Posted February 7, 2017

Owls land on 'Billy Penn' ‘Who’s Next Health and Fitness’ list

Three Temple graduates working to make Philadelphia a healthier, happier city made the local news outlet’s list for their dedication and innovation.

Four people’s legs as they jog on a street.
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Find out what Owls are helping Philadelphia ditch the stereotype of being an unhealthy city.

From Philadelphia’s restaurant renaissance to the increase in bike lanes to the many strides made by our hospitals, “unhealthy” is becoming a term associated with the city less and less. At Temple, Owls are tackling health-related issues with their typical tenacity. A network of noted alumni in the field are working on everything from bolstering children’s exercise to securing gender reassignment surgeries for people who are transgender.

Billy Penn’s recent roundup “Who’s Next Health and Fitness: 13 young people helping Philly feel good” recognizes three such Temple alumni.

Talia R. Gottesman, CPH ’15
A nurse at Hahnemann University Hospital, Gottesman has been hands-on in many of the hospital’s recent changes. She currently is assisting in the hospital’s launch of a gender reassignment surgical program. She also works with patients recovering from gynecological surgeries and liver failure.

Gottesman is vice president of the local chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, after she assisted in negotiations in 2016 when 850 Hahnemann nurses chose to unionize.

Jamel L. Harris, CLA ’07
After a four-season career as a letter-winning wide receiver on Temple’s football team (2003-2006), Harris recently took on the role of regional training director at SWEAT Fitness. Harris gained experience working as a personal trainer himself and now oversees the trainers at the eight SWEAT facilities in the region.

Following his stint as an Owl, Harris also played arena football for the Yakima Valley Warriors and the Harrisburg Stampede of the American Indoor Football Association.

Marissa Pellegrino, SSW ’09
While working as a social worker for families and children, Pellegrino observed a lack of focus on nutrition and exercise. That inspired her and her husband to create Relentless Fitness, a part adult fitness center and part kids gymnasium, where she is a director and coach.

She launched a children’s personal training program, Kid Relentless, in 2009, and works with nearly 250 children from around the city. The center also spreads a message of healthy living for kids by holding fitness assembles at local schools and donating free classes.

—Hayley Chenoweth