Healthy St. Pete Ambassadors
Jeff Johnson – AARP
As AARP Florida State Director, Jeff leads a team of 21 staff, hundreds of volunteers, and 2.7 million Florida AARP members. He and his team seek to lead Florida to expand the possibilities and tackle the challenges of an aging society and equip Florida families to live their best lives as they age. He is an active masters swimmer with St. Pete Masters at North Shore Aquatic Complex, and has lived in St. Petersburg since 1999.
Joe Santini has lived in St. Petersburg for 14 years and has worked in healthcare for more than 16 years. He has worked with those living with HIV, dealing with substance use and mental health, and now in ambulatory healthcare. He is active in many countywide efforts to improve the health of the community: Partnership for a Healthier Pinellas (PICH), Health and Human Services Coordinating Council, and Ryan Care Council. He enjoys taking advantage of everything St. Petersburg has to offer and frequents the 2nd Saturday Art Walk, Saturday Farmers Market, First Friday, local restaurants, dogs parks, and enjoys renting a paddle board at North Shore Aquatic Complex and exploring Tampa Bay.
Mendee Bull Ligon was born in Spartanburg SC and moved to St Petersburg in 1980. I have practiced dentistry with my husband for 35 years and we have 3 grown children. I love outdoor activities like fishing, race walking, and gardening. Playing the saxophone & piano, collecting art, reading and cooking are also things I love to do in my spare time. Dentistry has allowed me to capture my desire to improve health and express artistry in one profession. It is my hope that our beautiful city of St Petersburg have the healthiest population in the world!
My wife and I have been practicing broad-spectrum family medicine in the Bay area over the past 5 years and emphasize the importance of healthy eating, active lifestyles and stress reduction in the promotion of health and the prevention of illness. Utilizing traditional and integrative methods, we approach our patients and their presenting illness in a holistic manner aiming to achieve sustainable and meaningful change in their lives through evidence based treatments and recommendations. With the birth of our son 16months ago, we have experienced firsthand the need to adapt to the demands and time constraints of daily life while ensuring we remain physically active and eat healthy. Through careful meal planning, shopping for local produce and participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and mining the resources of our neighborhoods (local parks, events, races) and free fitness applications online, we have developed an affordable approach to staying fit and healthy.
A native of Northern Virginia, Jeffrey Jew began his career managing operations at restaurants in New York City, Miami, and Washington, DC following his graduation from Virginia Tech in 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. In 2005, Jeffrey enrolled in The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where he graduated top of his class with a degree in Culinary Arts. As a Chef, Jeffrey worked for Chef Gordon Ramsay at the famed Connaught Hotel in London and also has spent time cooking in kitchens in France and Italy. While living in Washington, DC, Jeffrey was the Head Chef of the Embassy of Italy as well as the Chef de Cuisine for some of DC’s most notable restaurants. Most recently, Jeffrey could be seen cooking on Bravo’s cooking competition series “Top Chef.” Currently, Jeffrey is Executive Chef of 2B Hospitality which operates BellaBrava and the newly opened Stillwaters Tavern in Saint Petersburg, Florida
Mark Trujillo is a Regional Public Health Coordinator with the University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program. He works to establish healthy shopping, cooking, gardening, and eating in low income areas of our community. Mark and his wife Kim have four energetic children who love to dance and eat healthy! Mark has been a pastor for over 10 years and has a passion to help people thrive spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
Nan Jensen is the extension agent for Family and Consumer Sciences for UF/IFAS Extension in Pinellas County. She provides leadership to the county nutrition, food safety and health program which focus on key health issues such as diabetes, obesity, food borne illness and childhood hunger. Over the course of her career, Nan has been instrumental in seeking out and receiving additional dollars to support her local Extension program. Currently, Extension is a partner in a federally funded grant entitled Partnerships to Improve Community Health focusing on policy and environmental changes to increase physical activity and access to healthy nutrition in early child care centers. The Extension program also receives funding for the Florida Family Nutrition Program (FNP). FNP helps people who get SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) learn better eating and physical activity habits to reduce the risk of obesity and chronic disease. Nan received a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University and a master’s degree from Florida State University. She is a registered and licensed dietitian and participates in a variety of professional associations. She is currently serving as the co-leader for the Extension Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Focus Team that is responsible for leading the state-wide effort to educate the public on critical issues in nutrition, food safety and health.
Chef Tyson Grant – Parkshore Grill
Veatrice Farrell operates the St. Pete Urban Market, formerly Sunday Market on the Deuces. St. Pete Urban Market is hosted by the Deuces Live Main Street. Veatrice believes St. Petersburg is a great place to live, work, and play and works to support both economic and community enrichment projects in St. Petersburg.
Tracey Giebner is co-owner of Tampa Bay Club Sport and for the past 13 years has been working to get adults and children out playing sports and meeting new friends regardless of their level of playing ability. She feels that physical activity combined with the social aspect of playing together improve overall health. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children playing soccer, swimming and bike riding.
Natasha Walker is an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) certified personal trainer, aerobic, and nutrition/weight management instructor, as well as a Zumba and Silver Sneakers instructor. She has been active in the community working on programs such as Fit Black Families (FAB) and the PACT Grant in addition to educating parents and children about nutrition and exercise. She is an ambassador with American Heart Association and a Livestrong Coach and also teaches aerobics on Carnival Cruise Line. She overcame a personal struggle with weight losing 80 lbs.; this struggle inspired her to educate and motivate others to live healthy.
Terry Tomalin moved to Florida in the spring of 1980 for the sun and surf. Tomalin joined the Times as a police reporter in 1986, but left 18 months later to backpack through New Zealand and Australia. He returned a year later and transferred to the sports department to cover the great outdoors. During the past 20 years, Tomalin has lived with witch doctors in the Amazon, explored sunken Mayan archaeological sites in Mexico, sailed to Cuba, canoed to the Bahamas and swam around Key West. Tomalin loves to fish, surf, paddle and enjoy all Florida has to offer. A fellow of the prestigious Explorer’s Club in New York City, Tomalin holds a master’s degree in Florida studies and is involved in many community organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America.
Susan Daniels – Baycare
Susan Daniels is a USA Triathlon & Track and Field certified Race Director with 15 years of experience. She has reputation for hosting safe and first class events. In her role as Race Director she manages the St. Anthony’s Triathlon which is known as the 4th largest Olympic distance triathlon in the world. She is native of St. Petersburg and has participated in sports such as triathlons, mountain biking, road races, kayaking for more than 25 years. At a young age she experienced a personal family tragedy that put a spotlight on how important living a healthy lifestyle can be and uses that experience to live life with a balanced approach to fitness, nutrition, and health.