top of page

Tallahassee COPE - Leadership Team

Our Most Valuable Stakeholder is “Our Children”


Representatives from each of the four collaborators serve as the COPE Leadership Team (CLT). In addition to administering this coalition, these leaders have created the organizational structure, developed funding sources, identified public and private institutions and organizations that support COPE’s goals, and established a venue to promote the development and scope of the Tallahassee COPE Coalition with its partnering agencies, concerned families and communities.


The CLT of received a total of $600,000 of community mini grants funding to combat childhood obesity over a three-year period. Targeted areas, criteria and guidelines were identified in the Tallahassee COPE Call to Action. The first request for proposals was announced in 2012 resulted in 22 funded applicants. Through grants awarded to community based organizations, COPE’s vision and its mission has begun to impact eating habits and physical activity routines for the area’s children and families. One of the strengths of this coalition has been the ability of its membership to engage both public and private organizations in developing diverse partnerships and strategies to address the childhood obesity problem.


In June, 2012, the CLT, under the leadership of Dr. Penny Ralston, created the Youth Health Leadership Council (YHL) to encourage the participation of youth ages 11-18. As the youth arm of COPE, YHL promotes health and wellness through education and activities designed to appeal to the youth while addressing the childhood obesity. The youth use the knowledge and skills learned to improve the health of their peers, families and the boarder community. They have many opportunities within YHL to increase their knowledge about health and wellness, develop speaking skills and enhance leadership abilities while helping to improve the health of Tallahassee/Leon County. The YHL is a significant component of the COPE approach to making a positive impact city and countywide.


As the COPE Coalition work moves forward, the CLT is focusing its efforts on sustaining the engagement of our youth, their families and the community as we collectively work to combat childhood obesity in Tallahassee and Leon County.



Tallahassee COPE Leadership Team

Cynthia Harris, Ph.D., DABT

Director and Professor

Institute of Public Health

Florida A&M University

Miaisha Mitchell, B.S.

Executive Director

Greater Frenchtown Governor’s Revitalization Council, A Front Porch Florida Imitative

Penny Ralston, Ph.D.

Professor, Dean Emeritus & Director

Florida State University Center

on Better Health and Life for Underserved Populations

Sokoya Finch, M.A.

Executive Director

Florida Family Network

Miaisha Mitchell, John Padgett, Tallahassee Florida Blue Center Leader and Sokoya Finch.

Marchelle Dunston, Dr. Cynthia Harris, Tony Whitehurst, Miaisha Mitchell, Dr. Penny Ralston, Sokoya Finch, Courtney Akins.

Dr. Penny Ralston and COPE Coalition Working Group.

Dr. Cynthia Harris & Sokoya Finch

Interview on WFSU News Radio

Perspectives: COPE – Childhood Obesity Prevention Education

By WFSUNEWS • August 4, 2016

Childhood Obesity Prevention Education -
00:00 / 00:00

Susan Wildes, Florida Blue, Nathan-aka-Maninoveralls, Dr. Cynthia Harris and Mark Liles.

Miaisha Mitchell, Sokoya Finch and Dr. Cynthia Harris.

Dr. Penny Ralston and Nathan Ballentine, a.k.a., man in overalls.

Brandon Green, Graduate student - FSU- College of Medicine & Dr. Fred Seamon, MGT.

Miaisha Mitchell, Cynthia Harris, Sokoya Finch, Velma Monteiro-Tribble, Director - Grants and Programs, Florida Blue Foundation.

Iris Young-Clark, Assistant Director, FSU Center on Better Health and Life for Underserved Populations

bottom of page