2016 Speaker Information
Speaker information for the 2016 Practicum will be updated in the near future. For your information, we have included biographical sketches for several of the speakers at this year’s Practicum. Additional bios will be added in the upcoming weeks.
Regan Lucas Bailey, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., CPH, is an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. Prior to academic life, Dr. Bailey was a nutritional epidemiologist and director of career development and outreach at the Office of Dietary Supplements, Office of Disease Prevention at the National Institutes of Health. The overarching goal of her research program is to prevent or lessen the risk of chronic disease through nutrition. Dr. Bailey’s specific research interests include nutritional epidemiology; one-carbon metabolism, particularly the role of B vitamins; dietary assessment methods and measurement error; dietary patterns; dietary supplements; nutrition screening; and nutrition and aging, particularly as it relates to reducing the risk of cognitive impairment and osteoporosis. She has considerable expertise working with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Dr. Bailey is a member of the American Society for Nutrition, American Public Health Association, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is on the executive board of the Nutrition Epidemiology Research Interest Section of the American Society for Nutrition. She serves as an advisor to the International Life Sciences Institute-North America both on the Fortification Committee and the Food, Nutrition & Safety Program.
Dr. Bailey received her Ph.D. in nutrition science from The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Bailey completed an M.P.H. from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and is certified in public health. Dr. Bailey is a registered dietitian who completed a dietetic internship and M.S. in food and nutrition at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Paul Coates, Ph.D., has directed the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1999 in its mission to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements. He oversees a range of initiatives and programs that support research and the training of investigators, as well as the development of research tools and information resources; through these, he has established ODS as a strong and authoritative voice for rigorous science in dietary supplements and related areas of nutrition. In 2011, he received the prestigious Conrad A. Elvehjem Award from the American Society for Nutrition for public service in nutrition. He is lead editor of the authoritative Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements, now in its second edition, and associate editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. He also currently serves as acting associate director of the NIH Office of Disease Prevention. From 1975 to 1993, prior to his career at NIH, Dr. Coates was on the faculty of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as research professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry/Biophysics. His Ph.D. in human genetics was awarded by Queen’s University in Canada, followed by postdoctoral training in the Department of Human Genetics and Biometry at University College London.
Tod Cooperman, M.D., is a noted researcher, writer, and commentator on consumer healthcare issues and is the president and founder of ConsumerLab.com and PharmacyChecker.com.
Recognizing a lack of quality standards and oversight in the dietary supplement industry, Dr. Cooperman founded ConsumerLab.com in 1999 along with U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientist Dr. William Obermeyer. ConsumerLab.com has become the leading independent evaluator of dietary supplements, publishing reports for consumers and health professionals at www.consumerlab.com. Dr. Cooperman has been called as an expert witness by committees of both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to give testimony regarding the quality and regulation of dietary supplements.
In 2002, responding to the rapid growth in online pharmacies, Dr. Cooperman founded PharmacyChecker.com, which independently evaluates online pharmacies in the United States, Canada, and worldwide. The company’s website, www.pharmacychecker.com, is also a popular drug price comparison site for consumers seeking affordable medication from independently verified pharmacies.
Prior to starting his current companies, Dr. Cooperman was president of CareData Reports, which he founded in 1994. CareData was a leading managed care consumer research company later acquired by J.D. Power and Associates.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Cooperman was involved in the assessment and development of products in the healthcare field, first as a business analyst with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, then as director of business development for the biotechnology company, Synaptic Pharmaceuticals, and then as a consultant with the pharmaceutical and medical device consulting firm, The Wilkerson Group.
