ENTRY FROM: The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Samantha Fuqua

Changing the Health of Our Nation, One Person at a Time

I currently work for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and Onlife Health as the Fitness Center Manager for the City of Chattanooga in Tennessee. The industry is a wellness industry, as we do not only promote fitness, but an overall healthy lifestyle. I have been working in the Health and Wellness field for 7 years. The organization that I work with is comprised of about 7100 members. This includes employees of the City of Chattanooga, retirees, and their dependents.

Professional Development

I began my pursuit of health promotion by earning a degree in Exercise Science from Middle Tennessee State University. I then furthered my education by earning my Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Upon graduating with my Master’s I became a certified Health Fitness Specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine. My decision to go into the health field was because of the need I saw for more physical activity and general health knowledge in the population. My most valuable education has been my Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science.

Demonstrated Success

The most successful program that I have been a part of is the Genesis program with Onlife Health and BCBST. It is a beginner level fitness program that I had the privilege to help create. This program helps corporate employees either get back to a lifestyle of physical activity and optimal nutrition, or begin following that lifestyle for the first time. In the program we address many health issues such as sedentary lifestyle, weight gain, stress, and poor nutrition.

Health improvements that have resulted from the Genesis program are increased activity, weight loss, better nutrition, improved biometric results, and overall improved quality of life. Behavior changes involve increased self-esteem, stress relief, and improved overall mood. All of the program results have helped to create a culture of health and wellness within the corporate world that they have been taught.

With Onlife and BCBST support, it was easy to use many of the 7 Benchmark’s to create and administer Genesis. There was and still is a great need for a beginner level fitness program within the corporate world and the CEO of Onlife saw that need. This provided full support in the creation of the program. The coaches that teach the program are all educated in the health field and hold the qualities needed to reach the participants in the program. These qualities are a major part in the positive outcomes of Genesis. Within the time that the participants are in the program and after they graduate, the staff at Onlife Health is sure to offer full support so that the participants are able to give us 100%. With each program we record pre and post data to measure the outcomes. These are measures such as fitness testing, body composition, nutrition evaluation, and biometrics. This data helps us to evolve the program to make it the best that it can be.


It is very important to me to live the healthy lifestyle that I promote not only for my health but to practice the words that I preach on a daily basis. I think that this includes regular physical activity, eating proper nutrition, taking preventative measures in my health by attending all regular health screenings each year, and keeping stress to a minimum.

Through living this healthy lifestyle I have been able to help others achieve their health and wellness goals. This is done by administering one on one counseling, group fitness classes, and fitness programs. These things would not be possible without the support of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Onlife Health, and the staff at the WellAdvantage facility for the City of Chattanooga.

My advice to future leaders in this field is to stand up for what you believe and have compassion in your work. People will do amazing things if you give them the support and knowledge they need to live a healthy lifestyle.


Within Onlife health I am able to teach two fitness programs, Genesis and Thrive. Through each of these programs we take participants through exercise classes and nutrition education to help them learn how to manage their wellness on their own. I have the benefit of evolving these programs to better serve the participants and their results each time they are offered.

With the evolution of the programs we have seen health status improvements such as weight loss, decreased blood pressure, A1C decrease, BMI reduction, inches lost, and a decrease in body fat percentage. Along with the incredible health status improvements we have seen the participants make exercise and eating a nutrition diet part of their daily habits. They also have increased self-esteem, better overall mood, and less stress.

Through the support of BCBST and the City of Chattanooga and their encouragement to a healthier lifestyle, we have seen huge changes in the mindset of each population that I have worked with. Both companies want to see healthier employees. With this desire and the many health promotions that they offer we are seeing an increase in health overall.

Compelling Vision

My vision for health promotions is that taking preventative measures towards your health becomes the norm instead of fixing the problems after they occur. I think one of the biggest threats to that is the fact that our nation as a society wants technology to do things for us. We also want results right now and sometimes changes to your health take time when you do them the natural way. But if we work on health prevention we can eventually prevent many negative health outcomes before they occur.

In order to advance the health promotion industry I plan to continue to reach the people of Chattanooga one person at a time. I feel that changing one person’s life can snowball into changing a small group, then a small city, and then our nation.

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Samantha F.
I am a fitness center manager for the City of Chattanooga in the state of Tennessee. I am employed by Onlife Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. I have a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from Middle Tennessee State University and a Masters in Exercise Physiology from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. I am also a certified Health Fitness Specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine. View Samantha F.'s Profile.
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