Lori Rose Benson
With over twenty-five years’ experience in public health and education, Lori joined Hip Hop Public Health in 2017 as the organization’s inaugural Executive Director. Her experience in developing and scaling innovative health, fitness and wellness programs is precisely aligned with HHPH’s vision to empower youth around the globe with the knowledge and skills to make healthier choices, reducing preventable health conditions and the rising tide of childhood obesity.
Before joining HHPH, Lori served as Vice President of Healthy Lifestyles at the YMCA of Greater New York, spearheading all aspects of the preventative health and wellness portfolio for the largest YMCA in the United States with a key focus on health innovation, development of youth fitness programming and scaling chronic disease prevention programs to meet the diverse needs of New York City’s communities. Lori was the principal architect of the award winning Y-MVP Teen Fitness Challenge – an innovative program blending fun fitness activities with an interactive mobile app designed to recognize, reward and motivate NYC’s young people to increase their daily levels of Moderate to Vigorous Physical activity.
Prior to joining the Y in 2011, Lori served as the Executive Director of the Office of School Wellness Programs at New York City’s Department of Education, established under the Bloomberg administration in collaboration with NYC’s Health Department. She implemented policies and designed initiatives to increase the quality and quantity of physical and health education for 1.1 million students in 1,700 public schools. Highlights under Lori’s tenure include the creation of a city-wide sports and fitness league for hundreds of middle schools, introducing classroom-based physical activity curriculum, launching school wellness council grant programs, and spearheading the implementation of NYC FITNESSGRAM, an annual student fitness assessment, which is now one of the country’s largest web-based longitudinal data base on childhood obesity and physical fitness.
Raised in Brooklyn, Lori attended New York City’s public schools and earned a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Communications and Graphic Design, and a M.A. in Physical Education from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY, where she is currently an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Exercise Science, Health Studies, Physical Education and Sport. Lori personally embraces physical activity and her love of music into her daily life as a yoga enthusiast, an aspiring DJ and a spinning instructor who still teaches two cycling classes a week at Crunch Fitness in Brooklyn.