Brian S. Cornblatt, Ph.D., is the Medical Director and Director of Product Support for Nutramax Laboratories Consumer Care, Inc. In these roles, Dr. Cornblatt develops novel nutraceutical formulations, designs both in vitro and clinical studies in support of products, and summarizes both supporting laboratory and clinical research for healthcare workers and consumers. Prior to coming to Nutramax Laboratories in 2010, Dr. Cornblatt was the Scientific Director and developer of the Catholic Health Initiatives’ Center for Translational Research (CTR), a combined molecular research laboratory, national biorepository, and diagnostics laboratory. The CTR supported research initiatives throughout CHI’s 40 Oncology centers. A Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Graduate with a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences and a postdoctoral fellowship from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences Division of Toxicology, Dr. Cornblatt has been involved in medical research since 1990. Dr. Cornblatt’s main research interests are focused on developing novel formulations composed of natural based phytochemicals to minimize chronic inflammation and combating the threats of environmental toxicants. Dr. Cornblatt is a board member of the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation. His father is a now 19 year survivor of metastatic colorectal cancer and his mother a survivor of uterine cancer. Both have had profound influences on his career.
Dr. Cornblatt is the father of two incredible daughters and spends his nights and weekends outdoors as much as possible - on the soccer and lacrosse fields, running, or cycling in the rural counties of western Maryland.
Cindy D. Davis, Ph.D., is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) director of grants and extramural activities, encouraging partnerships with other NIH Institutes and Centers to facilitate funding of important research on dietary supplements. Before coming to ODS, she was a program director in the Nutritional Sciences Research Group for 9 years at the NIH National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Davis received her B.S. from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a minor in human cancer biology, and completed postdoctoral training at NCI. Prior to joining NIH, she was a research nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.
Steven Dentali, Ph.D., serves as a research fellow for the Botanical Development Department at Herbalife, a global nutrition company that has helped people pursue a healthy, active life since 1980 with products available exclusively through Herbalife members in over 90 countries. He is a member of the USP Botanical Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines Expert Committee. An advisory board member of the American Botanical Council and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, he chaired the Product Quality Working Group of the National Advisory Council for the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health from 2005 to 2007. His previous service includes over a decade as science officer for the American Herbal Products Association and many other activities geared toward providing perspective for the establishment of appropriate standards for botanical stakeholders.
Dr. Dentali has 25 postgraduate years of experience in the U.S. herbal and dietary supplement industry, having worked with small craft botanical houses, large and small agricultural efforts, and as senior director of botanical sciences for a large supplement company. He was trained as an herbalist prior to earning his doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences with a specialization in natural products chemistry from the University of Arizona, Tucson. An American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education Fellow, Dr. Dentali’s understanding of traditional uses of therapeutic herbs gives him a unique perspective on the emerging scientific data on botanical research. Recognized as a foremost expert in the natural products industry and a frequent lecturer, he is considered an authority on botanical product quality issues and is an active participant in discussions with organizations and institutions that have an interest in herbal and other natural health products.
Patricia A. Deuster, Ph.D., M.P.H., CNS, FACSM, is a professor and director for the Defense Center of Excellence: Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) School of Medicine in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine; she is also faculty for the Neuroscience program. She obtained an A.B. in mathematics and computer science and an M.A. in physical education from the College of William and Mary, a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences and physiology from the University of Maryland, and an M.P.H. with an emphasis in epidemiology from USU.
Dr. Deuster chairs the Department of Defense (DoD) Dietary Supplement Subcommittee, is a member of the DoD Food and Nutrition Subcommittee, and serves on the DoD Human Performance Optimization Health Sciences Advisory Committee. She is one of the leads on the DoD Operational Supplement Safety Initiative.
Dr. Deuster is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Certified Nutrition Specialist with over 150 peer-reviewed papers and numerous book chapters and books relating to nutrition, dietary supplements, and physical performance. In addition to peer-reviewed publications, she has developed multiple educational materials related to nutrition, dietary supplements, physical training, human performance, and total force fitness; many are posted on the CHAMP Human Performance Resource Center website (http://hprc-online.org).
