Our team of specialists work in both clinical and community settings to provide families with the tools for developing healthy lifestyles.
Raquel Hernandez, MD MPH Pediatric Medicine
Dr. Hernandez is assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and medical director of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Healthy Weight Initiative. She completed her medical school, residency and fellowship training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She additionally completed a Master in Public Health with an emphasis on nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health during her fellowship in general academic pediatrics. As medical director of the hospital’s Healthy Weight initiative, Dr. Hernandez has developed and grown innovative and evidence-based approaches to promote healthy lifestyles that target the current pediatric obesity epidemic within our institution and our community. As one of few pediatricians certified in obesity-medicine nationally and regionally, she has led a multidisciplinary weight management clinic, Healthy Steps, based at Johns Hopkins All Children’s since 2012. With the support of her interprofessional team, the Healthy Steps clinic has provided tailored, patient-centered recommendations to children ages 0-21 years of age who have weight-related medical issues, including low self-esteem, anxiety/depression, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, diabetes and other health conditions. She also has been an ongoing advocate for reducing weight-related stigma within the health care setting as well as within schools. By engaging with community partners including our community division and school-based health clinics, exciting new community-based programs including Health Squads, the First Steps/Fit4Allkids Program and Fit4Allteens Program have continued to engage at-risk children in the Tampa Bay region while connecting them to the outstanding specialty care provided by Johns Hopkins All Children’s for those requiring additional medical care.
View Raquel’s Bio
Melanie Newkirk, D.C.N., R.D.N., C.S.P., L.D. Clinical Nutrition Manager
Melanie Newkirk, D.C.N., R.D.N., C.S.P., L.D. is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and currently serves as Clinical Nutrition Manager for Nutritional Services and Lactation at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She earned her Doctor of Clinical Nutrition from Rutgers School of Health Professions and is also a Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition.
Melanie has over 25 years of experience working with families in the clinical and community settings in the field of weight management. She is the lead instructor for the Fit4Allkids programs. Her research interests focus on the early origins of growth influenced by maternal health in pregnancy and nutrition during infancy.
She believes in a family centered approach recognizing that developing healthy habits must be individualized to the needs of the parents and children who attend Healthy Steps Clinic or attend our community programs. The most rewarding part of her job is seeing families who make positive lifestyle changes with the help of our team.