Kansas City's Center for Children's Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition seeks to become a leading voice in the local, regional and national movement to prevent and treat childhood obesity. As a comprehensive pediatric center, our primary goal is to contribute new knowledge regarding pediatric obesity and nutrition ranging in scope from its biological origins to its societal impact. Research currently conducted in the Center includes evidence-based, comprehensive studies of the assessment of behavior, nutrition and physical activity interventions on prevention and treatment, the development and analysis of public policy pertaining to pediatric obesity, the development of programs to engage communities, and the provision of leadership regarding education related to obesity prevention and treatment. We also offer many excellent clinical programs, including PHIT Kids, Zoom to Health, Healthy Hawks and our Weight Management clinics. Weighing In, a community collaborative, is also a key program at the Center, as is the Healthy Lifestyles Initiative. Future directions for research will include relevant genomics pertaining to obesity and its association with secondary disease processes and the impact of chronic over- and under-nutrition on drug disposition and action. We are committed to reaching all children in our area, especially those in underserved, ethnic minority, low-income communities, and in assisting others to do so.

Kansas City's Center for Children's Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition represents an extension of the committed collaboration in the area of pediatric obesity research between two neighboring institutions who serve the health needs of children across the bi-state region of Missouri and Kansas. Supported by a state-of-the-art facility, researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Children's Mercy Hospital lead a wide range of childhood obesity treatment and prevention initiatives designed to benefit children, families and communities. The Center is poised to serve as a leader for pediatric obesity research in the Midwest and as a centralized resource for community members, academic and business leaders who are interested in arresting the current rates of childhood obesity and moving forward to ensure the healthy lifestyles and nutrition of all children.

Faculty Ann Davis, PhD, MPH, ABPP
Center Director

Dr. Ann Davis is a pediatric psychologist who is passionate about the intersection between behavioral principles and eating/nutrition. The core of her work focuses on pediatric obesity in urban and rural children, and is treatment outcome focused. She is also interested in behavioral principles as they apply to young children who do not eat enough to sustain a healthy weight.

Brooke Sweeney, MD, FAAP
Center Medical Director

Dr. Brooke Sweeney is a Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatric Physician and the Medical Director of Weight Management services at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. Nationally, she is on the Governance Board of POWER (Pediatric Obesity Weight Evaluation Registry) and the Associate Director of POWER Recruitment. Dr. Sweeney is active in the Weight Management Expert Exchange of the Children's Hospital Association/American Academy of Pediatrics Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight. Her clinical expertise is in prevention and treatment of chronic disease, weight management, and clinical care for children with obesity. Her research interests include improving the effectiveness of weight management clinics, transitional care, and using a national registry to improve pediatric weight management.

Children's Mercy Hospital Amy Beck, PhD

Dr. Amy Beck is a clinical psychologist at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Dr. Beck primarily provides psychological services for families involved in multidisciplinary weight management treatment. She is particularly interested in the impact of psychosocial factors in the etiology and maintenance of pediatric obesity.

Meredith Dreyer, PhD
Associate Director

Dr. Meredith Dreyer is a pediatric psychologist at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. She works primarily in the treatment and prevention of childhood obesity, with a special emphasis on the challenges that are encountered among parents of young children and those with special needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorders or Down Syndrome.

Sarah Hampl, MD

Dr. Sarah Hampl is a member of the Section of General Pediatrics at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. She is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Dr. Hampl works in the areas of childhood obesity treatment, prevention, healthcare professional education and community and statewide advocacy.

Cara M. Hoffart, DO, MSCE

Dr. Cara Hoffart is a pediatric rheumatologist at Children's Mercy Hospital and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dr. Hoffart specializes in pediatric pain amplification syndromes.

Dustin Wallace, PhD

Dr. Dustin Wallace is a pediatric psychologist at Children's Mercy Hospital and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dr. Wallace specializes in pain management, pediatric pain rehabilitation and acceptance based treatment.

