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Past Conferences

Conference Details - Speakers

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2013 MIT Future of Health and Wellness Conference

February 6-7, 2013
 
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617- 373-5477

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Timothy Bickmore
Associate Professor
College of Computer and Information Science
Northeastern University
Dr. Bickmore is an Associate Professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University. The focus of his research is on the development and evaluation of computer agents that emulate face-to-face interactions between health providers and patients for use in health education and long-term health behavior change interventions, with a particular focus on the emotional and relational aspects of these interactions. Prior to Northeastern, he spent two years as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Bickmore received his PhD from MIT, doing his dissertation work in the Media Lab studying emotional interactions between people and animated computer characters.
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617-258-8912

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Damon Centola
Assistant Professor
Behavioral and Policy Sciences (BPS)
MIT Sloan School of Management
Damon Centola is currently an Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Policy Sciences at MIT. Before coming to MIT, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy at Harvard University, and received his Ph.D. in sociology from Cornell University in 2006. His research interests include social epidemiology, the diffusion of innovations and cultural norms, and the mobilization of social movements. His current research focuses on how patterns of affiliation and interaction can promote, or inhibit, the emergence of new forms of collective behavior. This research has won awards for best publication in mathematical sociology (2006, 2009, and 2011) and outstanding contribution to sociological research (2011). His work has been published across multiple disciplines, and in journals such as the American Journal of Sociology, Science, the Journal of Statistical Physics, and Circulation (AHA flagship journal in cardiology).
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Expertise Link
617-253-3890

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Arup Chakraborty
Robert T Haslam (1911) Professor of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Biological Engineering
Director, Institute for Medical Engineering and Sciences (IMES)
Graduate Admissions Officer (Chem-E)
Biographical Sketch

Arup K. Chakraborty is the Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, and Biological Engineering at MIT. He is the founding Director of MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES). He is also a founding member of the Ragon Institute of MIT, MGH, and Harvard, which is focused on multi-disciplinary approaches to understand human immunology and develop a vaccine against HIV and other scourges on the planet. After obtaining his PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Delaware, and postdoctoral studies at the University of Minnesota, he joined the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley in December 1988. He rose through the ranks, and ultimately served as the Warren and Katherine Schlinger Distinguished Professor and Chair of Chemical Engineering, Professor of Chemistry, and Professor of Biophysics at Berkeley. He was also Head of Theoretical and Computational Biology at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In September 2005, Dr. Chakraborty moved to MIT.

For over twelve years, the central theme of his research has been the development and application of theoretical/computational approaches, rooted in physics and engineering, to study how T lymphocytes, orchestrators of the adaptive immune response, function. In recent years, this has included efforts to study the human immune response to HIV and vaccine design. A characteristic of his work is the impact of his studies on experimental immunology and clinical studies (he collaborates extensively with leading immunologists). Dr. Chakraborty’s work at the interface of the physical, life, and engineering sciences has been recognized by many honors that include a 2006 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the E.O. Lawrence Memorial Award for Life Sciences (USDOE), an Allan P. Colburn Award and Professional Progress Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award, a Miller Research Professorship, and an NSF Young Investigator award. Dr. Chakraborty is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Research Summary