Johanna Dwyer, D.Sc., R.D., attended Cornell University and received her M.S. from the University of Wisconsin and her M.Sc. and D.Sc. from the Harvard School of Public Health. After several years on the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health, she moved to Tufts University and New England Medical Center (now Tufts Medical Center), where she serves as director of the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at the Medical Center and is a faculty member in the Medical School. She is currently a professor of medicine and community health at Tufts University School of Medicine and also at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, as well as a senior scientist at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. She also served as an assistant administrator for human nutrition at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (2001–2002) and as a senior nutrition scientist at the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (2003–2011) while on the Tufts faculty through the interagency personnel acquisition program. She is now a senior nutrition scientist consultant at ODS and a senior nutrition scientist at the Tufts Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. Dr. Dwyer was a member of the year 2000 Dietary Guidelines Committee and a member of the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. She also served as a member of the Council of the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Dwyer has written over 475 research and review articles in scientific journals and books. She has been the editor of Nutrition Today, a comprehensive review journal, since 1995. The goal of Nutrition Today is to provide authoritative coverage of developments in nutrition science, nutrition policy, and the cultural aspects of food and nutrition to nutrition practitioners in all sectors. Dr. Dwyer’s honors include membership in the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (elected 1998); the W.O. Atwater Award (1995); the Harvard School of Public Health Distinguished Alumnae Award (2004); the C.A. Elvehjem Award of the American Society of Nutrition (2005); fellow, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (2012); and Institute of Food Technologists Trailblazer Award and Lectureship (2014). She is past president of both the American Society of Nutrition (formerly the American Institute of Nutrition) and the Society for Nutrition Education, and a fellow of both organizations. She also served in Congress as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow.
Dr. Dwyer’s career has been devoted to expanding the scientific basis for clinical and public health interventions related to diet, especially in obesity, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease, and to ensuring that public policy fosters such efforts. She agrees with her mentor, Jean Mayer, the late president of Tufts University, that nutrition is not a discipline, but an agenda of problems that must be solved.
Andrew J. Erickson, M.S., is a senior chemist at NSF International, working in the area of dietary supplement analysis. In his 12 years of employment at NSF, he has analyzed a variety of vitamins, fatty acids, phytosterols, and other components from dietary supplements. Mr. Erickson has participated in several AOAC International collaborative studies and has been involved in the AOAC analyte selection process. He also helped teach the NSF “Botanical ID” class at Supply Side West in October 2015 and presented a poster at the 2007 Association of Analytical Chemists meeting. He earned his B.S. in biochemistry from Michigan State University and his M.S. in natural products chemistry under Dr. Muraleedharan Nair from the Michigan State University Department of Horticulture.
Bill J. Gurley, Ph.D., is a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy, director of the UAMS Clinical Pharmacokinetics Research Laboratory, and chair of the UAMS Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. He is a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, as well as the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s Expert Panel on Dietary Supplements. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, abstracts, and book chapters in the areas of pharmacokinetics, analytical method development, therapeutic drug monitoring, herbal dietary supplements, and herb-drug interactions. His research interests include mechanisms of herb-drug interactions, toxicity of multiple-component herbal dietary supplements, phytochemical modulation of human drug-metabolizing enzymes and drug transport proteins, pharmacokinetics of phytochemcials in humans, and botanical supplement use in special populations. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Tennessee Technological University and his B.S. in pharmacy and Ph.D. in pharmaceutics from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Carol Haggans, M.S., R.D., is a scientific and health communications consultant with the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this role, she handles a variety of health communications activities including writing and updating the ODS dietary supplement fact sheets and the consumer-focused e-newsletter, The Scoop. She also responds to inquiries from consumers, health professionals, and the media about dietary supplements, and she represents ODS at scientific conferences and expos. Ms. Haggans is also a member of the NIH Nutrition Education Subcommittee, a committee that reviews nutrition education materials written for the public to ensure that they are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Before becoming a consultant, Ms. Haggans was a program analyst with ODS from 1999 to 2004. During that time, she coordinated the development and implementation of the Computer Access to Research on Dietary Supplements database of federally funded research on dietary supplements and was involved with the design and maintenance of the ODS website.
