Advisory Groups

An Advisory Group, composed of key stakeholders with experience in designing, implementing, and evaluating policy and public health approaches to improve dietary behaviors and reduce chronic disease, provide crucial input on this research. Specifically, Advisory Group members provide guidance on the feasibility of the various policy actions, inform sensitivity analyses and alternative policy options for evaluation, and assist in disseminating research findings.

Cardiovascular Policy Advisory Group

Sonia Angell

Deputy Commissioner, NYC DOHMH

Dr. Sonia Angell is deputy commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH), overseeing the Division of Prevention and Primary Care. This division works to advance population health by improving access to high-quality health care and introducing innovative community and system changes, with a focus on disease prevention and control, and the elimination of related health disparities. 

Richard Black

Principal, Quadrant D Consulting

Richard is a Principal of Quadrant D Consulting, an Executive Partner, R&D CPG at Pilot Lite Ventures, and Chief Scientific Officer of Care4ward, a Boston based startup seeking to improve the nutritional health of people undergoing chemo or radiation therapy for cancer. Richard has worked in the field of Nutrition for over 25 years, bridging science and marketing to develop compelling and captivating consumer products and messages at Kellogg Company, Nestlé, Novartis, the International Life Sciences Institute North America, Kraft Foods Global, Mondelēz International and most recently as the VP of Global R&D Nutrition Sciences PepsiCo.

Jill Birnbaum

Vice President, Global Advocacy & Strategic Opportunities American Heart Association

Jill Birnbaum is the Vice President of Global Advocacy & Strategic Opportunities for the National Center of the American Heart Association, a national nonprofit organization with a mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. In this role, she is responsible and accountable for supporting the CEO and other executive leadership in key policy-oriented international assignments and collaboration opportunities, and advances priority public policy objectives in target counties consistent with the Association’s policy agenda and international plan. In addition to the global duties, Ms. Birnbaum serves as the Executive Director of Voices for Healthy Kids, which is the Association’s collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to reverse the nation’s childhood obesity that builds upon the American Heart Association’s extensive advocacy capacity and experience. The initiative is focused on changing public policies to help children and adolescents eat healthier foods and become more active.

Tracy Fox

President, Food, Nutrition & Policy Consultants

Tracy Fox has over 25 years of experience working at the federal, state and local/community levels and with the private sector, with extensive experience in nutrition policy, legislative and regulatory processes and advocacy. Past and current clients include the Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Partnership for a Healthier America, National Head Start, Nemours, grocery stores and public relations firms. Areas of specialty include child nutrition and health, nutrition education, food insecurity, early care and education, food labeling and marketing.

Harold Goldstein

Executive Director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy

Harold Goldstein, DrPH, is the founder and executive director of Public Health Advocates.  For almost 20 years, Public Health Advocates has been promoting health equity by helping cities, counties, and schools become places that nurture health and wellbeing for everyone. Dr. Goldstein has been at the forefront of solving the obesity and diabetes epidemics through state and local policy change, working closely with a wide array of partners to establish groundbreaking programs and policies to build healthier communities and eliminate health disparities.

Michael Jacobson

Co-founder and immediate past Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., is co-founder and executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit health advocacy organization supported largely by the 600,000 subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter, member donations, and foundation grants. CSPI is a key player in battles against obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems, using education, legislation, litigation, and other tactics. He has led CSPI’s campaigns on sugar drinks, salt, and trans fat. Jacobson has written numerous books, reports, and scientific papers, including Six Arguments for a Greener Diet, “Salt: the Forgotten Killer,” and “Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans’ Health.” He has received such awards as the 2010 Hero Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation and the American Public Health Association’s 2011 David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health.

Tina Kauh

Senior Program Officer, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation

Tina Kauh joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2012. In her role as a Research-Evaluation-Learning senior program officer, she evaluates the work of grantees, develops new research and evaluation programs, helps to develop and monitor performance indicators, and disseminates lessons learned. With her focus on research and evaluation with ethnic and minority populations, she values the “opportunity to understand and address critical health issues, such as childhood obesity.” Kauh earned a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University with a doctoral minor in Statistics. She also holds an MS in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University and a BA in Psychology from Wellesley College. 

Jim Krieger

Executive Director, Healthy Food America

Jim Krieger, MD, MPH is founding Executive Director of Healthy Food America (HFA) and Clinical Professor at University of Washington Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and was chief of the Chronic Disease Prevention at Public Health-Seattle & King County. He is a nationally recognized expert in obesity and chronic disease prevention using scientific evidence and advocacy to change food policy and industry practices and promote health equity. His work has led to adoption of sugary drink taxes, improvements in school nutrition and physical activity, implementation of the nation’s second menu labeling regulation, reduction in exposure to sugary drinks, and increased access to healthy foods for low income people. His current work is focused on promoting healthy food consumption by using policy to reduce added sugars in the American diet. He has provided support to cities, states and tribes across the US that are considering and working on sugar reduction policies, with an emphasis on adoption of sugary drink taxes.

