Pediatric Obesity Conference

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gary Foster Gary D. Foster, PhD

Gary Foster is Laura Carnell Professor of Medicine, Public Health and Psychology and Director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University.

Dr. Foster’s research interests include the prevention and treatment of obesity. He studies a variety of treatment approaches including behavior therapy, pharmacotherapy, and surgery. He evaluates obesity prevention strategies in schools and communities. Some of his current research studies include: the effects of weight loss on sleep apnea, the role of school breakfast in preventing childhood obesity and the effects of changing the environment in corner stores and supermarkets in low-income areas. He has authored or coauthored more than 150 scientific publications and 3 books on obesity.

Dr. Foster has been a frequent presenter at national and international scientific meetings. He also has considerable clinical experience treating overweight patients in individual and group settings for over 25 years. Dr. Foster has received numerous awards and honors including: Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology from the American Psychology Association and an Honorary Membership from American Dietetic Association and was President of the Obesity Society (2008). His research on the school based prevention of obesity was cited by the American Heart Association as one the top 10 advances in cardiovascular research in 2008. He currently serves on the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association.

Simone French Simone A. French, PhD

Dr. French is a Professor in the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. Dr. French received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1990, and has been a faculty member in the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health at the University of Minnesota since 1994.

Dr. French has conducted research in the area of obesity prevention for the past 20 years, with a focus on environmental influences. She has served as Principal Investigator on several NIH grants that support her research program. Dr. French’s research has evaluated interventions to promote healthful food choices in community settings such as worksites, schools, and households. These interventions target environmental influences such as food availability, price, portion size and promotion.

Dr. French has published over 145 research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. She is the founding editor of the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, and is an internationally recognized expert in obesity prevention among youth and adult populations. She is the Director of the University of Minnesota Obesity Prevention Center.

Ken Resnicow Ken Resnicow, PhD

Ken Resnicow is the Irwin Rosenstock Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at University of Michigan School of Public Health. His research interests include: the design and evaluation of health promotion programs for special populations, particularly chronic disease prevention for African Americans; tailored health communications; understanding the relationship between ethnicity and health behaviors; substance use prevention and harm reduction; training health professionals in motivational interviewing. Much of his work is informed by Chaos Theory, Complexity Science, and Self Determination Theory. Current studies include: An NIH-funded project to test the impact of ethnic and novel motivational tailoring of colorectal screening materials for African Americans; an NIH-funded project to develop and evaluate two smoking prevention programs for South African Youth; an NIH-funded project to test the impact of ethnic and novel motivational tailoring of dietary intervention materials for African Americans; two Department of Transplantation studies to increase organ donation rates among African Americans working in Michigan “Greek” organizations and churches; a CDC-funded study to improve colorectal screening rates working in Black churches; and an NIH-funded study to reduce obesity using Motivational Interviewing working with the American Academy of Pediatrics PROS practices. He has published over 230 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and has served on numerous advisory panels and review groups.

He is also president of Academic Assistance, a health care consulting and Motivational Interviewing training firm. Recent and current corporate and health care delivery clients include Aetna, Principal Financial, Nationwide, Veterans Administration, numerous universities, and the National Health Group of Singapore. This work has focused on designing and implementing health coaching and disease management programs for health care delivery systems using motivational interviewing and novel behavioral interventions.

Thomas Robinson Thomas N. Robinson, MD, MPH

Thomas N. Robinson, MD, MPH is the Irving Schulman, MD Endowed Professor in Child Health, Professor of Pediatrics and of Medicine, in the Division of General Pediatrics and the Stanford Prevention Research Center at Stanford University School of Medicine, and Director of the Center for Healthy Weight at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Dr. Robinson focuses on "solution-oriented" research, developing and evaluating health promotion and disease prevention interventions for children, adolescents and their families to directly inform medical and public health practice and policy.

His research is largely experimental in design, conducting school-, family- and community-based randomized controlled trials to test the efficacy and/or effectiveness of theory-driven behavioral, social and environmental interventions to prevent and reduce obesity, improve nutrition, increase physical activity and decrease inactivity, reduce smoking, reduce children's television and media use, and demonstrate causal relationships between hypothesized risk factors and health outcomes. Robinson's research is grounded in social cognitive models of human behavior, uses rigorous methods, and is performed in generalizable settings with diverse populations, making the results of his research more relevant for clinical and public health practice and policy.

