Francesca Schuler, the president of the California Fitness Alliance (CFA), has been appointed to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Well-Being.
Schuler will join 14 other experts on the council ranging from doctors and gym operators to mental health professionals and athletes. The council will be co-chaired by Jennifer Siebel Newson, a Division 1 athlete at Stanford University and a member of the women’s junior national soccer team, and Ronnie Lott, a pro football Hall of Fame inductee.
Schuler believes the fact the advisory council’s focus is on both physical fitness and mental well-being, and that the council’s experts reflect that, is a huge win. In the past, these concepts have been treated as two separate issues.
“It’s a great step,” said Schuler. “We’re really excited about it in California and really appreciative of the administration and the thoughtfulness of who else is at the table. I think the win is in the different lenses. You have Olympic athletes, you have college coaches, you have doctors, you’ve got the fitness industry, you’ve got people focused on kids’ health — it’s a really interesting mix. My experience is when you bring in a variety of lenses to solve some problems, you end up with a much better solution.”
The Advisory Council’s activities will include:
- Providing guidance on the development of physical activity and wellness goals for Californians of all ages.
- Increasing awareness among all age groups about the benefits of physical activity, sports, nutrition and mental wellness.
- Encouraging intergenerational physical fitness activities.
- Promoting equitable access to outdoor and physical activities for underserved communities.
- Facilitating collaboration among federal, state and local agencies, education, business and industry, the private sector, and others in the promotion of physical activity and mental wellness.
According to Schuler, the time is now to have a national conversation surrounding prevention, healthcare, and physical and mental well-being. She believes the advisory council is a great example of California’s commitment to addressing these issues head-on, and that hopefully, this will be an inspiration to other states.
“Nationally we need to change the narrative about prevention and healthcare and how to take care of yourself,” said Schuler. “We’ve got one body and one mind. And if you don’t take care of it, you really can’t replace those two things.”
This is a message Schuler believes resonates on both sides of the political aisle.
“We don’t think health is a partisan issue,” added Schuler. “We think it’s a bipartisan issue. So we worked really hard at the CFA to be part of the solution, irrespective of politics. We’ve worked really hard to be a nonpartisan organization focused on the health of the industry and the health of our communities. The message for us has been health is for everybody. I don’t care what your politics are. I don’t care what your age or body type is. We have an administration that wants to lean into this — we are all in and we’re here to help.”
The other members of the board include:
- Dr. Sergio Aguila-Gaxiola, Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine, UC Davis School of Medicine, and Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UC Davis
- Jessica Cruz, CEO of NAMI California
- Nisha Devi, Founder of Kala Wellness, Eastern Medicine Practitioner
- Fran Gallati, CEO of YMCA of the East Bay
- Ashley Hunter, Founder and Executive Director of Fit Kids
- Savannah Linhares, Varsity Girls Basketball Coach, Biology Teacher, Leadership and Link Crew Teacher at Chowchilla High School, and “Double-Goal” 2020 Coach of the Year, Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA)
- Cheryl Miller, Olympic Gold Medalist, NCAA College Basketball 3-time Player of the Year, Head Coach Women’s Basketball at Cal State LA
- Dr. Bill Resnick, psychiatrist and philanthropist, and mindfulness practitioner
- Stephen Revetria, President, Giants Enterprises
- Francesca Schuler, President of the California Fitness Alliance
- Dr. Dan Siegel, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding Co-Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center
- Renata Simril, President and CEO of LA84 Foundation
- Dave Stewart, Former Major League Baseball Player
- Dr. Vernon Williams, Sports Neurologist and Founding Director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute
- Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Gold Medalist, Founder of Always Dream Foundation
The CFA was formed in May 2020, and has become the united voice of the fitness industry in the state.
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