University of Kansas Medical Center Amanda Bruce, PhD

Dr. Amanda Bruce uses functional neuroimaging (fMRI) to conduct research on how the brain is involved in childhood obesity. She is also interested in the ability to delay gratification and how this contributes to obesity.

Visit UMKC Perspectives magazine to read about the gut revolution by visiting http://info.umkc.edu/perspectives/features/the-gut-revolution

Leon Greene, PhD

Dr. Leon Greene is a faculty member in the Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences Department at the University of Kansas. During the last 10 years, he has been involved with research projects involving school age children that studied nutrition and physical activity intervention programs as well as examining the relationship of physical activity to academic achievement. He has trained a number of educators on how to use physical activity to deliver academic lessons.

Debra Sullivan, PhD

Dr. Debra Sullivan is Department Chair of Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Midwest Dairy Council Professor in Clinical Nutrition. Her research focuses on prevention and treatment of obesity and its co-morbid conditions. She also maintains a nutrition assessment laboratory in order to conduct measurement of dietary intake and body composition.

Susana Patton, PhD, CDE

Dr. Susana Patton is a pediatric psychologist. Her research focuses on the promotion of health and the prevention of disease-related complications through diet, a healthy lifestyle, and improved adherence to medical treatment for children living with chronic illness. The core of her work centers on children with type 1 diabetes mellitus and she is conducting both treatment outcome and descriptive studies. Dr. Patton is also interested in child eating behaviors as they relate to child nutrition and overweight and she has an interest in research related to the treatment of common childhood digestive problems, including constipation.

University of Missouri-Kansas City Faculty Jennifer Lundgren, PhD

Dr. Jennifer Lundgren's primary area of research is on night eating syndrome (NES). She is currently collaborating on a longitudinal family study of NES among children and parents enrolled in QUALITY (QUebec Adiposity and Lifestyle InvesTigation in Youth), a study on the prevention of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents.

Graduate Research Staff

William (Bill) Black is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Missouri — Kansas City. His interests are in behavioral pediatric psychology and clinical child psychology. Bill's previous and current work has centered on issues pertaining to pediatric obesity, particularly obesity-specific health-related quality of life, impulsivity, and children's ability to make future oriented decisions. Additionally, Bill recently completed the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Disabilities (LEND) program at the University of Kansas, where he received training in the assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders. At the Center for Children's Healthy Lifestyles and Nutrition, Bill is helping to complete a study evaluating meal-time behaviors in children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and how meal-time behaviors are related to physical (e.g., weight) and dietary (e.g., caloric intake) outcomes.

Kelsey Briggs Borner is a graduate student in the Clinical Child Psychology doctoral program at the University of Kansas. Kelsey is primarily interested in the effectiveness of pediatric obesity interventions for weight-related change, health-related quality of life, and symptoms of mood disorders. Kelsey is currently investigating the relations between physical activity, quality of life, and mood, in the treatment of obesity.

Teresa Yeong-Yi Pan is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at the University of Kansas. Her primary research interests are in common comorbidities that occur with obesity and eating disorders, such as depression. Teresa's previous work was supported by the University of Kansas's Psychology Strategic Initiative Grant and Doctoral Student Research Fund, and explored cognitive and neural processing of facial size and valence in depression and obesity. Her current work is evaluating the longitudinal relationship between weight and depression in children and adolescents. Teresa also plans to evaluate how behavioral weight loss programs may affect symptoms of depression in parent-child dyads.

Kati Poppert is a doctoral student in the Clinical Child Psychology Program at the University of Kansas. Her primary research interest within pediatric psychology is treatment outcome, specifically emphasizing the intersection between health and behavior. Her research includes a variety of pediatric populations using objective measures of behavior including fMRI, actigraphy, and neuropsychological tasks. Kati's current research involves functional neuroimaging to examine impulsivity in children and their mothers participating in a weight management program. She is also working on projects involving prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity.