Ms. Haggans is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She received an M.S. in nutrition from the University of Minnesota where she conducted clinical research on the effects of flaxseed consumption on estrogen metabolism and breast cancer risk in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Prior to that, Ms. Haggans worked in the information technology field as a manufacturing and technical service engineer after receiving a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.
Loren D. Israelsen, J.D., is president of the United Natural Products Alliance, a trade association of dietary supplement companies committed to safety, science, and quality.
He has been deeply involved in the commercial and regulatory issues facing the global dietary supplement industry since 1980. On the commercial side, he served as general counsel and president of Nature’s Way Products, Inc. He has also served as vice president/general counsel to the American Herbal Products Association, co-founder and counsel to the European American Phytomedicine Coalition, founding member of the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations, industry liaison to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Expert Advisory Committee on Ephedra, industry advisor to the Office of Dietary Supplements, expert panel member on the Institute of Food Technologists’ Functional Food Report (2005), and most recently, sat as an expert panel member to the U.S. Department of Defense/RAND study on dietary supplement use among military personnel.
Mr. Israelsen has authored over 150 articles and book chapters and has lectured in over 30 countries on dietary supplement and functional food issues. He is the recipient of the NBJ Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Nutrition Foods Association President’s Award, and the B.Y. Morrison Lecture and Medal. He was honored to be included in Natural Health Magazine’s 30th Anniversary Hall of Fame and the New Hope Natural Media Hall of Fame. Mr. Israelsen was awarded the Mark Blumenthal Community Builder award in March of 2015.
Mindy S. Kurzer, Ph.D., is professor of nutrition and director of the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute at the University of Minnesota. She has been at the University of Minnesota since 1989, where she has taught nutrition courses to over 4,000 students and performs research on the health effects of dietary compounds, such as soy and green tea, in addition to weight loss and physical activity. Dr. Kurzer has given 150 invited lectures and media interviews about her soy research in the United States, as well as 16 countries in Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America. She currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Soy Nutrition Institute in the United States. Dr. Kurzer has received the International Life Sciences Institute Future Leader Award; the Ruth Pike Lectureship, Pennsylvania State University; the University of Minnesota Distinguished Teaching Award; the University of Minnesota Excellence in Discovery Award; and the University of Minnesota Best Director of Graduate Studies Award. In 2006–2007, she was a Committee on Institutional Cooperation Academic Leadership Fellow, and in 2008, she received an award for contributions to soy research, given at the 8th International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Kurzer received a Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1984. She was then awarded a North Atlantic Treaty Organization Postdoctoral Fellowship, for which she performed research at the National Nutrition Institute, Rome, Italy, and Odense University, Denmark. This was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Kurzer has been a visiting scientist at the University of Helsinki, Finland, the National Nutrition Institute in Rome, Italy, and the International Agency for Cancer Research in Lyon, France.
Adam J. Kuszak, Ph.D., joined the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) in November 2015 as a health policy analyst after first serving ODS as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Science & Technology Policy Fellow in 2014. Dr. Kuszak supports the administration and oversight of the Dietary Supplements Analytical Materials and Reference Materials Program. In addition, he is assisting the development of ODS activities pertaining to mitochondrial disorders as part of the Nutrition and Dietary Supplement Interventions for Inborn Errors of Metabolism Program. Dr. Kuszak earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology at the University of Michigan and completed postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
Joyce Merkel, M.S., R.D., is an information specialist contractor at the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), primarily working on dietary supplement literature databases, and in communication and promotion activities for the Office. Prior to coming to ODS, she was a nutrition information specialist for the Food and Nutrition Information Center at the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Library, working on the Nutrition.gov website; an assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University in Minnesota; a nutrition specialist for the North Dakota State University Extension Service; a Medicare and Medicaid surveyor for the North Dakota State Health Department; and a hospital clinical dietitian. She received her B.S. and M.S. in nutrition from North Dakota State University and performed doctoral work in nutrition at Syracuse University.
