Len Saunders is a spokesperson for the American Heart Association on childhood obesity.
He is the author of nine books and has been a public school physical education teacher for almost 40 years. Len is best known for his Project ACES event, which motivates millions of children to exercise. Learn more about his work at lensaunders.com.
Read Len's guest blog post: 7 Ways to Stay Active with Your Family This Winter - to be published 12/2/19
Jean McSweeney, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, is a Professor and Associate Dean of Research at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
She is also a past chair for the American Heart Association Central Arkansas Board of Directors and a member of the AHA Strategically Focused Research Network in Prevention Oversight Advisory Committee. In June 2019 she accepted the AHA’s Healthcare Volunteer of the Year award.
Read Jean's guest blog post: The exciting future of scientific research - to be published 11/25/19
Kimberly Torella, Stroke Survivor and Volunteer for the American Heart Association – Kern County Division
At age 29 Kimberly Torella survived an ischemic stroke caused by unexplained dissection and a clot in her cerebral artery. She first noticed symptoms when leaving her son’s cub scouts game and woke up the next day paralyzed on her left side. Today, she works to raise awareness about brain health and lives a healthy and active life with her son in Bakersfield, CA.
Read Kimberly's guest blog post: Stroke survivor offers inspiring message of Thanksgiving
Dave Engledow is the author/photographer of Confessions of the World’s Best Father, as well as two children’s picture books, The Little Girl Who Didn’t Want to Go to Bed and The Little Girl Who Wanted to Be Big. His work has appeared in GQ, People, Parade, New York Times online, and dozens of other print and online publications. He was named one of My Modern Met’s Top 10 Breakthrough Artists of 2012 and was selected as a Best of Show photographer at the 2014 International Photography Awards.
Engledow began creating humorous images of himself with his newborn daughter Alice Bee in 2011, having no idea that the images he was creating to amuse his friends and family would eventually be seen by millions of people worldwide. What started out as a single image created to capture/ridicule how clueless and sleep-deprived he was feeling as a new father has turned into an ongoing series of more than 140 photo-manipulated images that satirize common parenting stereotypes and address many of Engledow’s personal fears and neuroses as a new father. These images have been published in magazines, newspapers, and websites in dozens of countries, featured on television shows (including multiple appearances on Today) and published in book form by Gotham/Penguin Random House.
Engledow lives in Takoma Park, MD, with his wife Jen, daughter Alice Bee and two cats of questionable moral character.
Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough has been a general pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University for five years.
She is assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and medical director of the newborn nursery. She is also the mom of two littles who love summer. She enjoys discussing wellness and empowering families to make healthy choices.
Read Tiffany's guest blog post: Tips for a Healthy School Year.
Gail Ballin is a fun-loving mom of two adult children, a masters level therapist and a 2018 American Heart Association Forsyth County Go Red Woman.
In 2015, she found herself depressed and extremely overweight; so she started a journey to find herself and in the process lost over 100 lbs. Gail lives in North Carolina and shares the trials, tribulations & her challenges with weight loss, maintenance, living a healthy lifestyle and being a single mom in a crazy world via her blog healthy-mommabee.com.
Read Gail's guest blog post: 10 Tips to Reduce Summer Stress
Jeffrey M. Burnham, MD, FAAFP, CAQSM Family Medicine/ Sports Medicine at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge.
Jeffrey M. Burnham earned his medical degree from University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. He completed his residency at Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge. Dr. Burnham is board certified by the American Academy of Family Medicine and holds a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Sports Medicine as well. He joined the staff at Ochsner in December 2018.
Dr. Burnham has over 25 years of accumulated training and experience in treating sports medicine conditions ( in more than 25 different sports activities) not only in the clinic setting but also in intense and highly competitive sports venues at the high school, Div. 1 college, and professional ranks. He has been the sports physician for numerous state high school champions, national championship teams, and individual world class and Olympic athletes.
Through the years he has trained numerous outstanding athletic trainers, medical students, residents and physician fellows in the art and science of sports medicine. Dr. Burnham remains as committed to helping the amateur athlete/ exerciser enjoy the benefits of optimal health, nutrition, and fitness as he is to the elite performer.