Nora Sporn is a graduate student in the Clinical Health Psychology Program at the University of Kansas. Her primary interests are in health behaviors and health related quality of life for children and families, particularly related to overweight and obesity. Nora plans to pursue research related to adherence to health behavior change as well as biological, psychological, familial and socio-economic influences on childhood eating behavior and health related quality of life.


Children's Mercy Hospital

Administrative Assistant
Renée VanErp

Director of Professional Services
Amy Wolf, MS, C-TAGME

Nurse Manager
Venise Mobley, RN, MSN, CPN

Member Institutions Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics

Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, founded in 1897 with one bed, now serves as a 314-bed comprehensive pediatric medical center serving children from throughout western Missouri, eastern Kansas and the Midwest. We are the only freestanding pediatric hospital system between St. Louis and Denver, Omaha and Little Rock. Our institution consists of two pediatric acute care hospitals, primary and specialty care clinics, outreach clinics, and a transport program named 2007 Transport Program of the Year by the Association of Air Medical Services. Throughout its 113-year history, the hospital has been steadfast in its policy of providing care to all children, regardless of their family's ability to pay. On average, nearly half of all children served at the hospital receive Medicaid or are uninsured. In FY 2009, Children's Mercy provided pediatric specialty care to more than 1,000 children every day, with a total of 14,621 inpatient admissions, over 301,428 outpatient clinic visits, 137,255 emergency room /urgent care center visits and 3,207 home health visits.

University of Kansas Medical Center

The University of Kansas Medical Center, an integral and unique component of the University of Kansas and the Kansas Board of Regents system, is composed of the School of Medicine, located in Kansas City and Wichita, the School of Nursing, the School of Health Professions, the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, and a Graduate School. The KU Medical Center is a complex institution whose basic functions include research, education, patient care, and community service involving multiple constituencies at state and national levels.

The University of Kansas Medical Center is a major research institution primarily serving the State of Kansas as well as the nation, and the world, and assumes leadership in the discovery of new knowledge and the development of programs in research, education, and patient care. The KU Medical Center recognizes the importance of meeting the wide range of health care needs in Kansas – from the critical need for primary care in rural and other underserved areas of the state, to the urgent need for highly specialized knowledge to provide the latest preventive and treatment techniques available. As the major resources in the Kansas Board of Regents system for preparing health care professionals, the programs of the KU Medical Center must be comprehensive and maintain the high scholarship and academic excellence on which the reputation of the University is based.

Current Projects

2014 Posters & Presentations 2013 Posters & Presentations CHLN Annual Report

View our Annual Report.

Read our Center Use Guidelines.


The Center for Children's Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition is based at the Donald Chisholm Center at Children's Mercy Hospital, a 14,000 square foot facility designed to support clinical and bench research, individual clinical and group educational interventions and house faculty and research staff. The Center's 800 square foot demonstration kitchen features four prep stations, each with a GE Profile refrigerator and microwave. The kitchen contains four oven/stove/exhaust hood combinations and two dishwashers. The 500 square foot wet lab features extensive countertop space, an exhaust hood and a -80 degree freezer. Testing rooms contain an indirect calorimeter, treadmill and DEXA. Clinical exam rooms and a waiting room are also available. The Center's 2400 square foot exercise facility features treadmills, stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers and weight machines, and has a large area for group physical activity. Locker rooms, showers and laundry facilities are also available. The Center provides conference room facilities for 10-50 attendees.

Address: 610 E. 22nd St., Kansas City, Missouri 64108

Read our Center Use Guidelines.

Current Job Postings


Children's Mercy Clinics on Broadway is seeking an ambulatory Pediatrician who is interested in joining the Division of General Pediatrics and the Center for Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition. The position provides the candidate with a fantastic opportunity to practice both as a primary care academic pediatrician in the Pediatric Care Clinic as well as a specialty physician in the Weight Management Program. The position's responsibilities would be shared roughly 50/50 between the two clinical areas. The Pediatric Care Clinic is an academic primary care practice committed to outstanding patient care, quality improvement, and education. The Center for Children's Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition's Weight Management Program consists of a comprehensive multidisciplinary team committed to the prevention and treatment of obesity and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Non-tenured academic rank through the University of Missouri — Kansas City School of Medicine will be commensurate with experience.