His research is published widely in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Robinson received both his B.S. and M.D. from Stanford University and his M.P.H. in Maternal and Child Health from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital, Boston and Harvard Medical School, and then returned to Stanford for post-doctoral training as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. Robinson joined the faculty at Stanford in 1993, was appointed Assistant Professor in 1996, and promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2003. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar, was a member of the Institute of Medicine's Committees on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents and Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity, and is Principal Investigator on numerous prevention studies funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Robinson also is Board Certified in Pediatrics, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and practices General Pediatrics at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

David Ludwig, MD, PhD David Ludwig, MD, PhD

In 1996, David Ludwig developed the Boston Children’s Hospital Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Program–a multidisciplinary care clinic dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of children who are overweight or obese. The program provides state-of-the-art care for overweight and obese children and serves as a setting for research to develop innovative treatments for pediatric obesity. In 2010, he launched the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children's Hospital to integrate research, clinical care, teaching and community outreach. Dr. Ludwig has been principal investigator on numerous studies aiming to identify dietary factors that contribute to obesity. He holds a mid-career mentoring award from the National Institutes of Health, has published over 100 scientific articles and lectures widely throughout the country and overseas. Research from Dr. Ludwig’s team has shown that:

  • A low-glycemic load diet is more effective than the conventional reduced-fat diet for weight loss and cardiovascular disease prevention.
  • The right diet can reset the so-called “body weight set point,” making weight loss easier.
  • Individuals respond to diet based on fundamental biological differences, and these differences can help inform a “personalized” approach to weight loss.
  • Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption causes excessive weight gain in children.
  • Fast-food consumption increases risk for obesity and diabetes in youth.
  • The obesity epidemic may shorten life expectancy in the US by mid-century, unless preventive measures are taken.

David Ludwig is Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. He received an MD and PhD from Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Boston Children's Hospital.

Cara Ebbeling, PhD Cara Ebbeling, PhD

Dr. Ebbeling holds advanced degrees in nutrition (PhD, University of Connecticut, 1997) and exercise science (MS, University of Massachusetts, 1988). She has successfully designed, implemented and evaluated lifestyle interventions in free-living children, adolescents and adults. Moreover, she has experience in behavioral counseling for promoting dietary change and in using self-report methodology to assess diet and physical activity. Dr. Ebbeling has made significant contributions to obesity research, particularly with regard to developing state-of-the-art behavioral interventions and exploring how behavioral processes interact with the metabolic effects of diet and physical activity to influence body weight and chronic disease risk. She also has conducted research aimed at understanding the influence of consuming fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages on energy intake and body weight. Dr. Ebbeling is a frequent presenter at professional meetings, and her work has been published in prominent journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The Lancet and Pediatrics. She served as an associate editor of Obesity and frequently performs ad hoc reviews for numerous medical and nutrition journals. She is a fellow of The Obesity Society and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Christine Locke Healey, Community Programs Director at the New Balance Obesity Prevention Center

Christine Locke Healey joined the New Balance Obesity Prevention Center in September 2012. In her role as Community Program Director she oversees all community related activities including the OWL on the Road and OWL on the Water Programs and the development of educational tools and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining the Center, Christine worked in the Office of Child Advocacy at Boston Children’s Hospital where she managed the Fitness in the City Program, a key initiative in Boston Children’s strategy for preventing and managing obesity. As Program and Partnership Manager she helped develop and implement the Healthy Family Fun social marketing campaign and the Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures preschool obesity prevention program.

Christine joined the Boston Children’s Hospital team in 2003 after working as a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Michael E. Capuano. Christine obtained her BS degree in Criminal Justice from Sacred Heart University and her MPH from Boston University. She is a graduate of LeadBoston, an executive leadership program focused on civic engagement and social responsibility.

Kevin Churchwell, MD
Kevin Churchwell is Boston Children’s Hospital’s first Executive Vice President of Health Affairs and will also assume the role Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Churchwell has the responsibilities for clinical and operating functions across the institution. He has been named one of the top 25 minority health care executives by Modern Healthcare, one of the Nashville Business Journal's Health Care Heroes, and the American Diabetes Association's Father of the Year. Kevin has been honored by the NAACP with their annual Image Award/Matthew Walker Healthcare Award, received the prestigious Trumpet Award, and been inducted into the Nashville Public Schools Hall of Fame for his work in outreach to public high schools.

