Introducing our Health Panel!
Every athlete knows physical health plays a crucial role in reaching your fullest potential. Running is especially hard on the body, so runners should carefully monitor and adjust during every stage. From preparation, to nutrition, to recovery, every aspect affects how you grow and reach your goals. The Reebok Boston 10K for Women Health Panel is made up of eight incredible health professionals who offer unique perspectives behind these vital steps. Over the next few weeks, they will be using their expertise to answer your questions and make recommendations to better your running journey. Let’s meet the team:
Andrea Stracciolini, MD
Physician, Sports Medicine Division and Director, Dance Medicine Section, Boston Children’s Hospital
Philadelphia native Dr. Andrea Stracciolini moved to Boston to pursue her Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Sports Medicine career in 1997. She is an avid runner and has been running since she was 20 years old, completing four marathons (Philly, Cape Cod, DC, Paris). She is passionate about caring for athletes of all ages and keeping people moving.
“Physical activity is one key to life and health. I have always loved and admired athletes of all levels. Keeping athletes healthy and in engaged in their chosen sport or activity is so very important – I will do everything in my skill set to do that. Combating childhood physical inactivity is my overarching goal.”
Group Exercise & Fitness Director and Group Exercise Fitness Instructor, Healthworks Community Fitness
Carla Webster-Reid is the Group Exercise & Fitness Director as well as a key Group Exercise Fitness Instructor at Healthworks Community Fitness (HCF). Carla started off just working out and took fitness classes at HCF as a member while she had a full-time job. Things changed when Percess Williamson approached Carla pushing her to become a fitness instructor, because during that time there were not many women of color who were fitness instructors.
Carla took the chance and applied to a program through Tufts University that focused on empowering women of color to become instructors. She was chosen for an interview and continued taking one-on-one classes along with ten other women of color learn more about becoming a fitness instructor. With the help of the program, she went on to get an AFAA Group Exercise license. As part of the program she taught five classes a week in which she volunteered at HCF and various organizations throughout Dorchester and the surrounding communities.
Carla now has seven years of experience in the fitness industry and a Bachelor of Science in Community Wellness/Public Health. She loves the women in her community and is dedicated to making a change in women’s lives. She is beyond passionate about improving every woman’s lifestyle, especially those diagnosed with diabetes and chronic diseases, and she strives to help them live a healthier life through the power of fitness.
CrossFit Level 4 Trainer, Reebok
Denise Thomas originally hails from Rotherham, England, but has resided in the United States for the last 20 years. She came to the US on a soccer scholarship, playing four years at Central Connecticut State University. Following her time in Connecticut, she received a second scholarship as an assistant soccer coach at Long Island University in Brooklyn, while completing her Master’s in Exercise Physiology. Denise’s athletic foundation was primarily built on the soccer field also, playing for Boston Renegades and the Irish National team.
Soccer consumed her life for 20+ years. However, in 2008 Denise found CrossFit and has never looked back. She now participates in daily CrossFit workouts, has competed in the sport of CrossFit, and works for the company as a seminar instructor flowmaster for the Level 1, Level 2, and Coach Development Program. Denise has ran a lot in her lifetime this far, all for different reasons, and she’s proud to say she’s run a full and half marathon – both of which she describes as life changing and eye opening! Denise is also a full time employee for Reebok International, where she has the opportunity to affect lives via health and fitness all day long. Her official title now is Reebok Ambassador, and her role is to train, educate and inspire those in her presence.
“I love being able to directly impact someone’s day and expect a little more of them than they do of themselves. That’s my job! To see someone do something they have never done before is truly fulfilling. They then take that new found confidence and expand it beyond the four walls of the gym—you see them ooze confidence in places, and with certain people they were once very fearful of. It’s amazing! My job is to push their boundaries so they can create more opportunity for growth and development in any walk of life they wish to embark upon.”
