Obesity National Advisory Council (NAC)

NICHQ's National Advisory Council (NAC) is a group of national experts from diverse backgrounds who bring unique knowledge, skills, and connections to aid the organization in accelerating improvement in childhood obesity prevention and treatment. The NAC serves to make recommendations and provide key guidance to NICHQ on our obesity work.

John Auerbach, MBA
Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Prac­tice, Department of Health Sciences
Director, Insti­tute on Urban Health Research, North­eastern University Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences
John Auerbach is the Director of the Insti­tute on Urban Health Research at the Northeastern University Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences. The insti­tute is devoted to knowl­edge dis­covery and its prac­tical appli­ca­tion to improve per­sonal and public health within urban com­mu­ni­ties, and it’s par­tic­u­larly focused on under­standing the social and envi­ron­mental con­di­tions of urban living in order to inform public health inter­ven­tion strate­gies, poli­cies and pro­fes­sional training. Mr. Auer­bach served as the com­mis­sioner of the Mass­a­chu­setts Depart­ment of Public Health from 2007-2012, working as a senior health policy adviser to Govenor Deval Patrick. From 1998 to 2007, he served as the exec­u­tive director of the Boston Public Health Com­mis­sion, the oldest health depart­ment in the United States. Among his many accom­plish­ments in this role, Mr. Auer­bach cre­ated a new set of health pri­or­i­ties for the city of Boston, including con­ceiving and estab­lishing pro­grams addressing asthma, dia­betes and cancer pre­ven­tion and the elim­i­na­tion of racial and ethnic disparities.

Brook Belay, MD, MPH
Senior Service Fellow, Obesity Prevention and Control Branch, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Belay is a Senior Service Fellow in CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Dr. Belay works on a variety of initiatives that focus on identifying and promoting innovative strategies in the health care setting. Dr. Belay graduated from Harvard University with an A.B. in biology. He then completed his MD/MPH training at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He completed a pediatrics residency and a pediatric nephrology fellowship at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, NY. His research and clinical interests have revolved around preventable cardiovascular diseases beginning in childhood. After practicing in general pediatrics for several years, he joined the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch in CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity in Atlanta, GA.

Leslie CarrollLeslie M. Carroll, MUP
Director of IMPACT
Leslie Carroll directs Family Voices IMPACT (Improving Maternal and Child Health Programs and Policies so All Children Thrive), a national project focusing on the essential role families and communities play in promoting health and wellness. Leslie holds a Masters degree in Urban Planning. Her professional interests include health impacts of the built and natural environments, access to healthy food and physical activity, family and community engagement in planning and decision making, and improving health outcomes for diverse populations, including children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities. Previous obesity prevention work includes directing the Tacoma in Motion Healthy Communities efforts at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department; Pierce County Community Action Plan for Active Living and Healthy Eating; and Jackson County Oregon’s Healthy Communities Program. She is the parent of a young adult who experiences autism and related developmental issues.

Debbie Chang, MPH
Senior Vice President & Executive Director, Health and Prevention Services, Nemours
Ms. Chang is the Vice President of Policy and Prevention for Nemours. She focuses on developing and achieving Nemours’ policy and advocacy goals; identifying, evaluating, replicating and promoting model practices and policies in strategic areas such as innovation in child health promotion, prevention, and Nemours’ integrated system of care; and developing and advancing Nemours’ visionary child health prevention strategy across the enterprise. During the last five years at Nemours, she created and led Nemours Health & Prevention Services, an operating division devoted to improving children’s health over time through a cross-sectoral, community-based model in Delaware that includes developing, implementing, evaluating, and promoting model prevention interventions.

