SNAP to Health involves an interdisciplinary team of experts in public health, federal and state health policy, nutritional epidemiology, health communications, and agricultural economics.
Susan Blumenthal, MD, MPA
Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.A. provided distinguished service for over twenty years as a leading national U.S. Government health expert and spokesperson in the Administrations of four U.S. Presidents. She served as Assistant Surgeon General of the United States, as the first ever Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health, and as Senior Global and e-Health Advisor in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She also was a White House Advisor on health issues. Dr Blumenthal has served as the top medical advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as Chief of the Behavioral Medicine and Basic Prevention Research Branch at the National Institutes of Health. Throughout her career she has worked to bring understudied health and science issues to increased public and scientific attention including women’s health, global health, obesity, and disease and violence prevention. She was a pioneer in exposing the inequities in women’s health and then was a major force in moving these issues to the forefront of the national and global health agendas. She has been at the forefront of the application of information technology to improve health. Dr. Blumenthal is currently a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. She was the former Director of the Health and Medicine Program at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress where she co-chaired its Health Commission as well as provided leadership on a national obesity prevention research initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Aetna Foundation. She is a Clinical Professor at Georgetown and Tufts Schools of Medicine, and is Chair of the Global Health Program at the Meridian International Center. Dr. Blumenthal also is the Public Health Editor of the Huffington Post and Senior Medical Advisor at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.
Named by the Medical Herald and the National Library of Medicine as one of the most influential and important women in medicine and by the New York Times as one of the top doctors in the women’s health field, Rear Admiral Blumenthal is the recipient of numerous awards, medals and honorary doctorates for her landmark contributions to improving health. She was named the 2009 Health Leader of the Year by the Commissioned Officers Association, its highest honor, and as a 2010 Rock Star of Science by the Geoffrey Beene Foundation.
Randy Aviado, MPH
Randy Aviado received his Masters in Public Health from Thomas Jefferson University in 2016. His work has focused on utilizing epidemiology and Geo-Informational Systems (GIS) mapping to analyze health indicators and the environment. His research has looked at climate change indicators in relation to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory disease mortality rates in conjunction with various sociodemographic characteristics, including place. He has also used GIS mapping to analyze Philadelphia’s bikeshare program in relation to census transportation demographics. Mr. Aviado has done research with the Univeristy of Pennsylvania School of Urban Design analyzing food deserts, and how the introduction of a non-profit supermarket in Chester, PA affected food access in this low-income city. Mr. Aviado also has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Georgetown University, where he co-founded Georgetown’s Global Medical Brigades program, which operates student volunteer health clinics in rural communities in Panama, Ghana, and Honduras. Mr. Aviado is currently a Health Policy Fellow at New America.
Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, MPH
Dr. Walter Willett is Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Willett, an American, was born in Hart, Michigan and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, studied food science at Michigan State University, and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School before obtaining a Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Willett has focused much of his work over the last 25 years on the development of methods, using both questionnaire and biochemical approaches, to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases. He has applied these methods starting in 1980 in the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Together, these cohorts that include nearly 300,000 men and women with repeated dietary assessments are providing the most detailed information on the long-term health consequences of food choices.
Dr. Willett has published over 1,100 articles, primarily on lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and cancer, and has written the textbook, Nutritional Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press. He also has three books book for the general public, Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, which has appeared on most major bestseller lists, Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less, co-authored with Mollie Katzen, and most recently, The Fertility Diet, co-authored with Jorge Chavarro and Pat Skerrett. Dr. Willett is the most cited nutritionist internationally, and is among the five most cited persons in all fields of clinical science. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of many national and international awards for his research.
Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH
Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, which she chaired from 1988-2003. She is also Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition from University of California, Berkeley. Previous faculty positions were at Brandeis University and the UCSF School of Medicine. From 1986-88, she was senior nutrition policy advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services and editor of The Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health. Her research examines scientific and socioeconomic influences on food choice, obesity, and food safety, emphasizing the role of food marketing. Since 2002, she has written several books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health; Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety; What to Eat; Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine; and, with Malden Nesheim, Feed Your Pet Right. Her forthcoming book with Dr. Nesheim, Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics, will be published in March 2012. She writes the Food Matters column for the San Francisco Chronicle, blogs daily (almost) at www.foodpolitics.com, and twitters @marionnestle.