Read Dr. Burnham's guest blog post: Protect Your Health in the Summer Heat
Jess Murden is a New Jersey volunteer and has been mostly involved with our Heart Walks. She has hosted many wellness/fitness events at the offices of our local sponsors and AHA events. Most recently, she has started becoming a social media ambassador to help create more awareness about the importance of taking care of your heart and mind. In addition, she is certified in CPR and often encourages all to go to our website and get educated in Hands Only CPR. She is very passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and is always offering advice on ways to “Move More”.
Read Jess's guest blog post: Add Exercise to Your Summer Travel Plans
Robert Sanchez, M.D., FACC
Robert Sanchez, M.D., FACC has been in leadership roles with the American Heart Association for more than a decade. He has served the Greater Southeast Affiliate board for the past five years, currently as the president. Dr. Sanchez has also been a Tampa Bay Metro board member for eight years, formerly serving as the board president.
Dr. Sanchez is a cardiologist at The Heart Institute in St. Petersburg and the director of cardiovascular medicine at HCA West Florida’s Northside Hospital & Tampa Bay Heart Institute.
Dr. Sanchez was recently named the recipient of the Association’s 2018 Physician of the Year. This prestigious award recognizes practicing physicians who have made outstanding contributions to the American Heart Association’s mission.
Read Dr. Sanchez's guest blog post: CPR Saves Lives
Michael D. Parkinson, MD, MPH, FACPM
Sr Medical Director for Health and Productivity
UPMC Health Plan and WorkPartners
Dr. Parkinson serves on the GRA Health Strategies Committee and is a past member [2011-2015] of the GRA Board of Directors.
Dr. Parkison is the Senior Medical Director overseeing employer health and productivity strategies for UPMC Health Plan and WorkPartners. Following his retirement from the US Air Force Surgeon General’s Office, he was a principal founder of Lumenos, a national consumer-directed health plan acquired by Anthem/Wellpoint. Dr. Parkison is Past President of the American College of Preventive Medicine and served on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee which created the NASA “Integrated Employee Health” model. He currently advises the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Midwest Center for Workforce Excellence. He trained in family medicine at UCLA and preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins and serves on the Editorial Boards of the American Journal of Medical Quality and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Read Dr. Parkison's Blog post: Healthy for Good: For Your Life and Our Planet
Indrani Acosta, MD, Medical Director, Stroke
Dr. Acosta is a stroke neurologist and the Medical Director for stroke at AdventHealth in Central Florida. She completed her residency in neurology at the University of South Florida College of Medicine and received her fellowship in stroke at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Dr. Acosta is a member of the American Heart Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Medical Association. She has been serving patients in the Central Florida community for more than 9 years.
Read Dr. Acosta's guest Blog post: Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain
Ron Abell is Aramark’s senior executive chef at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Vegetables and herbs harvested from Fenway Farms, Fenway Park’s rooftop garden, are served in restaurants and concessions throughout the ballpark. For more tips from Aramark Chefs and Dietitians visit FYP365.com.
Tell us what you think about Ron's guest Blog post: Get the Kids, Get Outside and Get Healthy with a Family Garden
Sydney Cummings, BS, NASM CPT, FNS
Sydney Cummings is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and a volunteer with the American Heart Association. She is also a Women's Health Magazine Action Hero and the owner of Royal Change, a fitness and nutrition company online and in Charlotte, NC. Former high jump athlete and West Virginia University alumni, Cummings competed in Division 1 Big 12 Track & Field where she still maintains several school and state records for high jump! She has a bachelor's in Child Development studies and after going back to school for a second degree to become a nurse anesthetist, she dropped out during her second year to chase her passion in fitness and personal training! She now train clients in person every day as well as reach and train millions of people around the world with her online training and free fitness channel on YouTube!
Read Sydney's guest blog post: 5 Full Body At-Home Exercises with Household Items
Andrea Sharkey, MPH
Andrea Sharkey is a Project Manager in the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention & Tobacco Control at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
Andrea coordinates the National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative (NSSRI). The objective of the NSSRI is to promote voluntary, gradual, achievable, meaningful, and measurable reductions in sugar content in packaged foods and beverages. Additional responsibilities in this role include building nutrition databases for sodium and sugar content analyses, convening the NSSRI partnership, overseeing the development and maintenance of MenuStat (a free online database of restaurant nutrition), and supporting various programs and policies aimed at reducing the burden of diet-related chronic disease.