Jerold Mande

Professor of the Practice, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

Jerold R. Mande is Professor of the Practice, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and a Senior Fellow, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University. Mande joined the Tufts faculty in May 2017. In addition to his faculty duties, Ma nde is leading an initiative on advocacy, food policy change, and public health impact. Mr. Mande understands the complex intersection of nutrition science and policy and that merely supplying people with the right nutrition information is not enough to ensure a healthy public. Far beyond issues of personal responsibility, real change in public health requires changing our food environment. Mr. Mande brings a wealth of experience in public health, nutrition, and public policy to the job. In 2009 he was appointed by President Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack as Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, and after two years transitioned to focusing on reforming the national feeding programs. Mande brings prior academic experience as well. Before joining the Obama administration, he was the associate director for public policy at the Yale Cancer Center, and on the faculty at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. There, he devised a national model that leveraged state leadership to increase cancer prevention and control, including diet and cancer, and was affiliated faculty with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Nutrition.

Neena Prasad

Director of Global Obesity Prevention and Maternal and Reproductive Health Programs, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Neena Prasad joined the Public Health team of Bloomberg Philanthropies (BP) in 2008. She directs BP’s Global Obesity Prevention and Maternal & Reproductive Health Programs.  Neena is also a key member of the tobacco control team, overseeing activities in India. Previously, Neena worked as a Primary Care Physician serving inner-city populations at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and concurrently held the rank of Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto. She holds an MSc in Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences from McMaster University, an MD also from McMaster and an MPH concentrating in International Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Lynn Silver

Senior Advisor for Chronic Disease and Obesity Public Health Institute and Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco

She has been a leader in advancing and evaluating innovative policies to reduce risks from unhealthy diets as Assistant Health Commissioner in New York City government and in California, including public procurement policies, matching incentives for fruits and vegetables, trans fat ban, calorie labeling, salt reduction and soda taxes.

Cancer Policy Advisory Group

Heidi Blanck

Acting Director and Chief, Obesity Prevention and Control Branch, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion (CDC)

Captain Blanck oversees CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, Obesity Prevention and Control unit. Staff monitor and assess obesity prevalence and key nutrition and physical activity behaviors and systems supports. The unit focuses on surveillance and applied research and evaluation. The division supports population-level initiatives in multiple settings (i.e., child care, schools, worksites and community venues). Specific initiatives include Childhood Obesity Research Demonstrations Healthy Hospitals, and Let’s Move Child Care! Dr. Blanck received her PhD from Emory University in Atlanta GA in Nutrition and Health Sciences. She has more than 14 years of CDC experience as a public health epidemiologist and has authored over 50 papers and reports. She a senior member of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (www.nccor.org) and is the creator and Senior Advisor to CDC's Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (www.NOPREN.net)

Simone Bösch

Policy Advisor and Consultant

Simone Bösch is a policy advisor and consultant specializing in policy and legal approaches to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and obesity, in particular through addressing diet and food systems/environments. Previously, she was the Senior Policy & Public Affairs Manager at World Cancer Research Fund International, London, where she focused on food policy and NCD prevention to advance the development and wider implementation of effective policies worldwide to reduce diet-related NCDs. She has held positions as health policy researcher at the University of Oxford, consultant for the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) as well as Applied Strategic Healthcare Consulting; she also worked as an attorney at a global law firm. Simone holds an MPH from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a Master of Laws from the University of Zurich and is a bar-qualified attorney.

Wendy Denmark

is Professor and Webb Endowed Chair of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)

Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD is Professor and Webb Endowed Chair of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Demark-Wahnefried's research ranges from determining mechanisms of action of nutrition-based therapies that are implemented presurgery to developing and testing interventions that are scalable and which improve diet, physical activity and functional status among cancer survivors. Demark-Wahnefried’s research in cancer control and survivorship has resulted in well over 200 scientific publications, and recognition as a Komen Professor of Survivorship and an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor.

Don U. Ekwueme

Senior Health Economist in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC

Dr. Donatus (Don) U. Ekwueme is the Senior Health Economist in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Ekwueme has worked as a health economist and outcomes researcher for more than 15 years conducting economic research on international and domestic public health issues in several national centers within CDC. Currently, he serves as the senior health economist in DCPC where he provides leadership and direction for applied economics and outcomes research projects and policy analysis, on the burden of cancer disease in the United States and other countries. His research focuses on using various modeling approaches to understand the interplay between economics, epidemiology, human behavior, and the prevention and control of cancer disease. A major area of his research also includes the development of methods to collect economic cost data to accurately evaluate and estimate the economics of national cancer prevention and control programs.