Katherine Kaufer Christoffel, MD, MPH
Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), Children's Memorial Hospital; Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
Katherine Kaufer Christoffel, MD, MPH is a Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, and the Director of the Community-Engaged Research Center of the NUCATS Institute. Dr. Christoffel is also Deputy Director of the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Programs in Public Health, in the Department of Preventive Medicine. In addition to her teaching commitments, Dr. Christoffel serves as the Director for the Center on Obesity Management and Prevention (COMP) and Medical Director for the Consortium on Lowering Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) at the Children’s Memorial Hospital and Research Center in Chicago. She is also an attending pediatrician at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Bonnie Gance-Cleveland, PhD, RNC, PNP, FAAN
Associate Professor, College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, Arizona State University; Director, Center for Improving Health Outcomes in Children, Teens and Families
Dr. Gance-Cleveland brings many years of experience as a pediatric nurse practitioner in clinical, research, and academic settings. She served as the Research Chair for NAPNAP’s obesity prevention guidelines published in 2006 and her contributions on the development of these guidelines led to her selection by the AMA Expert Writing Group for recommendations on prevention of childhood obesity published in Pediatrics in 2007. Her extensive publication record includes articles and book chapters on school-based health centers, motivational interviewing as a strategy to enhance families’ adherence to treatment regimens, faculty practice, and children with addicted parents. Her recent funding has focused on technology to support provider adherence to the obesity guidelines, school-based obesity prevention, substance abuse prevention, school health, and family-centered care.

William Dietz, MD, PhD
Former Chief, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
William H. Dietz, MD, PhD, is the former Chief of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the CDC. Prior to his appointment to the CDC, he was a Professor of Pediatrics at the Tuft′s University School of Medicine, and Director of Clinical Nutrition at the Floating Hospital of New England Medical Center Hospitals. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, a recipient of the Holroyd-Sherry award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his contributions to the field of children and the media, and the recipient of the 2006 Nutrition Research award from the AAP for outstanding research in pediatric nutrition.

Michael Fraser, PhD, CAE
Chief Executive Officer, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP)
Michael Fraser, PhD, has over 14 years of public health agency and national association experience supporting and serving federal, state, and local public health agencies. Dr. Fraser is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs in Washington, DC. Dr. Fraser has been CEO of AMCHP since August, 2007. In 2009 he received a “Young and Aspiring CEO” award from Association Trends magazine and in 2010 he earned his Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential. During his tenure, AMCHP has been nationally recognized for its work in supporting state maternal and child health programs, most recently by receiving the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Director’s Award in October 2010 and the American Public Health Association’s MCH Section “Outstanding Leadership and Advocacy” award in November 2010.

Sandy Hassink, MD, FAAP
Director, Weight Management Program, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Nemours Biomedical Research
Dr. Hassink is the director Nemours Childhood Obesity Initiative and is actively seeing patients in the Weight Management clinic she began in 1988. She has collaborated in basic research efforts to identify pathophysiologic mechanisms of obesity, centering on the role of leptin and has lectured widely in the field of pediatric obesity. She chairs the Ethics committee, is a member of the IRB and has a master’s degree in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Dr. Hassink is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is chairperson of District III which includes the five state region of PA, NJ, DE, MD, WV, and Washington DC. She is chair of the AAP Obesity Leadership Workgroup and co chairs the APA Obesity SIG. She has authored “A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Obesity”, “Pediatric Obesity: Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment Strategies for Primary Care”, “Clinical Guide to Pediatric Weight Management”.

Jonathan Klein, MD, MPH
Associate Executive Director, American Academy of Pediatrics
Director, AAP Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence
Dr. Klein is Associate Executive Director of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Director of the AAP Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence. The AAP Julius B. Richmond Center is a national center dedicated to the elimination of children’s exposure to tobacco and second hand smoke, funded by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute and the American Legacy Foundation. Dr. Klein is an expert in adolescent medicine and child and adolescent health services research. His research addresses tobacco prevention and control, access and quality of care, obesity screening in primary care, and other child and adolescent preventive services.

Lenna Liu, MD, MPH
Associate Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine; Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development, Odessa Brown Children's Clinic, Seattle Children's Hospital
Dr. Liu is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Liu is active locally and nationally on childhood obesity prevention and management efforts, particularly with an emphasis on health disparities and low-income populations. She is involved in the prevention and management of obesity in primary care settings, a family YMCA-based healthy lifestyle program, community-based nutrition and physical activity promotion projects, and clinical services for overweight youth. Dr. Liu is also co-investigator on the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study that examines rates of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, in children and adolescents.