Steven Mister, M.A., J.D., has been president & CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry, since 2005. Under his leadership, CRN has experienced increased membership, refined its strategic focus, and launched initiatives that center on increasing industry responsibility and consumer education. In addition to his role as president of CRN, he is also president of the CRN Foundation. Among the Foundation’s achievements are the creation of a highly successful consumer wellness education campaign (Life…supplemented), a program with the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus to review supplement advertising, and a grant to Frost & Sullivan to produce an economic report on health care cost savings from the targeted use of specific supplements.
Prior to joining CRN, Mr. Mister served in several legal and legislative roles for over a decade at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, most recently as vice president and associate general counsel. Mr. Mister also worked as an attorney in the Washington, DC, law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding in general litigation, government ethics, and federal election law practice groups, and had a stint on Capitol Hill as a media relations assistant for former U.S. Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr. Mr. Mister holds a law degree from the College of William and Mary, an M.A. in political communication from the University of Maryland, and a B.S. in speech communication from Towson University.
Anahad O’Connor is a consumer health reporter for The New York Times. He joined the paper in 2003 as a reporter for Science Times, the paper’s weekly science and health section.
Mr. O’Connor writes about nutrition, fitness, and medicine, covering everything from sleep to saturated fat and the science of weight loss. He has also worked as a staff reporter for the paper’s Metropolitan section and its breaking news desk. Mr. O’Connor joined the paper’s Well blog in 2011, covering a broad range of health news. His coverage of fraud in the dietary supplement industry prompted an investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s office. Another series he wrote shed light on Coca-Cola’s funding of research that sought to downplay the role of sugary drinks in the obesity epidemic.
Mr. O’Connor has appeared on national news programs such as PBS News Hour, Good Morning America, and NPR’s All Things Considered. He is an avid fitness enthusiast and the author of four books, including the bestselling, Never Shower in a Thunderstorm and The 10 Things You Need to Eat. Mr. O’Connor graduated from Yale University in 2003 with a degree in psychology.
Luisa Rios-Avila, Ph.D., joined the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) in August 2015 as a nutrition scientist consultant. She supports the ODS Nutrition and Dietary Supplement Interventions for Inborn Errors of Metabolism (NDSI-IEM) Program for which she is developing fact sheets about dietary supplement use in the management of primary mitochondrial disorders (PMD). Dr. Rios-Avila also contributes to development of an NDSI-IEM roadmap for the study of nutritional interventions in PMD.
Dr. Rios-Avila received her Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from the University of Florida where her research interest focused on vitamins in human nutrition and metabolism. As a doctoral student, she conducted a clinical study to investigate the metabolic consequences of vitamin B6 deficiency and vitamin B6 supplementation on one-carbon metabolism and tryptophan catabolism in women using oral contraceptives.
Dr. Rios-Avila received her master’s degree in nutrition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the Javeriana University in Bogota-Colombia. Dr. Rios-Avila is a member of the American Society for Nutrition.
Michelle Rusk, J.D., is a senior staff attorney in the Division of Advertising Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Division is responsible for regulating national advertising matters, including claims about foods, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco, and environmental products. Ms. Rusk has been responsible for coordination of FTC enforcement activities for food and dietary supplement advertising and involved in various policy matters related to food marketing during her 20-year career at the Commission. Following passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, she worked on developing an FTC policy on food advertising to harmonize with U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. She was involved in writing the FTC’s 1994 Enforcement Policy Statement on Food Advertising. Ms. Rusk also developed the FTC’s 1998 Dietary Supplements: An Advertising Guide for Industry. She was the 1999 recipient of the Commission’s Paul Rand Dixon Award for her work in the dietary supplement area. She served as the FTC’s representative to the Interagency Working Group charged by Congress with developing recommendations for nutritional standards for foods marketed to children and most recently contributed to the FTC’s 2012 report, A Review of Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents. Ms. Rusk joined the FTC from private practice in 1990. She graduated from Harvard University and received her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.