Jill McHugh, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist, Elliott Physical Therapy
Dr. Jill McHugh currently works as an outpatient physical therapist at Elliott Physical Therapy in Dorchester. She graduated from Boston University where she earned both her undergraduate degree in Health Sciences and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. During high school, she became interested in the hands-on aspect of helping others as a physical therapist and went on to shadow various health care professionals. Now, as a PT, she plays a unique role, as both a clinician and coach helping people get healthy and restoring their functional mobility. As a former athlete, she offers a unique perspective and finds particular satisfaction returning patients to physical activity.
“Hands down the best part about my job is my patients. Everyone has experienced an injury or has been in pain at some point in their life. I cannot explain how gratifying it is to alleviate a person’s pain and get them back to the activities that are important to them.”
Kathryn E. Ackerman, MD, MPH, FACSM
Medical Director, Female Athlete Program and Physician, Sports Medicine Division, Boston Children’s Hospital
Dr. Kathryn E. Ackerman is a sports medicine physician and the medical director of the Female Athlete Program in the Division of Sports Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her interests include female athletes, rowing injuries, endocrinology, female athlete triad, optimizing performance and health in athletes with diabetes, exercise-associated hyponatremia, and exercise and bone health in adolescents.
Dr. Ackerman’s interests in clinical care and education involve merging disciplines of sports medicine and endocrinology, while advancing the science and understanding of these interwoven specialties. She has presented locally and internationally about the female athlete triad as well as diabetes and exercise. Dr. Ackerman is a former national team lightweight rower, a team physician for US Rowing, and the course director for the Female Athlete Conference, held biannually at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Percess Williamson, BA, CPT
Elderly Fitness Specialist and Lead Fitness Trainer, Healthworks Community Fitness
Percess Williamson is the Elderly Fitness Specialist and Lead Fitness Trainer at HCF. She also works in the surrounding neighborhoods, where she teaches fitness to the elderly population. Percess started her journey with HCF as a volunteer and then became a key employee. Eventually, HCF recruited her and wanted her to do more. This is exactly what Percess wanted to do, to help women take care of themselves and put themselves first so that everything else in their life falls into place. HCF is where she finally found her roots to make an impact through fitness.
Percess has over seven years of experience in the fitness industry. She is a NASM certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist and holds a BA from Framingham State College. She is also a graduate of the American Academy of Personal Training. Percess’ passion is empowering women through fitness, which she demonstrates by leading HCF’s Woman, Be Fit program, which is a core program at the Center. Percess’ philosophy is that fitness starts by changing the way you think and, in the process, making a serious commitment to yourself.
Samantha Bartholomew, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian and Manager of Nutrition Communications, FRESH Communications, Inc.
Samantha Bartholomew grew up in Westwood, MA, a small suburb of Boston. Growing up and throughout high school she always had an interest in and a passion for all things fitness and nutrition. This early interest in fitness and nutrition propelled her through her college studies and into her post graduate studies as well– landing her in the career she has now! Samantha obtained her undergraduate degree in Nutrition/Dietetics and Food Science from the University of Vermont (UVM). Upon graduation from UVM she continued her education at Boston University where she received a Master of Science in Nutrition. From there Samantha became a Registered Dietitian and began her career at FRESH Communications as their Manager of Nutrition Communications.
“What you put in your body before, during, and after your workouts is such an instrumental part of your performance.”
Sarah Jackson, MD, CSCS
Sports Medicine Physician/MSK and Sports Ultrasound, Sports Medicine Division, Boston Children’s Hospital
Dr. Sarah Jackson is a Sports Medicine Physician and CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) working with Boston Children’s Hospital’s Sports Medicine Team. After graduating with a BS in Kinesiology, she acquired a stronger passion for health and fitness. She then attended UMass Medical School, completed her pediatric residency at Mass General Hospital, and joined the Sports Medicine fellowship and Sports Ultrasound fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is also the head physician for Wentworth Institute of Technology and Boston Latin School, and provides coverage at Northeastern and Brookline High School.
“The best part of my job is being part of a care team for an athlete and helping them achieve their goals and/or return from an injury. As an athlete, I empathize with both the physical and emotional toll that an injury can have on each athlete and their family. It is helpful to have had the experience personally to help guide these athletes and their families through the process.”