JoAnn Stevelos, MPH, has worked to improve the health and wellbeing of children, adolescents, and families for more than 20 years. She currently is a consultant with JSC, LLC, a nonprofit management service specializing in public health, animal ethics, and food justice issues. She was previously the director the evaluation, research, and monitoring of the childhood obesity prevention efforts at the Clinton Foundation’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation (AHG) and lead evaluator for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program. Before her tenure at AHG, she was the Director of the New York State Center for the Prevention of Early Childhood Obesity. She has managed all aspects of programs in the fields of public health, health science research, community development, English as a second language, and youth initiatives.
JoAnn's writing and research explores themes of compassion, hope in the aftermath of estrangement, vulnerability, complex family relationships, and sexual and emotional abuse.
Her work has been quoted in The Guardian, Albany Times Union, Scholastic Magazine, and referenced on the Daily Show, CNN, and in several academic books about childhood obesity and bullying. Her health articles related to obesity, sexual abuse, and bullying have been published in Preventing Chronic Disease, Your Health Matters, Diabetes Self Management, Pain Free Living, Whole Life Times, and The Mid.
She is the author of Dream Alibis, a collection of poems and a play called Little Red Wagon. Ryder Cooley’s intriguing illustrations bring a deeper sense of meaning to the Dream Alibis poems, an assemblage of fragmented narratives about finding hope in the aftermath of estrangement, lost love, loneliness, and emotional abuse. The poems segue into Little Red Wagon, a play about a family that has created a temporal divide from a political activist’s death by suicide to the present and explores the layers of grief that tethers the family to one another in conspiratorial silence.
Her novel, Howard Be Thy Name, is a story about a Evie, a divorced mother of four children who falls in love with Howard, a newly ordained Catholic priest. Unyielding to the consequences their relationship will have on her children, Evie throws herself and her children into a life of secrecy, lies, and betrayals. The story begins with Evie confronting a heartbreaking revelation that forces her to choose between her children and Howard. It is a story rooted in finding reasons for the complicated ways we fail our children in spite of our best intentions and the desire to give them a better life. The story asks how could this secret life go undetected and seeks to demonstrate that there are many victims of the sex abuse scandal that continues to plague the Catholic Church.