Gillings School Alumnus Honored for Promoting Healthy Lifestyles in Native American Communities

May 25, 2016

Anthony Fleg

Anthony Fleg, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health alumnus, was honored recently by the U.S. President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition for his work in promoting healthy lifestyles with Native American families and youth.

The President’s Council Community Leadership Award is given annually to no more than 50 individuals or organizations that provide or enhance opportunities to engage in sports, physical activity, fitness or nutrition-related programs within a community.

Fleg, who earned a Master of Public Health degree in the UNC Gillings School’s Public Health Leadership Program in 2008, is assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and a family practice physician at UNM’s Sandoval Regional Medical Center in Rio Rancho.

He is a co-founder of and organizer with the Native Health Initiative (NHI), a partnership to address health inequities through volunteer service. In spring 2016, he helped launch an NHI program called “Running Medicine,” which takes a wellness approach to group exercise. NHI is aligned with the New Mexico Department of Health’s Medical Reserve Corps, and Fleg was nominated for the annual award by Bobbie MacKenzie, the corps’ volunteer coordinator.

“Dr. Fleg’s compassion and dedication has taught youth to seek out communities’ strengths, assets and resources in order to promote healthy lifestyles,” said MacKenzie. “He has conducted anti-tobacco campaigns, mentored youth on various health issues such as exercise, hydration and nutrition to combat diabetes, and organized various health runs and walks. He is an inspiration to all … and continues to make a healthy impact in the lives of New Mexicans though his loving service every day.”

Fleg joined the UNM faculty in 2014. Much of his work has been devoted to empowering young people to become leaders and consider health careers. His clinical interests include providing strength-based approaches to healing, holistic medicine and working with patients in chronic pain.