Lilian W.Y. Cheung, ScD, RD
Dr. Lilian Cheung is Lecturer and Director of Health Promotion & Communication in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her work focuses on the translation of science-based recommendations into public health communications and programs, to promote healthy lifestyles for chronic disease prevention and control.
She is Editorial Director of The Nutrition Source (www.thenutritionsource.org), Harvard School of Public Health’s healthy eating website for consumers, journalists and health professionals. She is also the co-editorial director of The Obesity Prevention Source, Harvard School of Public Health’s forthcoming website on obesity causes and strategies for prevention.
She is the co-Principal Investigator and co-author of Eat Well & Keep Moving (2001, 2nd edition 2007), a widely disseminated school nutrition and physical activity program and Co-Investigator at the CDC Harvard Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity. She is a member of the Asian Diabetes Prevention and Control Initiative, a collaboration with Singapore National University for pan Asia.
She co-edited Child Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity (1995) with the late Surgeon General Dr. Julius Richmond and co-authored Be Healthy! It’s A Girl Thing: Food, Fitness and Feeling Great! (2003, 2010) with Mavis Jukes. Her latest book is Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life co-authored with Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh (2010, 2011).
Susan Foerster, MPH, RD
Susan Foerster’s experience includes anti-poverty programs in Boston, statewide chronic disease prevention in California, and co-founding the California 5 a Day Campaign, forerunner of the National 5 a Day Program. She established the Network for a Healthy California in the California Department of Public Health, which today is the largest among state social marketing networks in the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. The Network partners with the California Department of Social Services and the University of California, Davis, to increase fruits, vegetables, physical activity, and food security. It conducts statewide nutrition education, marketing and outreach programs to California’s 7 million low-income parents and children with household incomes below 185% FPL. Delivery channels include mass communications, local health departments, schools, food banks, retail food stores, community clinics, faith organizations, worksites, other community-based organizations, and 11 Regional Networks. Since establishment of the Network in 1997, fruit and vegetable consumption has risen significantly among low-income California adults, including SNAP participants. Ms. Foerster serves with a number of national leadership organizations and has many publications. See www.networkforahealthycalifornia.net or www.championsforchange.net for information and resources about the Network. She received degrees from at the University of California, Berkeley.
Vanessa Hoffman, MPH, RD, LDN
Vanessa Hoffman, MPH, RD, LDN, is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for improving food and nutrition environments. She is currently a health policy fellow at Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. As a recent graduate of the MPH program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, she was part of the Baltimore Healthy Carry-outs research team looking to improve and encourage healthier options at carry-outs. Vanessa is also an active member of the American Dietetic Association. She served as chair of the council on professional issues for the DC Metro Area Dietetic Association this past year and planned their Annual Meeting in May 2011. She also developed and led a reducing sodium cooking and education class at Shepherd’s Clinic in Baltimore, MD. She began her career as a clinical dietitian at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Maryland. Vanessa graduated from Cornell University and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences. She completed her certification as a Registered Dietitian through the Cornell University dietetic internship program in Ithaca, NY and Rochester, NY where she studied at Strong Memorial Hospital. Vanessa currently lives in Springfield, Virginia. She loves going to farmer’s markets, cooking and reading good books. She was born and raised in Washington, DC.
Elena Hoffnagle graduated from Yale University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in Health Policy. At Yale, she worked as a research assistant at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity studying menu labeling, food marketing and other anti-obesity interventions. Elena was also coordinator of the Yale Public Health Coalition and an executive committee member of Dwight Hall, the nation’s largest student-run non-profit. She has interned at a variety of health organizations. At the William J. Clinton Foundation, Elena developed a report describing what agreements have been made by HMOs to offer comprehensive benefits for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. At the Argentine Institute for Clinical Effectiveness, she examined the determinants of medical technology adoption in Buenos Aires metropolitan area hospitals as well as the cost-effectiveness of national strategies to improve maternal health and nutrition.
