American Leadership Forum
Senior Fellow XLVI
Lharissa Jacobs is a native Houstonian and passionate advocate for healthy living. Beginning as a program director of evidence-based health interventions for the YMCA of Greater Houston, she began to form health partnerships to improve Houston’s health in new and innovative ways. She eventually worked in business development, executing Medicare and hospital contracts with Houston largest health systems. A lifelong lover of the outdoors, Lharissa’s personal mission is to help support healthier communities. As an active volunteer leader in public school districts, she worked with community leaders and district officials for environmental improvements to a Spark Park that now serves thousands of families each year. She loves working with special populations and thinking outside the box. She co-wrote a program with UT Health Science Center neurologists and personal trainers for people with multiple sclerosis to be physically active in a gym setting. She has worked with multiple health systems on activating parks with clinic to community linkages. In her current role as the VP of Health Strategies at the American Heart Association, she leads a team of health experts to increase access points for healthy food and physical activity (Food Rx and Exercise Rx) by establishing healthier systems that last. Lharissa has more than 20 years of leadership both professionally and through volunteerism. She has a master’s degree in education and an MBA from the University of Houston and is a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum. She is bilingual in Spanish and English. In her free time, she volunteers as a coach for a running group and spends time with her husband, 2 teenagers, and two dogs.