Churchwell has strong ties to the Boston area, graduating with an undergraduate degree from MIT and completing his residency at Boston Children’s, in addition to serving as an attending physician there for two years. He has a medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He previously served as CEO of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Sandy Sherman, PhD
Sandra Sherman MS, EdM, EdD, serves as Director of Nutrition Education at The Food Trust. She has 40 years of experience in conducting national and local demonstration projects designed to increase access to food and nutrition education resources in low-income communities. Prior to coming to the Trust, Dr. Sherman was the Executive Director of the National Child Nutrition Project where she directed national demonstration projects to improve the health and nutritional status of children. Since coming to the Trust 20 years ago, she developed the Farmers’ Market Program, Philadelphia Nutrition Education Network, Healthy Corner Store Initiative and the School Nutrition Policy Initiative, which was found to reduce the incidence of childhood overweight by 50 percent. Sandra was instrumental in developing the PA Nutrition Education Network which laid the groundwork for Pennsylvania's SNAP Ed Program, one of the largest in the country. She has been on the graduate faculties of Philadelphia's leading Nutrition Departments and Teachers' College at Columbia University, and has received national acclaim for her work in helping low-income communities carry out successful nutrition projects

Sara Veblen-Mortenson, MPH, MSW
Ms. Veblen-Mortenson is an Associate Director in the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. She received her Master’s of Public Health and Social Work degrees from the University of Minnesota in 1990. Her primary area of behavioral focus during the past seven years has been obesity prevention. She spent the previous 17 years working on research in the areas of alcohol, other drugs, and violence use prevention. Her key work on prevention studies has been in the design, development, and implementation of school, family, and community-wide prevention strategies for youth and family health promotion research.
She has served in leadership roles on task forces and advocacy groups to promote and support prevention initiatives at the local and state levels. She has published 29 articles or book chapters on the design, development, and outcomes of prevention studies and has presented at local and national conferences.

Donna Matheson, PhD
Donna Matheson is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Pediatrics, and is part of the Solution Science Research Lab. She obtained her PhD in Nutrition Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University. Before completing her Post-Doctoral training at Stanford University, she was an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She has also worked in a department of public health and developed community based public health initiatives and policies for maternal and child nutrition programs.
Dr. Matheson’s work is centered on developing and evaluating programs to prevent and treat childhood obesity and to eliminate nutrition inequities in underserved populations. She works closely with community organizations to create programs that are pragmatic and exciting for children, parents, teachers and other community organizers. Her interventions are grounded in theories from the social sciences and use novel strategies including food photography, lay health advisors, and in-home family-based interventions. She has evaluated these programs using randomized controlled trials that involve families with diverse ethnic backgrounds, many who report high levels of food insecurity. She has also developed novel methods to assess and evaluate dietary changes, including household food inventories and strategies to report food portion sizes. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Alison Bocian, MS, Senior Research Associate
As a health services researcher, Alison Bocian has been involved in primary-care research for 20 years – most all with the Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) network of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Her expertise is in the area of methodological development and execution of practice-based research grant applications and protocols for a diverse mix of over 20 large-sample national primary-care studies. Alison’s interest in pediatric clinical research networks is not confined to primary care. She manages the Consortium to Advance the Pediatric Research Infrastructure (CAPRI) research initiative of the AAP. These efforts include linking subspecialty and primary care pediatric clinical research networks with one another to improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

David Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP,
David Katz is the founding (1998) director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center. He received his BA from Dartmouth College in three years (1984; Magna Cum Laude); his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (1988); and his MPH from the Yale University School of Public Health (1993). He is a two-time diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, a board-certified specialist in Preventive Medicine/Public Health, and a clinical instructor in medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Katz is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Childhood Obesity, President-Elect of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, founder and President of the non-profit Turn the Tide Foundation, and medical director for the Integrative Medicine Center at Griffin Hospital in Derby, CT. He is the principal inventor of the NuVal nutritional guidance system, currently in roughly 1700 US supermarkets in more than 30 states, coast to coast. He holds 5 U.S. patents on other inventions, with several patents currently pending.

Dr. Katz has published nearly 200 scientific articles and textbook chapters; innumerable blogs and columns; nearly 1,000 newspaper articles; and authored or co-authored 15 books to date, including multiple editions of textbooks in both Nutrition and Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Katz has been extensively involved in medical education. He was a founding director of one of the nation’s first combined residency training programs in Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine (Griffin Hospital, Derby, CT); and served as Director of Medical Studies in Public Health at the Yale University School of Medicine for a span of 8 years. He has led classes and given lectures for Yale students in medicine, public health, nursing, the physician assistants program, and undergraduates, as well as medical residents and faculty.

