Just one year ago, Rutgers School of Public Health alumna Jennifer Turner could not have imagined that her healthy lifestyle business, MAD COOL FITNESS, would be helping individuals through a pandemic.

Early into COVID-19, Turner recognized that the virus’ impact would be vast. 

“The pandemic influenced everything from our physical to social, mental, and financial well-being,” says Turner, who received her Doctor of Public Health degree from Rutgers in 2019. “It highlighted the health disparities that many people and populations in the United States experience, which have only been exacerbated by COVID-19.”

The pandemic’s multifaceted reach inspired Turner to create the #WarOnRona wellness and resiliency movement, which addresses individual factors such as beliefs, attitudes, and culture, while also building health self-efficacy.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic began and the public health containment measures were launched, I knew this would have a tremendous negative impact on people’s mental and behavioral health,” says Turner.

“Having struggled with the mental health condition of bulimia in adolescence until my mid-twenties, I know what it feels like to feel depressed, isolated, and lack a sense of control over one’s life. I was watching the heroic efforts of frontline workers doing their part in this fight by treating those ill, keeping our transportation systems running, keeping our lights on, our trash picked up, our grocery stores open, and I asked myself ‘what could I do’ to help people during this tremendously difficult and unprecedented time.”

Turner began holding free mental and behavioral health webinars from her dining room table for different community groups. 

According to participants, “the information and support was really helpful.”

A year into the pandemic with vaccines now becoming more available, Turner says “there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

“Because we have been battling this disease for so long, people are fatigued, they’re demoralized, and disempowered. They need hope and support that will help them feel more empowered to take control of their lives, which is why I decided to offer what wellness information and support I could through MAD COOL FITNESS." 

Turner’s motto is “Brain + Behavior = Body.”

“Focus on your head first, and healthier behavior and body will follow,” she says.

The MAD COOL FITNESS #WarOnRona movement is based on this philosophy and includes:

  • Brain + behavior = body wellness tips: Turner posts wellness videos on the Dr. Jennifer Turner Facebook page. These include healthy lifestyle, stress, time management and organizational skills, and healthy eating and nutrition tips.
  • Support, accountability, and inspiration: Turner asks everyone to commit to 15 minutes of fitness, 10 minutes of physical activity, and 5 minutes of mindfulness, every day for 30 days, and to post their progress on the Dr. Jennifer Turner Facebook page, using the #WarOnRona hashtag to inspire others.

  • Live health coaching on social media: Turner hosts sessions over Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Clubhouse, where she explains her other signature phrase, “STEP AWAY FROM THAT CHICKEN WING!” and acknowledges that stress eating happens, while also providing tools for managing it.
  • Weekly LIVE MAD COOL cardio class: MAD COOL FITNESS is also about movement. Turner offers a free, high octane, fun cardio dance work out, with conditioning exercises that are accessible to all levels on Saturday mornings. You can learn more about MAD COOL CARDIO here.

The #WarOnRona movement also acknowledges and recognizes that systemic efforts that address social determinants of health are necessary to end the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We must acknowledge racism, social injustice, and address social determinants of health in a comprehensive manner that involves multiple sectors - including academia, corporate, government, non-profit, and community-based organizations - to build a society that is better and more equitable,” concludes Turner.

More information on the #WarOnRona Movement is available here.


About Jennifer Turner

Jennifer Turner received her Doctor of Public Health degree from the Rutgers School of Public Health in 2019. In addition to her health education and behavioral science work, she is also a media executive serving as the senior vice president of scripted programming at Sony Pictures Television, overseeing creative on hit series such as The Good Doctor, The Boys, and The Blacklist across broadcast and streaming platforms. She decided to combine her media, entertainment, and public health backgrounds into MAD COOL FITNESS, an edutainment, multicultural, healthy lifestyle brand that helps people learn and achieve well-being. At the Rutgers School of Public Health, Turner teaches the Public Health Foundations course and is a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council, which provides oversight for the development of the School’s strategy, execution of initiatives, and assessment of performance-based goals.

About the Rutgers School of Public Health 

The Rutgers School of Public Health - New Jersey’s leading academic institution in public health - is committed to advancing health and wellbeing and preventing disease throughout New Jersey, the United States, and the world, by preparing students as public health leaders, scholars, and practitioners; conducting public health research and scholarship; engaging collaboratively with communities and populations; and actively advocating for policies, programs, and services through the lens of equity and social justice. Learn how the Rutgers School of Public Health is "keeping the ‘public’ in public health,” by visiting them at https://sph.rutgers.edu.