Leslie Given

Vice President of Strategic Health Concepts (SHC)

Leslie Given BA, MPA, is co-owner and Vice President of Strategic Health Concepts (SHC) a public health consulting company based in Charlottesville, VA and Denver, CO. Through SHC, Leslie works with health-related organizations, primarily in the area of strategic planning and program development, implementation and evaluation. SHC has worked with many organizations focused on cancer and chronic disease prevention and control, at the international, national, state, territory and tribe/tribal organization level. SHC has been instrumental in developing and delivering technical assistance and training to US comprehensive cancer control program and coalitions, as well as working with CDC to provide action guides and training to breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening programs.

 

Melissa Maitin-Shepard

Senior Analyst, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

Melissa Maitin-Shepard, MPP, is a Senior Analyst at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, where she has served for six years.  In her current role, she helps to develop, advance, and implement the organization’s federal, state, and local public policy agenda on cancer prevention issues, including nutrition, physical activity, and weight management.  Melissa has led the development of numerous organizational policy documents, regulatory comments, and other advocacy resources on a range of nutrition and cancer policy issues and represents ACS CAN on several national workgroups and coalitions. Melissa has worked on chronic disease prevention policy for her entire career.  Prior to joining ACS CAN, she worked for Global Policy Solutions on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national childhood obesity prevention program, at the American Heart Association, and at Trust for America’s Health.  Melissa has a master’s degree in public policy with a health policy concentration and a bachelor’s degree from the George Washington University.

Jerold Mande

Professor of the Practice, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

Jerold R. Mande is Professor of the Practice, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and a Senior Fellow, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University. Mande joined the Tufts faculty in May 2017. In addition to his faculty duties, Ma nde is leading an initiative on advocacy, food policy change, and public health impact. Mr. Mande understands the complex intersection of nutrition science and policy and that merely supplying people with the right nutrition information is not enough to ensure a healthy public. Far beyond issues of personal responsibility, real change in public health requires changing our food environment. Mr. Mande brings a wealth of experience in public health, nutrition, and public policy to the job. In 2009 he was appointed by President Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack as Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, and after two years transitioned to focusing on reforming the national feeding programs. Mande brings prior academic experience as well. Before joining the Obama administration, he was the associate director for public policy at the Yale Cancer Center, and on the faculty at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. There, he devised a national model that leveraged state leadership to increase cancer prevention and control, including diet and cancer, and was affiliated faculty with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Nutrition.

Marji McCullough

Strategic Director of Nutritional Epidemiology in the Epidemiology Research Program at The American Cancer Society in Atlanta, GA

Marji McCullough is Strategic Director of Nutritional Epidemiology in the Epidemiology Research Program at The American Cancer Society in Atlanta, GA.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics from Michigan State University, a Master’s Degree in Clinical Dietetics from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, and a Doctorate in Nutrition from the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the relationship of diet and cancer risk, primarily using data from ACS’s prospective Cancer Prevention Studies. Dr. McCullough serves on the ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention committee, and has an interest in evaluating the health impacts of adherence to the guidelines. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

Deirdre McGinley-Geiser

Senior VP, Programs and Strategic Planning, American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)

Deirdre McGinley-Gieser works as Senior Vice President, Programs and Strategic Planning at AICR.  She is responsible for the research, education and communication programs of AICR, and leads the strategic planning for the organization.  She facilitates collaboration for AICR across the WCRF network of national charities. Previously Deirdre worked at World Cancer Research Fund International in London, UK where she helped launch and grow the new international association to provide program services, policy guidance and strategic direction to its member organizations.  Her work there included setting up new national charities in Europe and Asia.

Gail Merriam

Program Director, Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Network (MCCPCN) at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH)

Gail E. Merriam has over fifteen years of public health leadership experience. She currently is Program Director for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Network (MCCPCN) at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, a position she has held since 2008. Prior to coming to the MDPH, she served as Director of Community Services at Hallmark Health for three years. In addition, Ms. Merriam worked at John Snow, Inc. in Boston, MA for eight years directing federal maternal and child health and substance abuse projects focused on technical assistance and capacity building. She previously worked at MDPH in 1993-1997, managing two state-wide programs providing pediatric and perinatal HIV/AIDS services. She also worked as a part-time Staff Coordinator of the Massachusetts Cancer Pain Initiative at American Cancer Society in 1992-1993.

Margo Wootan

Director, Nutrition Policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

​​​Margo Wootan is the director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which was named as the top Ranked Nonprofit for National Childhood Nutrition/Health by Philanthropedia, a division of GuideStar USA, Inc.  Dr. Wootan received her B.S. in nutrition from Cornell University and her doctorate in nutrition from Harvard University’s School of Public Health.  She has published scholarly papers and reports in the areas of food marketing to children, restaurant foods, school foods, nutrition labeling, nutrition education, social marketing, and fatty acid transport. Wootan co-founded and coordinates the activities of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA), a coalition of more than 500 national, state, and local organizations.  She also co-founded the Food Marketing Workgroup and has served on numerous expert committees. She works on expanding nutrition and physical activity promotion and funding and reducing unhealthy food marketing aimed at children.