Shawn Farrell, MBA
Shawn Farrell is Boston Children's Hospital’s first Telemedicine and Telehealth Program Director. In this role, he is responsible for the development of all hospital, physician, and patient focused telehealth initiatives at the institution. Telehealth uses innovative video, robotics, and mobile technologies to facilitate virtual patient care, physician collaboration, and education. It allows our doctors and nurses to extend their reach beyond the “bricks and mortar” of our hospitals and clinics. The goal of these programs is to improve care efficiency, improve access to specialists, make care more patient friendly, distribute clinical knowledge, and reduce overall costs.

Prior to joining Children's Hospital, Shawn led the development of an enterprise-wide telemedicine strategy at Massachusetts General Hospital, including the development of core technology and business service platforms, which enabled multiple clinical services to integrate telemedicine into their clinical practice. From 2009 through 2011, Shawn also served as Executive Director of the Acute TeleNeurology and TeleStroke Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) serving 30 community hospitals, and developed a turnkey telemedicine solution that could be rapidly implemented by other academic or tertiary medical center "hubs" wishing to deliver teleneurology services. Programs in Washington, Oklahoma, Connecticut, and Virginia have implemented the solution.

From 2000 through 2009, Shawn served as the Executive Director for the Department of Neurology at MGH. Before that, Shawn was a member of the strategic and business planning team at Tufts Health Plan in Waltham, MA, and a project manager, consultant and finance manager for the international health group at John Snow, Inc. in Boston, MA. Shawn received an MBA in Health Care Management from Boston University and a BS in Marketing from Lehigh University.

Amy Fleischman, MD, MMSc
Dr. Fleischman attended Yale University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital. She holds a masters in clinical investigation from Harvard/MIT. She is a practicing pediatric endocrinologist at Boston Children's Hospital in the obesity, general endocrinology, and neuroendocrinology clinical programs.
She is the Medical Director of the Optimal Weight for Life clinic and the Assistant Clinical Director for Ambulatory Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology Her research interests include the pathophysiology and treatment of pediatric obesity and Type 2 diabetes, specifically mechanisms of insulin resistance including mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation. She also investigates novel healthcare delivery mechanisms for the treatment of pediatric obesity.

Helen Lyon, MD, MS
Dr. Lyon is a full-time pediatrician at Wareham Pediatrics, and a collaborator on Boston Children’s Hospital OWL clinic’s Telehealth pilot study. She is a member of the Pediatric Provider Organization of Boston Children’s and she is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School in the Dept of Pediatrics. She practiced pediatrics in Maine and Massachusetts, as well as being a board certified Clinical Geneticist attending at Boston Children’s Hospital Division of Genetics from 2001 through 2009. She earned a masters degree in Epidemiology, and conducted research with funds from the NIDDK on obesity genetics with Dr. Joel Hirschhorn at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. She published data about genetic risks for obesity and related diseases, individually and as part of large international collaborations. Her current work is focused on general pediatrics, obesity prevention and obesity treatment.

Richard Antonelli, MD, MS
Dr. Antonelli is the Medical Director of Integrated Care and of Physician Relations and Outreach for Boston Children’s Hospital. He is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School in the Department of Pediatrics. Between 1987 and 2005, he was in full time, community-based general pediatrics, founding Nashaway Pediatrics in Sterling, MA. Since 1987, his clinical work has focused on providing comprehensive, family-centered care for all children, youth, and young adults, but especially for those with special health care needs. He is a member of the Project Advisory Committee of the National Center for Medical Home Implementation at the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has published data about the outcome efficacy and cost of care coordination services for children and youth with special health care needs and their families in primary care settings.

Dr. Antonelli has also published work defining mechanisms for integration and coordination of care across systems including the development of strategies and interventions to improve collaborative efforts between families, primary care providers, and subspecialists. He has served on the Steering Committee for Care Coordination at the National Quality Forum and as an advisor to the Patient-Centered Medical Home measurement tool work group at the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). In conjunction with researchers and policy representatives from internal medicine and family medicine, he represented the Academic Pediatrics Association in the national initiative Establishing a Policy Relevant Research Agenda for the Patient-Centered Medical Home: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach. He co-authored Making Care Coordination a Critical Component of the Pediatric Health System: A Multidisciplinary Framework, supported by The Commonwealth Fund. He has been appointed to the Measure Applications Partnership at the National Quality Forum since its inception. He has provided consultation on care coordination and integration methodologies and measures to multiple states, to US federal agencies, and to some international stakeholders. He is currently funded by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health to develop a family-reported measure of care integration.

