Ms. Mikkelsen serves on the senior management team, as managing director at Prevention Institute, supporting organizational operations and development to advance the practice of primary prevention. She manages a team of Prevention Institute staff promoting environmental and policy approaches to improving eating and physical activity habits, with a particular emphasis on addressing inequities in communities of color and low-income communities. The team develops tools and materials to support local and state-wide initiatives, build leadership capacity, and promote cross-disciplinary action. Team members facilitate strategy sessions, and provide training and consultation to government agencies, foundations, and community collaboratives on environmental strategies, coalition building, and interdisciplinary collaboration. A hallmark of their approach is the inclusion of a broad range of environmental strategies and venues, from child care, school and after school policies to breastfeeding-friendly health care and worksite policies. Ms. Mikkelsen has specialized expertise in neighborhood strategies and public policies to improve access to healthy food and physical-activity-friendly built environments in low-income communities. She is also well-versed in issues related to establishing sustainable food systems.
Ms. Mikkelsen is co-founder and Project Director for the Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments, a California coalition that has successfully advanced a broad multi-faceted environmental change agenda that has influenced state legislation and that was recently incorporated into the Governor's California Obesity Prevention plan. The team provides staffing support to the Alliance - facilitating Steering Committee meetings, maintaining the website and electronic communications, organizing educational forums and membership meetings, conducting media advocacy, and producing issue briefs and policy materials. Under Ms. Mikkelsen's leadership, Prevention Institute has developed ENACT (Environmental Nutrition and Activity Community Tool) and the ENACT Local Policy database. ENACT is an on-line interactive tool that provides specific strategies, and materials to support implementation, across a range of venues including children's institutions, neighborhoods, health care and works sites. The ENACT Local Policy provides specific language for policies passed or implemented across a range of jurisdictions. Ms. Mikkelsen served as Learning Consultant to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Childhood Obesity Team, synthesizing learnings from selected grants to improve the effectiveness of funding targeted to support environmental and policy-related projects. Ms. Mikkelsen is a policy consultant to Healthy Eating Active Living Convergence Funders Partnership, directing research related to policy priorities and synergy among diverse partner to support healthy food and activity environments.
Ms. Mikkelsen's responsibilities include overseeing qualitative research and literature reviews, and organizing convenings with researchers and practitioners to help inform policy and practice. Selected publications include: Policy and Social Action: Prevention and Social Action for the Practitioner (in Pediatric and Adolescent Obesity edited by Dennis M. Styne MD, 2008), Promising Strategies for Creating Healthy Eating and Active Living Environments (for the Healthy Eating Active Living Convergence Partnership, 2008), Where's the Fruit? Fruit Content of the Most Highly-Advertised Children?s Food and Beverages (Prevention Institute, April 2007, January, 2008), Creating Healthy Food Environments and Preventing Chronic Disease (in press, in Prevention is Primary: Strategies for Community Wellbeing, Jossey-Bass, March 2007), Healthy Eating and Physical Activity: Addressing Inequities in Urban Neighborhoods, 2007 (for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment), Environmental and Policy Approaches to Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Behaviors, 2003 (for The California Endowment), and Strategies for Action: Integrating Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion to Reach Low-Income Californians, 2002 (for The California Department of Health Services).