David Ludwig, MD, PhD
Director, Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Program, Children's Hospital Boston; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, is a practicing pediatrician and researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston. He holds the rank of Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Associate Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. Dr Ludwig is Founding Director of the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) program at Children's Hospital, a multidisciplinary clinic for the care of overweight children. His research focuses on the effects of diet on hormones, metabolism and body weight. In particular, he has been developing a novel “low glycemic” diet (i.e., one that decreases the surge in blood sugar after meals) for the treatment of obesity and prevention of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This work has been cited as providing a scientific basis for numerous popular diets, including The South Beach Diet, The Zone, SugarBusters, and The Glucose Revolution.

Anne McHugh, MS
Director, Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Division, Boston Public Health Commission
Ms. McHugh is the Director of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Division in the Boston Public Health Commission. Under her leadership, the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Division takes a lead role in the Commission's initiatives to reduce the overall burden of chronic disease and address disparities in outcomes, treatment, and related services. She focuses on improving the public health system across the continuum through prevention, screening, early detection, control, and treatment of chronic disease.

Victoria Rogers, MD, FAAP
Director, Kids CO-OP, Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center
Dr. Victoria 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. Some of the state-wide initiatives targeting childhood obesity that she has been involved with include: the Countdown to a Healthy ME Program at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, the Maine Youth Overweight Collaborative (MYOC), and 5-2-1-0 Goes to School. At a national level, she is involved with the Childhood Obesity Action Network. She is also the Medical Director to the Let’s Go! Initiative. Let’s Go! is a community initiative funded by local business and healthcare partners in the Greater Portland, Maine area. Let’s Go! is working in the healthcare sector, schools, childcare settings, workplace and communities to increase healthy eating and physical activity for youth and families. Most recently Dr. Rogers has been asked to participate in the American Academy of Pediatrics Obesity Leadership Workgroup, that is a cadre of expert consultants upon which the AAP calls on for expert opinion, review, spokespersons, etc.

Elsie Taveras, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, Harvard Medical School; Director, One Step Ahead Clinic, Children's Hospital Boston
Dr. Taveras is an Assistant Professor of both Population Medicine and Pediatrics, and is a pediatrician and health services researcher who works with DPM's Center for Child Health Care Studies. She also co-directs DPM's Obesity Prevention Program. Her research interests include nutrition and physical activity as they affect child health and childhood obesity prevention. Dr. Taveras is a recipient of the Physician Faculty Scholars Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to examine opportunities for childhood obesity prevention among underserved populations. Dr. Taveras trained in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston and Boston Medical Center and received her Master's Degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She is also the Director of the One Step Ahead clinic, a multidisciplinary childhood overweight prevention and early management program at Children's Hospital Boston.

Reginald Washington, MD
Chief Medical Officer, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children
Dr. Reginald Washington is clinical professor of pediatric cardiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Chief Medical Officer of the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver. Dr. Washington has been chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness, and co-chair of its National Task Force on Obesity. He also served as co-chair of the Commission on School Nutrition and Physical Activities for Denver Public Schools, and is the former President of the American Heart Association (AHA) of Colorado, and served on the National Board of Directors of the AHA. Dr. Washington was  a member of the Expert Committee on the Assessment and Prevention of Childhood Obesity convened by the American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control, and Health Resources and Services Administration; a member of the Expert Panel on Cardiovascular Risk Reduction in Children convened by the National Institutes of Health; a member of the Measurement Advisory Panel on Childhood Obesity for the National Committee for Quality Assurance; and a member of the Expert Committee on Obesity for the American Academy of Pediatrics. He serves on the board of Action for Healthy Kids and serves as its chairman. He is a member of the Expert Panel on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Children for the NIH.

Shale Wong, MD, MSPH
Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Dr. Wong is a pediatrician and professor at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine. She is a Senior Program Consultant for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Wong strives to improve children’s health through medical education, health policy and clinical care. She co-founded an innovative curricular program for health professional students designed to inspire new leadership in health care, focusing on social determinants of health and developing advocates who are empowered to improve the health of communities through service, collaboration, civic engagement and public policy. Dr. Wong served as health policy advisor to First Lady Michelle Obama for development and implementation of Let’s Move!, a national initiative to prevent childhood obesity.  She also assisted in launching Joining Forces to improve health and wellness of military families. Throughout her clinical practice, Dr. Wong has cared for children from underserved and vulnerable populations in safety net hospitals, community health centers, and academic clinical settings. She has received multiple awards and honors, including the Chancellor’s Diversity Recognition Award for CU LEADS.

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