Since care coordination is so central to the effective transformation of the American health care system, Antonelli’s work has been used for both adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. He has general pediatrics clinical responsibilities in the Primary Care Clinic setting at Boston Children’s Hospital where he teaches residents, students, and fellows. He still is the primary care provider for several patients who have been with him since he first completed his residency!

Jody Adams, Chef
Jody Adams is a James Beard Award winning chef and the creative visionary behind two of Massachusetts’ most loved restaurants: TRADE and the legendary Rialto. Known as much for her humility, warmth and unshakeable work ethic as for her culinary skills, Adams has chartered an illustrious and adventurous career that has seen her competing on BRAVO’s Top Chef Masters (Season Two), leading culinary-focused bike tours in Italy and raising millions of dollars for causes dear to her heart: most notably Partners in Health, Share Our Strength, which named her with their Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2010, and The Greater Boston Food Bank.

After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from Brown University, Adams launched her career working as a line cook at Seasons restaurant in the famed Bostonian Hotel under Chef Lydia Shire in 1983. Three years later, she helped open Hamersley’s Bistro with Gordon Hamersley as his Sous Chef, and in 1990, she became Executive Chef of Michela’s in Cambridge.

Adams and partners opened Rialto in 1994; just four months after the opening, The Boston Globe awarded Rialto four- stars. In 1997, Adams received the James Beard Foundation award for The Perrier-Jouet Best Chef Award: Northeast.

Vivien Morris, MS, RD, MPH, LDN
Vivien Morris graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Afro American and Afro Latin studies. She subsequently received a Master of Science in Nutrition degree from Framingham State College and a Master of Public Health degree from Boston University. She is a pediatric dietitian with extensive experience as a clinical nutritionist, public health practitioner, program manager and researcher.

Vivien is a Senior Project Manager at the Boston Public Health Commission. There she coordinates the Overarching Goals, a strategic effort to significantly decrease inequities between residents of color and white residents in three health areas: (1) low birth weight, (2) obesity among children and adults, and (3) Chlamydia infection among teens and young adults.

Vivien’s work in Boston’s communities is extensive. She is a founding member of the Boston Organization and Nutritionists and Dietitians of Color, an organization created to meet the specific culture-based nutritional and health needs of low income community members of African and Afro-Caribbean descent. She serves on the steering committees of the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness of Mattapan United and coordinates the Kennedy Community Garden and Playground in Mattapan. She is most proud to serve as chairperson of the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, a community based organization which aims to galvanize the creativity and passion of local residents and community organizations to transform the food and fitness environment of Mattapan into a haven of good health, active living and healthy affordable food. Most recently she was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to the Massachusetts Food Policy Council.

Sally Sampson
Sally is the founder and president of ChopChop, and a cookbook author and food writer who has written 11 cookbooks and been the coauthor of seven more.
ChopChop is a quarterly magazine dedicated to reversing and preventing childhood obesity. Sally is the founder and president of the publication. ChopChop’s first issue was published in April 2010. It is a magazine for kids aged 5 to 12 and their families and is published by Kid2Kid, Inc, a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts.
Sally has contributed to publications such as Bon Appetit magazine, Food & Wine magazine, The Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, The Boston Phoenix, Mode, Self, Fine Cooking and The Brookline Tab. She was a senior writer for Cook’s Illustrated magazine.

