Kelley (Thompson) Axelson currently works for UC San Diego-Center for Community Health as Senior Manager for the SNAP-Ed Worksite Wellness Program. She is a highly motivated and dedicated public health professional with over four years of experience in non-profit and academic program design, grant writing, research protocol and development, evaluation design and analysis, community outreach and coalition building, marketing and public relations, and project leadership and management. The Worksite Wellness Program focuses on engaging small, mid-size, and large businesses with a majority of low-income employees in assessing and enhancing their wellness policies and programs at no-cost to help ensure a culture and environment which supports healthy eating and physical activity. Ms. Axelson has been instrumental in recruiting diverse businesses in a variety of sectors, including agriculture, hospitality, retail, and non-profit industries. Since the SNAP-Ed grant inception, Ms. Axelson successfully recruited and engaged over 40 businesses to reach over 3,000 low-income employees. Ms. Axelson is currently leading many exciting and innovative worksite initiatives. She led efforts to improve access to healthy foods and physical activity in the workplace by implementing policies, systems, and environmental changes that support employees experiencing the largest health disparities. She accomplished this by establishing innovative partnerships between the University and public and private businesses and organizations, including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, food distributors, fitness organizations, food security agencies, local health departments, and healthcare organizations.
Prior to this position, Ms. Axelson served as Manager of the SNAP-Ed Physical Activity Integration. She provided extraordinary service to the community, and served as a liaison between resident groups and regional and statewide partners to ensure measurable impact on the accessibility of physical activity opportunities. In response to a community needs assessment, Ms. Axelson facilitated a Safe Routes to Healthy Places forum in which over 25 organizations participated, including Active Living Research, ChangeLab Solutions, and Walk San Diego. The forum raised awareness around the challenges San Diego residents face in making healthy choices specifically highlighting the lack of safe physical activity options within neighborhoods with the largest health disparities. Ms. Axelson served on several coalitions and work groups which promote advocacy for change to address root causes for physical inactivity. Furthermore, Ms. Axelson was a key staff member on a leadership committee which developed and oversaw the implementation of a countywide online nutrition and physical activity referral database to educate healthcare providers, social service agencies, and San Diego residents on free to low-cost programs and services to increase access to health foods and physical activity opportunities.
Ms. Axelson graduated from San Diego State University with a Master of Public Health and from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Science with emphasis in Fitness Science.