Helen Jensen, PhD
Dr. Helen H. Jensen is Professor of Economics and head of the food and nutrition policy research division in the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University, an internationally recognized research center that addresses issues of the food, agricultural and natural resource sectors. Her research interests include the design of food and nutrition programs and policies, assessment of nutritional enhancement of foods, food demand and markets, linkages between agricultural policies and nutrition, and food safety regulations. In CARD, she leads a research program on food and nutrition programs and policies. She has led projects that analyze food demand, involve dietary, nutritional and health assessment as well as design and implement food consumption surveys in the United States as well as in several developing countries. She recently completed a term on the Executive Board of Directors of the American Agricultural Economics Association and has served on several committees of the National Academy of Sciences, including the recent Institute of Medicine committees to incorporate new scientific recommendations on diet and nutrition into the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, the school meals programs, and the child and adult day care meals program, and the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine Committee on Risk-Characterization for Decision-Making at the Food and Drug Administration . Dr. Jensen holds a Ph.D. degree in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin.
Cindy Leung, ScD, MPH
Cindy Leung is a doctoral candidate in the departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). With guidance from Dr. Walter Willett, she is currently completing her doctoral dissertation about how participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is associated with dietary behaviors and health outcomes in low-income adults. She has previously been a lead author on published studies of how income and food assistance programs are related to dietary and weight outcomes among adults using data from national and state-wide health surveys. Before coming to HSPH, Cindy spent one year working a large community-based food bank where she coordinated food distribution programs and taught nutrition education to low-income individuals in Oakland, California. She also received a Master of Public Health in Public Health Nutrition and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Molecular and Cell Biology and English, from the University of California, Berkeley.
Ana Cristina Lindsay, PhD, DDS
Ana Cristina Lindsay is a Senior Research Scientist in the Public Health Nutrition Program in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr Lindsay’s research focuses on early childhood health and nutrition including the development of research addressing health behaviors and parental influences among low-income, multi-ethnic mothers and children linked to burgeoning rates of obesity and chronic disease in the U.S. and Latin America. She has extensive experience in design, implementation and evaluation of community-based research focusing on child health and nutrition and behavioral outcomes and has conducted a number of studies focusing on child health and nutrition in the U.S. and Latin America. Her research interests also include translational research including development of applied research methodology (e.g., integrated quantitative and qualitative methods, case studies, rapid assessment procedures) to understand factors that hinder and/or facilitate the translation and utilization of research results into practice (e.g., design of new program/services, design of policies). She received a DrPH in Maternal and Child Health (1998), and an MPH in Quantitative Methods (1993) from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in program evaluation with the Harvard Children’s Initiative, Harvard University. She also holds a DDS from Campos School of Dentistry, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1987).
Hayley Lofink, PhD, MSc
Hayley Lofink is a researcher in the field of Medical/Nutritional Anthropology and has designed, implemented and published research examining how cultural, political and economic factors influence dietary practices, physical activity patterns, body shape perceptions and obesity among children in low-income communities in the US and the UK. Her projects have examined factors that influence nutritional health among British Bangladeshi adolescents in East London, children of Mexican migrant workers in New Jersey and African American children in Philadelphia. She has a doctoral degree from the University of Oxford and undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jacob McAuliffe, MSTP
Jacob McAuliffe, MSTP is a graduate of Arizona State University where he received a Masters Degree in Science and Technology Policy. Jacob researched the complex issues that arise at the intersection of health, science, and technology policy.
Suzanne Murphy, PhD, RD
Suzanne P. Murphy, Ph.D., R.D. is an emeritus researcher and professor at the Cancer Center of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, and the former director of the Nutrition Support Shared Resource at the center. Dr. Murphy earned a B.A. degree in mathematics from Temple University, Philadelphia, an M.S. degree in molecular biology from San Francisco State University, and a Ph.D. degree in nutrition from the University of California-Berkeley. Her research interests include dietary assessment methodology, development of food and supplement composition databases, nutrition guidance, and nutritional epidemiology of chronic diseases (with emphasis on cancer and obesity). She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and has chaired several Institute of Medicine committees including the Subcommittee on Interpretation and Uses of Dietary Reference Intakes; the Committee to Review the WIC Food Packages; and the Committee to Review Child and Adult Care Food Programs. She is also the Treasurer of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences. She is a Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition, and has received the Excellence in Dietary Guidance Award from the American Public Health Association, and the Monsen Award for Outstanding Research Literature from the American Dietetic Association.