Andrea has a Master’s of Public Health from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.
Lisa A. Yarah, M.Ed., RDN, CDN, CDE
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator
Lisa Yarah is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator for St. Joseph’s Health Primary Care Centers. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Education degree in Counseling and Development from George Mason University. Lisa specializes in providing nutrition counseling and education for weight management and diabetes.
Read Yarah's guest blog post: Tips for Helping Your Child Understand Good Nutrition
Dr. Phoebe A. Ashley
Phoebe A. Ashley, M.D., MS, FACC, is a board-certified cardiologist with a special interest in women’s and preventive cardiovascular medicine at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health Pauley Heart Center. Ashely is an assistant professor at the university with a passion for teaching, health literacy and community education.
The former director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness program at the Heart and Vascular Institute at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon, she takes a holistic approach to cardiovascular care through the various stages of life, attentive to the nuances of heart health in women and men. In collaboration with the American Heart Association, she has worked to promote awareness and empower people of all ages regarding their cardiovascular health. Dr. Ashley will be speaking about this blog topic on VCU Health’s Facebook page on Tuesday, Feb. 12at 5:30 p.m.
Molly is one of the American Heart Association’s 2019 Real Women – ambassadors of the Go Red for Women movement who share their stories of survival and help raise awareness of heart disease and stroke in women.
Six weeks after losing her mom to heart disease, Molly had a heart attack when a clot blocked one of her main arteries. The then 21-year-old soccer player learned she had a congenital heart defect and a family history of heart disease increasing her own risks.
Now 28, Molly works in marketing in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. She hopes her story will help educate others about the different symptoms women may experience than men while having a heart attack, as well as the importance of heart health at every age.
Read Bella's guest blog post: National Wear Red Day on Feb. 1 Helps Fight Heart
Bella Portaro-Kueber is a creative optimist dedicated to helping others through her talents and skills both professionally and philanthropically as an entrepreneur, freelance writer, and lifestyle blogger.
Read Bella's guest blog post: Try a Stretch Goal in the New Year
Angie Kalousek Ebrahimi is a Blue Shield of California lifestyle medicine expert.
Angie Kalousek Ebrahimi oversees the marketing sales of clinically-proven lifestyle medicine programs for Blue Shield of California. Angie strongly believes that lifestyle medicine can transform the current health care model. She has incorporated lifestyle medicine into her own life to prevent disease and live in optimal health.
Read Angie’s guest blog post: The Gift of Self-Care this Holiday Season: Stress Less
Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, RYT
Mandy is a registered dietitian and fitness instructor based at the Jersey Shore. She specializes in corporate wellness, nutrition communications, and helping provide her clients simple, actionable mealtime solutions from planning to preparation.
Mandy is the creator of the couples nutrition blog and podcast, Nutrition Nuptials where she aims to help couples go from a “ME” to a “WE” with their nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle habits. Learn more about Mandy at www.mandyenright.com.
Read Mandy Enright's Guest Blog Post: How To Enjoy and Eat Healthy at Holiday Parties
Sarah Lucero, a journalist and marathoner
Sarah Lucero’s biggest passion is to make her community a better place. As a television journalist for 26 years, she helped provide a voice for those who did not have a voice and promoted positive change in her community.
Today, Sarah embraces a new challenge: to help others reach their fitness goals and become the healthiest possible version of themselves.
She has a love for endurance sports, nutrition and weight lifting. She’s competed in the Boston Marathon 4 times, raced in half Ironman Triathlons and most recently earned professional status as a natural fitness competitor. Today, she hopes to share her experience and love for sports and wellness with others to motivate her community to get stronger and live a healthier life.
Read Sarah Lucero's Guest Blog Post: 5 Tips for Fall Fitness
William Kraus, MD is the Richard and Pat Johnson Distinguished University Professor of Cardiovascular Genomics at Duke University.
Dr. Kraus’s training, expertise and research interests range from human integrative physiology and genetics to animal exercise models, from cell culture models of skeletal muscle adaptation to mechanical stretch. He practices as a preventive cardiologist with a focus on cardiometabolic risk and exercise physiology for older athletes.
Dr. Kraus’s work explores several areas, one of which is an integrative physiologic examination of exercise effects in clinical studies of normal individuals, individuals at risk of disease (e.g., pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome), and individuals with disease (e.g., coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, and cancer).
