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.

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.

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)

Dan Glickman

Vice President, Aspen Institute

Dan Glickman is Vice President of the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of The Aspen Institute Congressional Program. He also serves as a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center where he is co-chair of its Democracy Project. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, he served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration.  He was appointed by former Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack as the Chair of the newly created Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. He also represented the 4th Congressional district of Kansas for 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives where he was very involved in federal farm policy on the House Agriculture Committee. He also served on the House Judiciary Committee and as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In addition, he is the former chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. and former director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has served as president of the Wichita, Kansas, School Board, was a partner in the law firm of Sargent, Klenda and Glickman, and worked as a trial attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Michigan and his juris doctorate from George Washington University. He is a member of the Kansas and District of Columbia bars.

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.

Howard Koh

Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School

Dr. Howard K. Koh is the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Kennedy School as well as Faculty Co-Chair of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative.  In these roles since 2014, he advances leadership education and training at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as well as across Harvard University. Previously at Harvard School of Public Health (2003-2009), he was also Associate Dean for Public Health Practice.

Dr. Koh graduated from Yale College, where he was President of the Yale Glee Club, and the Yale University School of Medicine. He completed postgraduate training at Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, serving as chief resident in both hospitals. He has earned board certification in four medical fields: internal medicine, hematology, medical oncology, and dermatology, as well as a Master of Public Health degree from Boston University.  At Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, he was Professor of Dermatology, Medicine and Public Health as well as Director of Cancer Prevention and Control.

He has earned over 70 awards and honors for interdisciplinary accomplishments in medicine and public health, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award for National Service, the Distinguished Service Award from the American Cancer Society, the 2014 Sedgwick Memorial Medal from the American Public Health Association (the highest honor of the organization), and six honorary doctorate degrees.  President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Koh as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board (2000-2002). He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine). A past Chair of the Massachusetts Coalition for a Healthy Future (the group that pushed for the Commonwealth’s groundbreaking tobacco control initiative), He is on the Board of Directors of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Network for Public Health Law, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and New England Donor Services. Dr. Koh and his wife Dr. Claudia Arrigg have three adult children and one granddaughter.

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.

Sharon Natanblut

Principal, Natanblut Strategies

Sharon Natanblut is a public policy and strategic communications consultant, specializing in nutrition, food safety, and public health issues.  In her tenure at the Food and Drug Administration, she served as Associate Commissioner for Strategic Initiatives, Deputy Director of the Tobacco Office, and Director of Strategic Communications and Stakeholder Engagement for the Foods Program.  She was instrumental in the design of the iconic Nutrition Facts food label in the 1990s and its redesign in 2017.  She co-led the development of the 2018 FDA-EPA seafood advice for pregnant women.  She played a lead role in the investigation and regulation of the tobacco industry.  She built and directed an extensive stakeholder engagement program that played a major role in the development, implementation, and public support of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act rules. Sharon also has experience outside of government, as Vice President for Communications and Marketing for the American Legacy Foundation and at Burson-Marsteller, a worldwide public affairs/public relations firm.

Pamela Schwartz

Executive Director, Community Health, Kaiser Permanente

Pamela Schwartz joined Kaiser Permanente in 2001 and serves as the Executive Director for Community Health.  In this position, Pam leads Food for Life, Kaiser Permanente’s comprehensive approach for transforming the economic, social and policy environments so that people across the nation have access affordable healthy food. She also leads Kaiser Permanente’s national strategy to address crucial social factors that affect people’s health, including housing, social isolation, digital divide and financial security. Previously, Pam led the execution of Kaiser Permanente’s Community Health measurement, evaluation and learning and Community Health Needs Assessment strategies, ensuring that Kaiser Permanente responds in the most impactful way to the needs of communities, deploying organizational assets in partnership with community. Pam has advanced the community and social health strategy to focus on identifying and responding to the social determinants of health, working cross-functionally, and system-wide on a variety of content areas.

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.

Laurie Whitsel

Vice President of Policy Research and Translation, American Heart Association

Laurie Whitsel, Ph.D. is currently the Vice President of Policy Research and Translation for the American Heart Association (AHA), helping to translate science into policy at a national level in the areas of cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention and health promotion. The association’s policy research department provides policy development and the foundation for the American Heart Association’s advocacy work at the global, national, state, and local levels.  She is also serving as senior advisor to the Physical Activity Alliance. The mission of the Physical Activity Alliance is to lead efforts to create, support, and advocate policy and system changes that enable all Americans to enjoy physically active lives.  Whitsel presents at national conferences on prevention issues and evidence-based policy making. She has served on expert advisory groups with RAND, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tufts University, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  She has been a sector co-leader for the National Physical Activity Plan and leads the AHA’s internal strategic plan around physical activity.  She serves as an expert peer reviewer for several scientific journals and is a consultant on research grant teams. She gives regular guest lectures at Columbia University. Her Ph.D. is from Syracuse University and she is a Fellow and member of the AHA’s National Scientific Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health.  

Whitsel lives in Ligonier, PA with her husband Brad, and they have two children, Christian, who attends Gettysburg College, and Amy, who is in law school at Catholic University. In her spare time, Whitsel coaches an AHA jump rope demonstration and competition team which promotes lifetime physical activity for kids and competes nationally and internationally.

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.

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.