Plymouth State University Professor Irene Cucina Testifies in Congressional Briefing About Health Education

September 14th, 2013 by blyndes

RESTON, VA.-In celebration of Congress designating September as Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and HealthCorps hosted a Congressional briefing Wednesday, September 25 to discuss the current status of health and physical education in American schools.  Sponsored by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Ohio Representative Marcia Fudge, staunch legislative supporters of school health and physical education, the briefing focused on what schools and school districts are doing to combat childhood obesity and the role that Congress can play in reversing this epidemic. The 90-minute briefing included a presentation by Irene Cucina, D.P.E., AAHPERD Past President 2012-2013, Professor and assistant department chair of Health and Human Performance at Plymouth State University. Dr. Cucina shared highlights from AAHPERD and the American Heart Association’s 2012 Shape of the Nation Report and provided an educator’s perspective on the importance of health and physical education.

PSU Professor Irene Cucina

“As a K-12 Health and Physical Educator and now working in the HHP Department at PSU, I have seen the positive impact physical activity has on people” said Cucina. “My hope is that Health and Physical Education will be recognized as a core subject in the public schools which will allow school districts to access funding to provide quality curriculum to all children.”

In addition to serving as President of the 20,000 member AAHPERD organization, Cucina attended the kickoff event of the Let’s Move > Active Schools national initiative at the White House earlier this year.

Cucina began teaching at Plymouth State University in 1998 as an Assistant Professor in the Health and Human Performance (HHP) Department. She now serves as chair of the Council of Teacher Education and assistant chair of the HHP, which is one of PSU’s largest departments, actively involved with preparing wellness professionals and educators. She was named the 2011 Plymouth State University Undergraduate Distinguished Teacher. Prior to assuming her current position at PSU, she spent 16 years as a health and physical education teacher and coach at Newton North High School in Newton, Mass.

Cucina also has received numerous awards including the AAHPERD Honor Award for outstanding professional achievement, the Eastern District Association Honor Award for career distinction, the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport’s Pathfinder Award for enhancing the role of women in sports, the New Hampshire AHPERD Outstanding Professional Award for College Teaching, and the Massachusetts Secondary Teacher of the Year.  She has been inducted into the Northeast Women’s Hall of Fame, and is a fellow of the North American Society for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or


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