About COPE


Obesity rates in the United States have reached epidemic levels and impacts people of all ages, races and socioeconomic levels. The rise in obesity and its related diseases has led to a call to action from all segments of society.  In response to this urgent need, the College of Nursing at Villanova University established the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE).

Established in 2011 through the generous support of The MacDonald Family Foundation and The Take Shape for Life Foundation, the Center serves as a locus for interdisciplinary collaboration in the prevention of obesity through education and research.  It will support and foster the growing need for development of healthy lifestyles and behaviors among Americans. 


The mission of the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education is to serve as a model for education and research that promotes healthy weight management and the prevention and reduction of obesity-related diseases across the lifecycle. 

A non-profit, the Center will support and develop educational programs and evidence-based services for health professionals, educators, students, families, community groups, worksites and the public. 


Through the united expertise of physicians, nurses, dietitians and other health professionals, the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education will develop strategic initiatives to address the obesity epidemic nationally and globally.  The Center's goals are to:

1.      Provide continuing education programs on obesity and obesity-related disease for health professionals and educators.

2.      Enhance the education of nursing and other college students in nutrition, obesity prevention and health promotion strategies.

3.      Partner with health agencies, organizations and corporations to develop best practice programs for populations that are significantly impacted by health disparities and the obesity epidemic.

4.      Participate in research to expand resources that support evidence-based approaches for obesity prevention and intervention.


Contact COPE Staff


Rebecca Shenkman MPH, RDN, LDN, Director  Read bio

Lynore DeSilets, EdD, RN-BC, Assistant Dean and Director, Continuing Education in Nursing and Healthcare

Louisa Zullo, Continuing Education Program Assistant