Professor Chakraborty's group works on developing and applying theoretical and computational approaches (rooted in statistical mechanics) to study complex systems involving many interacting components. A central focus of our laboratory is understanding the adaptive immune response to pathogens. T lymphocytes (T cells) are the orchestrators of the adaptive immune response. We are studying how T cells "hunt" for antigen as they migrate in lymphoid tissue, the molecular processes that enable them to discriminate between "self" and "non-self" with extraordinary sensitivity, and the signaling events that ultimately enable T cell activation and the mounting of an immune response. Each of these processes is the result of stochastic and cooperative dynamic events involving many cellular components. The inherent cooperativity of the pertinent processes (which occur over a broad spectrum of length and time scales) makes it difficult to intuit underlying mechanisms from observations of just a few experimental reporters. We develop and apply statistical mechanical approaches to study the dynamic processes pertinent to T cell activation. A special hallmark of these efforts is the close synergy and collaboration between our computational studies and experimental investigations in the world's leading immunology laboratories in medical schools. Our work in this area represents a crossroad of engineering, the physical sciences, and the life sciences, and addresses fundamental questions that are relevant to the development of intervention protocols for combating infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders, and acts of bioterrorism. Our group is also interested in cell membrane biophysics and biopolymers.
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Lisa D'Ambrosio
Research Scientist
MIT AgeLab
Aging and Wellness
Day 1, 2:30 PM
Lisa D’Ambrosio, Ph.D., is a Research Scientist at the MIT AgeLab. Her research focuses on questions about what an aging population will need to enhance their quality of life and to enable older adults to live independently longer. Based in MIT’s Engineering Systems Division, she teaches research design and methods. She is co-editor with Dr. Joseph F. Coughlin of the recently published Aging America and Transportation: Personal Choices and Public Policy (Springer, 2012). Her research work focuses on questions around older adults’ decisions that impact later life, including transportation and mobility, financial preparedness, technology adoption, and housing. Dr. D’Ambrosio earned her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her A.B. from Brown University. Prior to coming to the MIT AgeLab, she was a research analyst at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, USDOT.
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Carey Goldberg
Journalist
WBUR CommonHealth (NPR)
Carey Goldberg has been the Boston bureau chief of The New York Times, a Moscow correspondent for The Los Angeles Times and a health/science reporter for The Boston Globe. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale and went to grad school at Harvard. For TMI on her personal life, check out the 2010 triple memoir “Three Wishes: A True Story of Good Friends, Crushing Heartbreak and Astonishing Luck on our Way to Love and Motherhood.”
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Expertise Link
617-253-8892

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Jonathan Gruber
Professor of Economics
Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow
MIT Department of Economics
Dr. Jonathan Gruber is a Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992. He is also the Director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a Research Associate. He is an Associate Editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics. In 2009 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Dr. Gruber received his B.S. in Economics from MIT, and his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. Dr. Gruber's research focuses on the areas of public finance and health economics. He has published more than 140 research articles, has edited six research volumes, and is the author of Public Finance and Public Policy, a leading undergraduate text, and Health Care Reform, a graphic novel. In 2006 he received the American Society of Health Economists Inaugural Medal for the best health economist in the nation aged 40 and under.