David G. Schardt, M.S., is a senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group specializing in food, nutrition, and dietary supplement issues. He has been writing about nutrition for the general public and for professionals for more than 25 years. His articles covering most aspects of food, nutrition, and dietary supplements have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, newsletters, college textbooks, and websites. His reports on nutrition and dietary supplements are featured in the monthly Nutrition Action Healthletter, the Nation’s most popular nutrition newsletter. He helped to write and edit the landmark Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health. His book, Eating Leaner and Lighter, published by Warner Books, was recommended for sensible nutrition by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Information Center. He has served on panels advising the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the U.S. Pharmacopeia, and the Association of Official Analytical Chemists on dietary supplement issues. He received his graduate degrees in nutrition and biochemistry from Oregon State University and has graduate study and research experience with Cornell University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences.
Kerry J. Schulze, Ph.D., is an associate scientist and director of the Center for Human Nutrition Micronutrient Research Laboratory in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She received her Ph.D. from the Bloomberg School of Public Health studying mineral metabolism in a clinic-based study in 2003, and she has remained at Johns Hopkins University where she is an expert in micronutrient status assessment. Her research involves determining vitamin and mineral status, assessing response to nutritional interventions, and exploring the consequences of vitamin and mineral deficiencies in studies of pregnant women, infants, and children in undernourished populations, primarily of South Asia and Africa.
Howard D. Sesso, Sc.D., M.P.H., FAHA, is an associate epidemiologist at the Divisions of Preventive Medicine and Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. in human biology from Stanford University, an M.P.H. in epidemiology from The George Washington University, and an Sc.D. in epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. School of Public Health. Dr. Sesso specializes in the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), including hypertension and obesity as major risk factors, as well as cancer. His research focuses on the role of vitamin and mineral supplements, along with nutritional biomarkers, on the prevention of chronic disease. Dr. Sesso is director of nutrition research and co-director of hypertension research at the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH.
Dr. Sesso is also an expert in the design, methodology, and conduct of epidemiologic studies and randomized clinical trials. He led the Physicians’ Health Study II, a recently completed trial that tested a multivitamin, vitamin E, and vitamin C supplements on cardiovascular disease, cancer, eye disease, and other chronic diseases in 14,641 men with more than a decade of treatment and follow-up. Dr. Sesso is also testing vitamin D and fish oil supplements on 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure and risk of developing hypertension in an ancillary study of the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL) trial. Dr. Sesso is co-principal Investigator of the recently initiated COcoa Supplement and Multivitamins Outcomes Study (COSMOS), a randomized, 2x2 factorial trial testing cocoa flavanol and multivitamin supplements in the prevention of CVD and cancer in 18,000 women and men with 4 years of treatment and follow-up. Dr. Sesso has published more than 200 papers to date and enjoys teaching at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as mentoring new investigators.
Barbara C. Sorkin, Ph.D., is the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Botanical Research Centers Program, an effort to advance the scientific base of knowledge about botanical safety, efficacy, and biological action. Dr. Sorkin comes to the Office of Dietary Supplements from the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), where for 9 years she administered extramural research efforts in the areas of healthy aging, cancer, and sleep. She also coordinated NCCAM programs to enhance clinical and translational research on complementary and alternative medicine. Dr. Sorkin received her B.S. and M.S. from the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Department at Yale University, and her Ph.D. from the Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology at Rockefeller University. Prior to joining NIH, she was a faculty member at the Forsyth Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, and at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.
