has published more than 600 scientific articles and book chapters. Many of these focus on the importance of healthy eating and physical activity in weight management. He is the recipient of the several awards from The Obesity Society and from the American Society for Nutrition. He is the 2012 Atwater Lecturer for the US Department of Agriculture. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2014. Dr. Hill is a cofounder of the National Weight Control Registry, a registry of individuals who have been successful in maintenance of a reduced body weight. He is co-founder of America on the Move, a national weight gain prevention initiative that aims to inspire Americans to make small changes to prevent weight gain. He is the author of the Step Diet Book, published in June 2004 and the State of Slim published in August 2013.