The School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center                                                        Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
National Program Office

National Program Office Staff

Marcia G. Ory, Director

Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H., is professor, Department of Social and Behavioral Health, School of Rural Public Health (SRPH) at The Texas A&M Health Science Center in College Station, Texas. As Director of the Program on Healthy Aging she is committed to research and practice that enhances the health and well-being of older adults. In her role as director of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored Active for Life ® National Program Office, she is examining how evidence-based programs can be translated to community settings, expanding program research and sustainability. As part of this effort she has established a Learning Network to serve as the communications hub for the Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Initiative.

She is central to several activities within the School’s CDC Prevention Research Center. She heads up the Research Core conducting research on strategies for improving the translation of diabetes prevention and treatment guidelines. As a primary Investigator in the Texas Healthy Aging Research Network she serves as a liaison to the Administration on Aging’s Evidence-Based Program Initiative, helping to guide two state-wide efforts funded by the Division of Aging and Disability Services to implement and evaluate evidence-based health promotion programs throughout Texas. Additionally, she is the Principal Investigator on a five-year NIH Health Maintenance Resource Center charged with serving as the coordinating hub for a twenty-one grant consortium designed to improve research on long-term behavioral change. She has also initiated several new research projects and related activities to examine the doctor older-patient relationship, exploring factors affecting the nature and extent of lifestyles communication and strategies for enhancing primary care practice in this area.

Previously, Dr. Ory spent twenty years in federal service as Chief of Social Science Research on Aging in the Behavioral and Social Research Program, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health. She holds a doctorate from Purdue University and a Masters of Public Health from The Johns Hopkins University. She has been the author of over 125 publications on a variety of topics including self-care in later life, family caregiving and dementia care, doctor-patient interactions, aging and formal health care, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, women’s health, minority health and aging, and translational research. Dr. Ory is a distinguished alumnae of Purdue University, Fellow of several professional organizations (American Academy of Behavioral Research, Gerontological Society of America and the Society for Behavioral Medicine) and a recipient of numerous awards including the Polisher Institute Award for Excellence in Applied Gerontology, the International Council on Active Aging Industry Innovator Award, the Archstone Foundation Award for Excellence in Program Innovation, the Betty J. Cleckley Award for Excellence in Research on Minority Health Issues, and the Texas Conference on Aging Cornerstone Award.. Her dedication to enhancing the careers of new scholars is aging is evident in her receipt of the Distinguished Mentor Award from the Gerontological Society of America.

Diane M. Dowdy, Deputy Director

Diane M. Dowdy, Ph.D, is deputy director of the RWJF Active for Life National Program Office at The Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health. She is also assistant professor at the School of Rural Public Health. Prior to this role, she was director of the Options for Health Department at Scott & White Memorial Hospital.

She holds a Doctorate and Master of Science in Health Education from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Duke University. Her professional interests include health promotion and community health education services, facilitating positive lifestyle changes, marketing of health services, and consumer health issues. She has made numerous presentations statewide on behavior change and positive lifestyle choices with a focus on the healthy use of humor and stress management. Dr. Dowdy is a founding board member of the Americares Foundation which was established to improve the healthcare of medically underserved Americans.

Brigid Sanner, Communications and Marketing Consultant

Brigid, the principal of Sanner & Company, serves as a communications and marketing consultant for the Active for Life National Program Office. She works as a consultant to a number of nonprofit organizations and foundations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She focuses on health, wellness and lifestyle issues. Her experience includes twenty plus years with the American Heart Association at the national as well as community level. She has directed national communications and advocacy efforts and managed national news media relations, public relations, federal government relations, public service advertising and field advocacy programs. In addition, she has extensive experience working in social marketing.

She holds a bachelor of science degree in journalism from Kent State University.


Amanda Laughlin, Student Worker

Amanda is a part-time student worker for the NPO and is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree in biology from Texas A&M University.

Meet Our PartnersNPO Contact Info

SRPH Building
1266 TAMU
College Station, Texas

Phone: 979-458-4202
Fax: 979-458-4264

Active for Life National Program Office | SRPH Building | 1266 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-1266
Phone: 979-458-4202 | Fax: 979-458-4264 | Email: