The Southern Obesity Summit (SOS) brings together leadership from across the south to share, learn and develop strategies to address the obesity epidemic with a systems lens. Moreover, because obesity is a global epidemic driven by complex systems that span regional and national boundaries, SOS invites participants from diverse backgrounds to share insights and strategies for systems change.
SOS is the largest regional obesity prevention event in the United States, drawing hundreds of participants from the 16 southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Together, these states join forces to fight obesity.
The Southern Obesity Summit began with seed capital from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a spinoff project of the Southern Rural Access Program, a seven-year initiative to improve access to care. The Southern Rural Access Program’s National Advisory Committee was led by Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, and previous Surgeon General of the United States. Texas Health Institute (THI) and Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) partnered to put on the inaugural SOS in Little Rock in 2007. Since Little Rock, (2007), SOS has been held in Birmingham, AL (2008); Austin, TX (2009); Atlanta, GA (2010); New Orleans, LA (2011); Charlotte, NC (2012); Nashville, TN (2013); Louisville, KY (2014); Jackson, MS (2015); Houston, TX (2016); Atlanta, GA (2017); Charleston, WV (2018) and Oklahoma City, OK (2019).