During the 1997-1998 academic year, Dr. Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. From 2003-2006 he was a key architect of Massachusetts’ ambitious health reform effort, and in 2006 became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. During the 2008 election he was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards and Obama Presidential campaigns. During 2009-2010 he served as a technical consultant to the Obama Administration and worked with both the Administration and Congress to help craft the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In 2011 he was named “One of the Top 25 Most Innovative and Practical Thinkers of Our Time” by Slate Magazine. In both 2006 and 2012 he was rated as one of the top 100 most powerful people in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare Magazine.
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Erin M. Johnson
Assistant Professor of Applied Economics
MIT Sloan School of Management
Erin Johnson is the Assistant Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management. An applied microeconomist, her research focuses on the economics of healthcare. Johnson is particularly interested in labor market issues in healthcare and recently studied the role of market learning in the referral relationship. She is currently studying physician report cards, physician incentives, and skill diffusion in healthcare. Prior to MIT Sloan, she worked at the Boston Consulting Group. Johnson holds a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
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Paula Adina Johnson
Chief, Division of Women's Health
Executive Director of the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Paula A. Johnson is the Executive Director of the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology and Chief of the Division of Women's Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. An internationally recognized cardiologist, Dr. Johnson brings a broad range of experience as a physician, researcher and expert in public health and health policy to bear in the effort to transform the health of women. Dr. Johnson’s vision for achieving sustainable improvement in women’s health is reflected in the Connors Center’s unique interdisciplinary approach, which encompasses discovering how disease is expressed differently in women and men, integrating leading-edge research about women's health into the delivery of care, influencing health policy, addressing the health of women globally, and training the next generation of leaders in the field of women’s health. Her most recent work focuses on the impact of U.S. health care reform on women and developing an initiative to advance emerging leaders devoted to improving the health of women globally.
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Anthony Jones, MD
Vice President, Marketing, Strategy & Business Development
Patient Care and Clinical Informatics, Philips Healthcare
Dr. Jones is the Chief Marketing Officer for Philips Healthcare’s Patient Care and Clinical Informatics business group, a $2 billion global business. In this role, Dr. Jones oversees all strategic marketing activities, messaging, partnerships and alliances as well as mergers and acquisitions.
Prior to joining Philips, Dr. Jones was the President and CEO of Next Lifesciences, a marketing strategy firm catering to a broad array of healthcare and life sciences companies. Next developed growth initiatives for global organizations such as Medtronic, Baxter, and Reliance Industries (India) as well as several mid-sized, venture-backed companies.
Prior to starting Next Lifesciences, Dr. Jones was a strategy consultant – first at Deloitte Consulting, then as Vice President of Global Health and Wellness at Scient, the leading ebusiness services company of its time. At Scient, he led major strategic projects for Fortune 500 companies and is considered an expert on digital eCare platforms – remote therapy management solutions for monitoring patient care, compliance and adherence. While at Scient, he led the strategy and implementation for one of the market’s first global eCare platforms that was deployed in nearly a dozen countries and five different languages.
Before his consulting career, Dr. Jones was Director of Online Services at Reuters Health, a division of Reuters America. In that role, he directed the development of ReutersHealth.com, the Internet’s first healthcare news licensing business that ultimately became Reuters’ first successful foray into the healthcare information market and one of its first profitable, purely online businesses.
Dr. Jones’ experience in healthcare information is grounded in an academic background that includes a degree in medicine from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a postdoctoral fellowship in medical informatics at Columbia University. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Kentucky where he received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He is a native of Louisville, Kentucky, and presently resides in the Boston area with his wife.
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Expertise Link
617-253-0439

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Karl F. Koster
Executive Director
MIT Office of Corporate Relations/Industrial Liaison Program
Karl F. Koster is the Executive Director of the MIT Office of Corporate Relations. The Office of Corporate Relations at MIT includes the Industrial Liaison Program, which celebrated 60 years of service to the Institute and its corporate partners in 2008.

In that capacity, he and his staff work with the senior administrative and faculty leadership of MIT in developing and implementing strategies for enhancing corporate involvement with the Institute. Mr. Koster has been involved with faculty leaders in identifying and designing a number of major international programs for MIT. Many of these programs focus on institutional development and are characterized by the establishment of strong, international, programmatic linkages between universities, industry, and governments.

Mr. Koster graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in geology and economics in 1974, and received a M.S. from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1980. At the Sloan School he concentrated in international business management and the management of technological innovation. Prior to returning to MIT, Mr. Koster worked as a management consultant for seven years in Europe, Latin America, and the United States on projects for private and public sector organizations.
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Expertise Link
617-253-0648

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Alex Pentland
Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
Head, Human Dynamics Group
Director, Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program
MIT Media Laboratory
Biographical Sketch
Alex "Sandy" Pentland directs MIT's Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program and advises the World Economic Forum, Nissan Motor Corporation, and a variety of start-up firms. He has previously helped create and direct MIT's Media Laboratory, the Media Lab Asia laboratories at the Indian Institutes of Technology, and Strong Hospital's Center for Future Health.

Forbes magazine declared Pentland "one of the seven most powerful data scientists in the world," along with the founders of Google and the CTO of the United States. Pentland is among the most-cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, mobile computing, image understanding, and modern biometrics. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, the World Economic Forum, and Harvard Business Review, as well as being the focus of TV features including "Nova" and "Scientific American Frontiers."

Interesting experiences include winning the DARPA 40th Anniversary of the Internet Grand Challenge, dining with British Royalty and the President of India, staging fashion shows in Paris, Tokyo, and New York, and developing a method for counting beavers from space.