David B Waters, CEO
David Waters has been involved with Community Servings as a board member, volunteer and staff person since its founding twenty-three years ago and became the Executive Director/CEO in 1999. With a staff of 45, the agency delivers medically appropriate meals to 1500 critically ill individuals and families per year across 215 square miles, having delivered 5.2 million free meals over 23 years. In 2008, the agency added a new food service job training program, a social enterprise effort feeding local schools, and several local foods initiatives, in addition to offering technical assistance to a partner agency in South Africa. Community Servings recently won two prestigious innovation awards from the Smaller Business Association of New England and the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, and was voted “Boston’s Favorite Non-Profit” by the readers of the Boston Phoenix.
With 38 years experience in food service management, David served as the General Manager of UpStairs at the Pudding restaurant in Cambridge for eight years, where he first created Community Servings’ annual Pie in the Sky Thanksgiving pie sale, which is now replicated in cities around the country. He has been honored by the American Marketing Association in the field of nonprofit marketing, and received the Hero Among Us award from the Boston Celtics and the Social Justice Award from Wainwright Bank. He is the former Board Chair of the international Association of Nutrition Services Agencies, and serves on the Mayor’s Food Policy Council and the Massachusetts Food Policy Alliance. He is also an adjunct lecturer at Emerson College in non-profit marketing.

David holds a BA and MA from Middlebury College and a MA from Boston University.

Suzanne Rostler, MS, RD, LDN
Suzanne Rostler is a registered dietitian, author, speaker and consultant. She has expertise in pediatric and adult weight management but works with clients on a range of food, nutrition and health-related conditions.

In addition to her work in her private practice, Suzanne is the lead nutritionist in the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) clinic at Children's Hospital Boston. She served as the Clinical Director of Great Moves!, a pediatric weight management program in collaboration with the physicians of Children's Hospital Boston and co-authored the book Ending the Food Fight.

Suzanne received her Master's degree in clinical nutrition from New York University. She holds a Master's degree in Journalism from the University of California at Berkeley and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan.
Suzanne is a frequent media commentator on nutrition and health. She has been cited in TIME, Parent's magazine, The Boston Globe, Child magazine, and Parents and Kids, among others. She has also been filmed by Chronicle, Fox News, WBZ-TV, WCVB-TV and WGBH (Boston).

Cheryl Bartlett, RN
Cheryl Bartlett was named Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in June 2013. Throughout her career in public health and health care, Ms. Bartlett has been a voice for promoting positive change in health outcomes for Massachusetts residents. As Commissioner Ms. Bartlett chairs the newly appointed Prevention and Wellness Advisory Board, which oversees a $60 million Prevention Trust Fund – the first of its kind in the nation.
As former Deputy Commissioner, Ms. Bartlett led the Department’s implementation of the health care cost containment legislation known as Chapter 224 and spearheaded a number of other health care quality and performance improvement initiatives. Most recently she oversaw the workgroup charged with creating regulations to support the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and continues to provide leadership as those regulations are implemented. Ms. Bartlett also continues to chair the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Advisory Committee and is a member of the Governor’s Food Policy Council.
Prior to being named Deputy Commissioner, Ms. Bartlett was the Director of the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention where she provided strategic direction and oversight for Mass in Motion – the groundbreaking Patrick administration initiative to help Massachusetts residents to eat better and move more in the places they live, learn, work and play.
Ms. Bartlett has extensive experience as a registered nurse and hospital administrator implementing health system changes through quality assessment and improvement practices. Ms. Bartlett has held elected and appointed positions at the local level in several municipalities, including serving on the Nantucket Board of Selectman. She received her nursing training at Yale New Haven Hospital and Quinnipiac University and graduated summa cum laude from Stonehill College with a degree in health care administration.

Elsie M. Taveras, MD, MPH
Dr. Taveras is a health services researcher and board certified pediatrician. She is Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and directs the Department of Pediatric Population Health Management at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. She is PI of three NIH-funded studies. Dr. Taveras has extensive expertise in epidemiologic investigations into the developmental origins of obesity, pediatrics, obesity prevention and treatment, examining racial/ethnic disparities, and direction of cluster randomized trials in the clinical setting. She is a co-investigator and the clinical lead for the Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Project/Mass in Motion Kids.

Mary Giannetti, MS, RD
Mary Giannetti has been employed at the Montachusett Opportunity Council, Inc for the past 20 years where she is currently the Director of the Energy and Housing and Nutrition and Wellness Divisions. Giannetti is a Registered Dietitian with a BS from Simmons College and MS in nutrition from Mass General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions. With funding from the Ma DPH, she has led a workplace wellness initiative, Fun ‘n FITchburg, at her agency and the City of Fitchburg. The initiative has grown from the workplace to the community funded through MA DPH Mass in Motion, Center for Disease Control Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Project and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - with the goal to reduce childhood obesity through environmental, system and policy changes that increase access to healthy eating and active living in places where youth, live, play, go to school and receive their medical care.

