Skip to main content

Villanova’s College of Nursing inaugurates new obesity center

COPE inauguration
At the October 6 inauguration of the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE) at Villanova University College of Nursing are Marcia Costello, PhD, RD, LDN, assistant professor and Chair of the COPE Advisory Committee; M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor; Col. (Ret.) Bradley T. MacDonald, USMC who initiated the funding for COPE; guest speaker Sylvia Escott-Stump, MA, RD, LDN, president of the American Dietetic Association; and Denice Ferko-Adams, MPH, RD, LDN, director of COPE.


MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE) is resource for health professionals and community

In response to America’s health crisis of obesity, the College of Nursing at Villanova University has established the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE) to foster the development of healthy lifestyles and behaviors among Americans through the education of health professionals and agencies, community groups and the public.

With funding by the Take Shape for Life and MacDonald Family foundations, the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education includes national experts on obesity advising on the latest developments in combating this epidemic. Through the united expertise of nurses, registered dietitians and other health professionals, the Center will mobilize strategic actions to address the obesity epidemic and serve as a model for the promotion of healthy weight management, obesity prevention and intervention through education.

Funding from the foundations was initiated by Col. (Ret.) Bradley “Brad” T. MacDonald, ’71 Villanova University, A&S, executive chairman of the Board of Medifast, Inc. (Baltimore, Md.), and co-founder of Take Shape for Life. “The generosity of the Take Shape for Life and MacDonald Family foundations addresses a critical health concern and has the potential to improve public health through education,” said M. Louise Fitzpatrick, Ed.D., R.N., FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor. “The Center’s programs will provide for interdisciplinary collaboration and enhance the capacity of nurses to implement effective strategies for prevention and health promotion.”

The COPE team is planning educational webinars to start this fall and a major regional conference in the spring.  The 1st Annual COPE Continuing Education Conference, Weight Management – Conversation to Commitment: What You Say Matters!, will be held March 31, 2012 with a preconference, Motivational Interviewing Skills for Primary Care, on March 30.   

Watch the video of the event. For more information about COPE, visit