Research Summary
Professor Pentland is a pioneer in organizational engineering, mobile information systems, and computational social science. Pentland's research focus is on harnessing information flows and incentives within social networks, the big data revolution, and converting this technology into real-world ventures. Pentland is founder and director of the Human Dynamics Lab, and the Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program. He advises the World Economic Forum, Nissan Motor Corporation, and a variety of start-up companies. He is among the most-cited computer scientists in the world, and in 1997 Newsweek magazine named him one of the 100 Americans likely to shape this century. His book, Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World was published in 2008 by the MIT Press.

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617- 573-2188

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Edward M. Phillips
Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine
Spaulding Rehabiliation Hospital
Director, Outpatient Medical Services
Spaulding Rehabilitation Network
Exercise is Medicine
Day 2, 9:00 AM
Edward M. Phillips, MD, is Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and Director of Outpatient Medical Services of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Network in Boston, Massachusetts.

Phillips founded and directs The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine (ILM) in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, www.instituteoflifestylemedicine.org.

Additionally, Phillips is a Fellow of American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM) and serves on the Executive Council that developed and leads the Exercise is Medicine™ global initiative. He is co-author of ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine™, The Clinician's Guide to the Exercise Prescription (Lippincott, 2009) and is chair of the Exercise is Medicine Education Committee. He serves on the Advisory Board of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Phillips is an active clinician and researcher who speaks and consults nationally guiding a broad based effort to reduce lifestyle-related death, disease, and costs through clinician directed interventions with patients. The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition has recognized both Dr. Phillips and the ILM with its Community Leadership Award. He appears on national media including Good Morning America, ESPN radio, and in Time Magazine.



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Expertise Link
617-253-0611

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Rosalind Picard
Director of Affective Computing Research
Director of Autism & Communication Technology
Co-Director of Things That Think
Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
MIT Media Laboratory
Professor Rosalind W. Picard, Sc.D. is founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Laboratory, co-director of the Things That Think Consortium, the largest industrial sponsorship organization at the lab, and leader of the new and growing Autism & Communication Technology Initiative at MIT. She is co-founder, chief scientist and director of Affectiva, Inc., making technology to help measure and communicate emotion.

Picard holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and master's and doctorate degrees, both in electrical engineering and computer science, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to completing her doctorate at MIT, she was a Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories where she designed VLSI chips for digital signal processing and developed new methods of image compression and analysis. In 1991 she joined the MIT Media Lab faculty. She became internationally known for constructing mathematical texture models for content-based retrieval of images, for creating new tools such as the Photobook system, and for pioneering methods of automated search and annotation in digital video. The year before she was up for tenure, she published the award-winning book Affective Computing, which was instrumental in starting a new field by that name. Picard has been awarded dozens of distinguished and named lectureships internationally and in 2005 was honored as a Fellow of the IEEE for contributions to image and video analysis and affective computing.

The author of over two hundred scientific articles and chapters in multidimensional signal modeling, computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning, human-computer interaction, and affective computing, Picard is an international leader in envisioning and inventing innovative technology. She is recipient of a best paper prize for work on machine learning with multiple models (with Tom Minka, 1998), and recipient of a best theory paper prize for work on affect in human learning (with Barry Kort and Rob Reilly, 2001). She holds multiple patents, having designed and developed a variety of new sensors, algorithms, and systems for sensing, recognizing, and responding respectfully to human affective information, with applications in autism communication, human and machine learning, health behavior change, marketing, advertising, customer service, and human-computer interaction.

Picard has served on dozens of international and national science and engineering program committees, editorial boards, and review panels, including the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) division of Computers in Science and Engineering (CISE), the Advisory Board for the Georgia Tech College of Computing, and the Editorial Board of User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction: The Journal of Personalization Research.

Picard interacts regularly with industry and has consulted for companies such as Apple, AT&T, BT, HP, i.Robot, and Motorola. She is a popular keynote speaker, and her group's achievements have been featured in forums for the general public such as The New York Times, The London Independent, National Public Radio, Scientific American Frontiers, ABC's Nightline and World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, Time, Vogue, Wired, Voice of America Radio, New Scientist, and BBC's "The Works" and "The Big Byte." Picard lives in Newton, Massachusetts with her husband and three energetic sons.
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Eric Silfen, MD
Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer (CMO)
Philips Healthcare
Dr. Eric Silfen is the Chief Medical Officer for Philips Healthcare. In this role, he leads the Office of Medical and Health Affairs and works to inform and communicate Philips Healthcare thought leadership around the world. Operationally, he is responsible for embedding a “medical consciousness” in Philips Healthcare by developing the clinical and econometric evidence that can differentiate the company’s products, services and solutions in the global marketplace.