Thomas Land, PhD
Thomas Land is the Interim Director of the Office of Health Information Policy and Informatics at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. By linking health policy and informatics, the Department is hoping to leverage changes in Health Policy (like meaningful use) and advances in computer science to further public health goals. His work includes managing the development of a generalized bi-directional e-referral system that links clinical and community settings as well as the development of an extensive surveillance system to track and link telephone survey and field data through geo-codes. His research has primarily centered on the impact of tobacco use and tobacco policies on health outcomes. He is the PI for the Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Project/Mass in Motion Kids.

Christina D. Economos, PhD
Christina D. Economos, PhD, is the Vice-Chair and Director of ChildObesity180 and is an Associate Professor at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. From 2003 – 2013, Dr. Economos served as the Associate Director of the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Prevention and in 2005 was named the New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition. She is the principal investigator of multiple large-scale studies examining childhood nutrition and physical activity with the goal of inspiring behavior, policy, and environmental change to improve the health of America’s children. Throughout her career, Dr. Economos has forged new research methods in the area of childhood obesity prevention which has led to new public policy aimed at improving children’s health.

Dr. Economos led Shape Up Somerville, a groundbreaking study which demonstrated that it is possible to reduce excess weight gain in children through changes at multiple leverage points within an entire community. She also led the BONES Project (Beat Osteoporosis: Nourish and Exercise Skeletons) funded by NICHD; EAT SMART, PLAY HARD funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the CHANGE Project with Save the Children; The Balance Project funded by the PepsiCo Foundation; and Live Well: Assessing and Preventing Obesity in New Immigrants funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Economos is involved in a variety of national obesity and public health related activities. She currently serves as an appointed member of the Institute of Medicine’s Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity and also serves as chair of the Public Policy committee for the American Society of Nutrition. From 2010 – 2012, Dr. Economos served as an appointed member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention. She also serves on the Milk Processor Education Program Medical Advisory Board, Chartwells Child Nutrition Advisory Board, and the American Diabetes Association's Prevention Committee. She has been featured in numerous media outlets including CNN, NBC Nightly News, ABC Nightline, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Newsweek; and she recently participated as a panelist on the TEDMED Great Challenges series addressing childhood obesity.

Matthew W. Gillman, MD, SM
Matthew W. Gillman, MD, SM, is Professor in the Department of Population Medicine (DPM) at Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, and in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. At the DPM, Dr. Gillman directs the Obesity Prevention Program, whose goal is to lessen obesity-related morbidity and mortality through epidemiologic, health services, and intervention research. His major research interests are in early life prevention of childhood and adult diseases, particularly obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. He is PI of Project Viva, an NIH-funded cohort study of pregnant women and children that has identified and quantified many pre- and peri-natal risk factors for obesity and its consequences, asthma and allergies, and cognition and behavior.

He has served as Co-PI of the Coordinating Center of the US National Children’s Study, a member of the NHLBI Pediatric Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Initiative Expert Panel, a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee to Reexamine Pregnancy Weight Guidelines, a member of the NIDDK Clinical Obesity Research Panel, and a member of the Council of the Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. He is co-editor of Maternal Obesity, published by Cambridge University Press.
Dr. Gillman received the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School and the Faculty Mentoring Award from Harvard School of Public Health. He is also the recipient of the 2012 Greg Alexander Award for Advancing Public Health Knowledge through Epidemiology and Applied Research.

Dr. Victoria W. Rogers, MD
Victoria W. Rogers is the Director of The Kids CO-OP at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. There, she oversees the development, coordination, and promotion of community-oriented, pediatric healthcare initiatives. Over the past few years, Dr. Rogers has focused her efforts on combating the childhood obesity epidemic.

Dr. Rogers is also the Director of the Let’s Go! program. Let’s Go! uses a multi-sector approach to reach youth and families where they live, learn, work and play to reinforce the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. As a leader in the field of childhood obesity prevention and management, she is often called upon as a consultant by The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other national organizations to provide her expert opinion and review. Additionally, Dr. Rogers is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Obesity Leadership Workgroup.

In 2011, Dr. Rogers received the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for her work in the field of childhood obesity. Additionally, in 2013, Dr. Rogers received the 2013 Giraffe Award from the Maine Children’s Alliance for “sticking her neck out for Maine kids”.

