The Prevention Research Center (PRC) at the University of New Mexico announced recently that Dr. Richard Kozoll, one of their community partners, has been selected as a ‘Let's Move! and Physical Activity Champion of Change,' as part of President Obama's "Winning the Future" initiative. Kozoll has been recognized for his work with Step Into Cuba, a program to promote physical activity – especially outdoor walking and hiking – for improved health and quality of life.

The PRC has partnered with Kozoll and the Step Into Cuba program to provide evidence-based strategies; create and maintain a website; perform walkability audits, a walkability workshop, and a health impact assessment; conduct interviews and pedestrian counts; and begin to share lessons learned with other communities.

Kozoll has practiced family and preventive medicine in the small community of Cuba, New Mexico since 1975. An avid outdoors person, he has increasingly devoted his time to creating opportunities for an active outdoor lifestyle in his community through leadership of a Federal, State and local partnership, Step Into Cuba. The program connects local people – especially youth – to surrounding public lands through trail development, community campaigns, point-of decision prompts, exercise prescriptions and referrals, social support and roadway pedestrian enhancements. Step Into Cuba was awarded the 2010 American Trails' national Trails for Health award. His personal reward is observing his neighbors and patients improve their health through introduction of outdoor physical activity into their lives.

On March 22, Kozoll will be honored at the White House along with other leaders who are doing great work to increase access to physical activity for youth in their community. Dr. Sally M. Davis, director of the University of New Mexico PRC, will attend the event representing the PRC partnership with Step Into Cuba. The Champions of Change program is part of an ongoing effort by the White House to recognize groups of Americans, businesses or organizations who embody 'Innovate, Educate, and Build.'

Different groups are highlighted each week ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community activists. For this event the White House Office of Public Engagement is partnering with the First Lady's Let's Move! team to host an event at the White House to honor those who are "Winning the Future" by empowering and inspiring the youth in their communities to lead active, healthy lifestyles.

To watch this event live, visit White House Live at 11:30 a.m. MDT Thursday, March 22.

To find out more about Champions of Change and Dr. Kozoll's contributions, visit Champions or Step Into Cuba.

For more about the University of New Mexico PRC, visit Prevention Research Center.