The Division of General Academic Pediatrics supports an extensive teaching program for residents and medical students. The faculty consists of a team of 37 physicians and 17 Pediatric Nurse Practitioners working in a collegial environment. Faculty appointments are through the University of Missouri — Kansas City. The Division provides ambulatory care to more than 50,000 children annually at Children's Mercy — Broadway, Children's Mercy — West, and Operation Breakthrough. We also run several specialty clinics for children with ADHD, failure to thrive, common dermatologic conditions, and obesity. Outside the ambulatory setting, we manage a newborn well-baby care unit at Truman Medical Center and staff an inpatient teaching team at Children's Mercy Hospital — Kansas City.

The Pediatric Care Clinic (PCC) is located in newly renovated clinic and office space at Children's Mercy Clinics on Broadway. This new location is conveniently located less than two miles from the Children's Mercy main campus on Hospital Hill, and includes a Pharmacy, a Lab, and additional Children's Mercy offices. The PCC has almost doubled in size with more than 30,000 square feet of clinic space spanning two floors, including 72 exam rooms. The additional space allows Children's Mercy to continue to provide quality care for the growing number of the region's children and families seeking specialty and primary pediatric care. The PCC is also undertaking the necessary steps to gain NCQA accreditation as a Patient Centered Medical Home. More important than the accreditation, however, those that work in the PCC believe in the mission of providing the best possible care to patients and their families and are excited about the transformative changes that accompany this work. The mission of the Weight Management Program is to treat children, educate families, conduct research to find effective approaches, and lead community efforts to end childhood obesity (visit www.childrensmercy.org/weightmanagement). The Weight Management Program operates treatment clinics and group programs for children with obesity. The Weight Management program also promotes obesity prevention through an active community collaborative (see www.kcweighingin.org). Both of these programs are part of the Center for Children's Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition (see www.chlnkc.org), a cross-institutional research center focused on the healthy lifestyles of young children and their families. The Center is a 14,000 square foot facility designed to support clinical and bench research, individual clinical and group educational interventions, and house faculty and research staff. The Center's amenities include a demonstration kitchen, large equipped exercise space, multiple clinic rooms, full locker rooms, as well as the availability of indirect calorimetry, treadmill and DEXA.

For more information contact:
Ann McGrath Davis, PhD, MPH, ABPP adavis6@kumc.edu
Co-Director, Center for Children's Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition
or visit our webpage www.childrensmercy.org/weightmanagement
Interested candidates may submit CV to: physicianjobs@cmh.edu


Children's Mercy Kansas City is an independent, 354-bed pediatric health system, serving half a million patients each year from across the country. Children's Mercy has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of "America's Best Children's Hospitals" and received Magnet#® recognition three times for excellence in nursing services.

In affiliation with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, our faculty of nearly 600 pediatric subspecialists and researchers is actively involved in clinical care, pediatric research and educating the next generation of pediatric subspecialists. And, our leadership in pediatric genomic medicine and clinical pharmacology is driving research and innovation in heart care, neonatology, cancer treatment and other subspecialities to transform outcomes for children here and around the world.

Kansas City is located in the heart of America. It has small-town friendliness, with big-city dining, a variety of entertainment options, incredible jazz, professional sports, world-renowned museums, great shopping and more fountains than any city in the world, other than Rome. The city, a metropolitan area of more than 2 million people, has some of the best public school districts in the nation.

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Contact Us Please use the following information to contact us:

Amy Fox, MA, CCRC
Manager Clinical Trial Administration
The Children's Mercy Hospital
(816) 802.1208