Dr. Rogers graduated from Dartmouth College receiving a BA in political science and received her medical degree from the University of Vermont. Currently, Dr. Rogers is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Mark Schuster, MD, PhD
Mark Schuster is William Berenberg Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Chief of General Pediatrics and Vice Chair for Health Policy in the Department of Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Schuster conducts federally-funded research on child, adolescent, and family issues. He is P.I. of a decade-long study to partner with the Los Angeles Unified School District to develop, test, and disseminate a middle-school program to promote healthy eating and physical activity. He also currently leads the Center of Excellence for Pediatric Quality Measurement, which is developing measures for national use, and the Boston Children’s Hospital Center for Collaborative Community Research. In addition, his research includes a worksite-based intervention to help parents raise sexually healthy adolescents, family leave for parents of chronically ill children, and “Healthy Passages,” which seeks to identify personal, family, school, and community influences on health behaviors and outcomes by tracking 5,000 youth longitudinally. Dr. Schuster received his BA from Yale, MD and MPP from Harvard, and PhD in Public Policy Analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He received AcademyHealth’s Nemours Child Health Services Research Award for a young investigator in 2003 and the Academic Pediatric Association Research Award for career achievement in 2009. He is President-Elect of the Academic Pediatric Association. 

Charles J. Homer, MD, MPH
Dr. Charles Homer co-founded the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) in July 1999 and he currently serves as the organization's President and CEO. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. A member of the federal Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children, Dr. Homer also served as a member of the Institute of Medicine's Pediatric Health and Quality Measurement Committee from 2009-2011; chaired NCQA’s Children’s Measurement Advisory Panel from 2009-2011; and co-chaired the National Quality Forum (NQF) Child Outcomes Steering Committee from 2009-2010. He represents NICHQ at the National Priority Partnership, convened by the National Quality Forum. In Massachusetts he served as a member of the Expert Panel on Performance Measurement reporting to the Commonwealth’s Quality and Cost Council from 2009-2012. He was a member of the third US Preventive Services Task Force from 2000-2002 and served as chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Quality Improvement from 1999-2001 and its Steering Committee on Quality Improvement and Management from 2001-2004. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Yale University, his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Barbara Ferrer, Ph. D., MPH, M.Ed
As Boston’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Ferrer is the executive director of the city’s health department, managing a $160 million budget and overseeing 1,100 employees. In addition to operating public health programs, the Boston Public Health Commission provides oversight of Boston Emergency Medical Services, several substance abuse treatment facilities, and the largest homeless services program in New England. A high school principal in the Boston Public Schools from 2004 to 2007, Dr. Ferrer returned to the Commission in 2007 after having previously served as the Deputy Director for six years. During that time she spearheaded a broad-based and comprehensive campaign to reduce racial and ethnic health inequities.

Dr. Ferrer has more than 30 years of experience working to improve health outcomes, starting as a community organizer back in 1978. Prior to joining the Boston Public Health Commission, she spent five years at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health -- first as Director of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention and later as Director of the Division of Maternal and Child Health. Dr. Ferrer previously worked for four years directing community-based research projects at Brandeis University’s Institute for Health Policy.

In 1988, Dr. Ferrer received a master’s degree in public health from Boston University, and was awarded a Pew Foundation doctoral fellowship to attend Brandeis University. She wrote her doctoral thesis on hospital length-of-stay determinants for AIDS patients and, in 1994, received her doctorate from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare. Dr. Ferrer also holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Dr. Ferrer is an active member of various community organizations working to build health equity in Boston and across the state. She is also an appointed member on various national boards where she represents the interests of local public health and vulnerable populations. Her passion for racial justice and health equity has afforded her opportunities to share strategies with colleagues across the country. Under her leadership, the Boston Public Health Commission has successfully designed and implemented nationally recognized models for addressing health inequities, advancing ‘health in all’ policies, and establishing effective partnerships with residents and community based organizations to respond to health emergencies.

About the Center

The New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital is dedicated to helping families, health care providers and community organizations fight to end childhood obesity.

Fueled by our culture, media and economics, children in the United States are eating fewer healthful foods, exercising less and weighing more. The result is an epidemic that puts happy, healthy futures at risk.

Our mission is to empower people to live healthy, active lives by:

  • Researching innovative ways to prevent childhood obesity
  • Providing evidence-based treatments for overweight and obese children
  • Increasing awareness and education of causes, prevention and treatments
  • Advocating for policy changes to promote healthy weight

Obesity Prevention Center
© 2019
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