Dr. Silfen is an international expert on the implementation of information technologies in the medical setting; hospital and health plan clinical affairs; disease and care management programs; and clinical quality and performance improvement. He joined Philips Healthcare from Philips Research North America, where he led the design, development and evaluation of clinical decision support systems for biomedicine. Dr. Silfen's passion for creating the future of healthcare is rooted in his long experience in emergency medicine. Coming from a world in which seconds count and the bond between doctor and patient is immediate and direct, he truly understands the human need that should be the inspiration for all healthcare innovation.

Dr. Silfen earned a master of arts degree in biomedical informatics from Columbia University and a master of science degree in healthcare administration from the Medical College of Virginia. He holds a doctor of medicine degree from The Georgetown University School of Medicine and is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. He is a member of many professional societies, including the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Society for Critical Care Medicine, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the American Medical Informatics Association, the Radiology Society of North America and The New York Academy of Sciences.
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Lawrence Soler
President and CEO
Partnership for a Healthier America
Lawrence (Larry) A. Soler is President and CEO of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). He joined PHA in January, 2011 as the organization’s first employee. The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity.

Prior to joining PHA, Mr. Soler was Chief Operating Officer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a $200 million voluntary health organization. Mr. Soler oversaw the bulk of JDRF’s activities, including all fundraising and local chapters, marketing and communications, information technology, government relations and international development. Mr. Soler originally joined JDRF in 1998 as a Senior Legislative Counsel and was promoted four times during his tenure at the organization.

During his tenure leading JDRF Government Relations, the program was recognized by the National Journal as one of the most powerful interest groups in Washington, D.C. The Wall Street Journal said, “not since AIDS activists stormed scientific meetings in the 1980s has a patient group done more to set the agenda of medical research.” Time magazine called JDRF “one of the nation’s most forceful disease advocacy groups.”

Among his signature accomplishments at the Foundation, Mr. Soler is credited with leading efforts that resulted in securing $1.75 billion in mandatory federal funding for type 1 diabetes research, the only disease that receives such funding. He also created and chaired the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, an organization comprised of 100 nationally recognized patient groups, universities, scientific societies and foundations that successfully overturned a pending federal ban in a leading medical research area. Additionally, Mr. Soler served as the executive sponsor of JDRF’s Artificial Pancreas Project, an ambitious effort to accelerate the development of closed loop insulin pumps and glucose monitoring systems, which impacted reimbursement policy, regulatory policy, research strategy, and industry partnerships. As part of his responsibilities with the Artificial Pancreas Project, he negotiated joint product development deals with Johnson & Johnson, Beckton Dickinson and Amylin to create cutting edge devices and new pharmaceutical solutions for treating type 1 diabetes.

Mr. Soler previously worked for eight years in federal relations positions at the Association of American Universities, focusing on education, health and immigration issues.

Mr. Soler received a B.A. with honors from Clark University and his J.D. from George Washington University. He is a member of both the Maryland and Washington, D.C. Bar Associations.

He is an active volunteer and currently serves as a member of the JDRF International Government Relations Committee. He and his wife, Susan, have two daughters.
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Walter Willett
Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition
Chair, Department of Nutrition
Harvard School of Public Health
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 30 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 1,500 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.

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Rachel Zimmerman
Journalist
WBUR CommonHealth (NPR)
Rachel Zimmerman worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal for 10 years, most recently at the Boston bureau covering health and medicine. She’s also written for The New York Times, the (now-defunct) Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the alternative paper, Willamette Week, in Portland, Oregon, among other publications. She is the co-author of The Doula Guide To Birth (2009), published by Bantam/Random House. In 2008, she spent the year as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. Rachel lives in Cambridge with her husband and two daughters.
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