Christine L. Taylor, Ph.D., is a senior nutrition scientist at the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. She has held a number of nutrition science, policy, and management positions in Washington, DC, and overseas. She previously held a position at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where she worked in the foods area. In her last position with the Agency, she served as the director of FDA’s Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements. She oversaw four Divisions with a total of more than 60 staff including medical officers, biologists, biochemists, nutritionists, and lawyers; served as the Agency spokesperson for nutrition issues; and was responsible for the Office’s laboratory and nonlaboratory research. Dr. Taylor was initiated as a scholar in the Institute of Medicine at The National Academies in Washington, DC. She was the study director for four projects focused on an evaluation of the process for setting dietary reference intakes, consensus recommendations for the standards for school lunch, identification of strategies for reducing sodium in the diet, and an evaluation of the recommended intakes for vitamin D and calcium. Dr. Taylor has led international efforts to integrate nutrition science into public health policy. She also served as a visiting expert for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and headed the U.S. delegation to the Codex Committee on Food Labeling, an international organization responsible for setting food labeling standards.
Paul R. Thomas, Ed.D., R.D.N., is a scientific consultant at the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). In that capacity he contributes to various projects with most of the ODS scientific staff. Dr. Thomas works primarily in ODS communications, where he prepares dietary supplement fact sheets and other educational materials and interacts with the media. Dr. Thomas also manages the Federal Working Group on Dietary Supplements, which serves as a means of communication between ODS and its Federal partners to co-fund research, expand opportunities for research-investigator training, and strengthen collaborative efforts involving dietary supplement research, education, and communication. He is a registered dietitian nutritionist and a member of the American Society for Nutrition. Previous positions include project director at the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, fellow and research assistant professor in the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Georgetown University, expert consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, senior staff scientist with the Life Sciences Research Office, and founder of The Dietary Supplement newsletter. He received his Ed.D. in nutrition from Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Elaine Trujillo, M.S., R.D.N., is a nutritionist with the Nutritional Science Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Maryland, where she promotes the translation of information about bioactive food components as modifiers of cancer. She plans and directs nutritional programs such as the annual week-long program, John Milner Nutrition and Cancer Prevention Research Practicum, and the lectureship program at NIH, Stars in Nutrition and Cancer. She collaborates with other federal agencies and served on the management team for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Prior to joining NCI, Ms. Trujillo was a senior clinical and research dietitian, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston. Ms. Trujillo is the past chair of the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). At the state level, she has served as chair of the Education and Research Division for the Maryland Academy of Nutrition. Ms. Trujillo holds a B.S. in nutritional science from the University of Delaware. At Texas Woman’s University, she earned an M.S. and completed a dietetic internship. Ms. Trujillo uses a variety of approaches to share her views and findings about nutrition with others interested in health, including scientific journal articles, book chapters, abstracts, and nutrition cookbooks. Her most recent book is The Calories In Calories Out Cookbook: The Toolkit You Need To Make Smart Calorie Decisions Every Day (Experiment Publishing June 2014).
Cara Welch, Ph.D., came to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014 as a regulatory special assistant and is currently the senior advisor for the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs. In this role, Dr. Welch works on new policies and programs involving regulatory compliance matters of significant importance to the dietary supplement industry. She utilizes her chemistry background to provide guidance on research projects throughout the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) applicable to dietary supplement regulation and is the project officer for CFSAN’s Cooperative Agreement with the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Welch also serves as an expert witness on regulations regarding dietary supplement ingredients, labeling, and manufacturing.
Prior to FDA, Dr. Welch was the senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the Natural Products Association (NPA). While there, she was responsible for implementing policies in response to government initiatives in the regulatory arena; advising association members on regulatory, safety, nutrition, and health issues; and overseeing NPA’s Natural Seal Certification and Dietary Supplement GMP Certification programs. Dr. Welch earned her Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from Rutgers University, working with traditional medicinal African plants under the direction of plant biologist James E. Simon.