Achieving numerous awards and honors, including a fellowship for the American Heart Association Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Council. He has been appointed to the US Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, 2008, 2018.
Read Dr. Kraus' Guest Blog Post: Move a little or move a lot?
Sharon has created an award-winning career based on combining her two great loves: nutrition and writing. Sharon is an accomplished writer, editor, blogger, author, speaker, and media expert. In particular, her expertise is in plant-based nutrition, cooking, and sustainability. Sharon has authored over 950 articles in a variety of publications. Her book The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today (The Experiment, July 2012) was a critical success, which was followed by her second book Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes in July 2014. Sharon serves as the editor of the acclaimed health newsletter Environmental Nutrition, and nutrition editor for Today’s Dietitian. And she still has time to blog every day for her popular online community (35,000 members strong) at The Plant-Powered Dietitian. Living in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys tending to her own organic garden, visiting the local farmers market every week, and cooking for friends and family.
Read Sharon Palmer's Guest Blog Post: Spicy Lentil Tacos
Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD
Carolyn Williams is a Registered Dietitian and culinary nutrition expert with over 15 years’ experience in food and nutrition media. She specializes in creating healthy, fresh recipes that simplify family meal planning. She shares on her blog that “Would I actually make this at 5:30pm?” is her not-so-scientific test when creating a new recipe to keep a real-life perspective. Only recipes that get a “yes” answer to this question move on to the kitchen to be perfected in taste and nutrition.
Carolyn serves as a Contributing Editor for Cooking Light and won a 2017 James Beard Journalism Award for the article “Brain Food” in Cooking Light’s November 2016 issue. She writes and consults for a variety of media outlets, food brands, academic publishers, and public relations firms including Time Inc. Food Studios, Real Simple, Martha Stewart, Weight Watchers, Southern Living, Health magazine, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Gold Medal, High Road Ice Cream, Lactaid, Dr. Praeger’s Purely Sensible Foods, Bisquick, and Cengage.
Carolyn lives in Alabama with her two children and teaches culinary arts and nutrition classes at a local college. She’s currently in the process of writing her fourth cookbook: Meals That Heal (Time Inc. Books, Spring 2019) which is focused on using the healing aspects of food to improve and maintain the body’s health while keeping food prep to 30 minutes or less.
Hannah Gardener, ScD, Associate Scientist in the Department of Neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Hannah Gardener, ScD, is an Associate Scientist in the Department of Neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Gardener is an epidemiologist with a particular interest in neuroepidemiology and the epidemiology of aging. She received her doctorate in Epidemiology in 2007 from the Harvard School of Public Health. She has been conducting research on risk factors for clinical and subclinical vascular outcomes in the Northern Manhattan Study for over ten years. Her work has focused on modifiable vascular risk factors in relation to clinical vascular events, carotid disease/atherosclerosis, age-related changes in brain structure, and cognitive function and decline. She is particularly interested in the relationship between diet and vascular health, and has made important contributions regarding the health benefits of adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet. For over five years Dr. Gardener has examined race/ethnic, geographic and sex disparities in acute stroke care for the Florida-Puerto Collaboration to Reduce Stroke Disparities project, and she is also a lead investigator examining functional outcomes following rapidly improving and mild strokes as part of the Mild and Rapidly Improving Stroke Study.
Read Hannah Gardener's blog post: Sodium, Potassium and Stroke
Raul Espinoza Jr is the Grassroots Advocacy Manager for Voices for Healthy Kids
His current work focuses on helping grantees and organizations develop action alerts, social media engagement and call-to-action strategy. Previously he worked at a Hispanic non-profit that focused on engaging Hispanics in issue-specific policies. In his role, Raul was responsible for all Hispanic policies for Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
Read Raul Espinoza Jr's blog post: Stand Up Against Sugary Drinks
Read Kristy Anderson's blog post: Is healthy eating a new year’s resolution for USDA and school foods?
Stephen Juraschek is an Instructor of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center & Harvard Medical School.
Stephen Juraschek is an Instructor of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center & Harvard Medical School. Stephen is a general internist with doctoral training in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University. In addition to treating many patients with high blood pressure, he has participated in numerous studies examining the impact of diet and exercise on human health, particularly for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Read Stephen Juraschek's guest blog posts: Lower your blood pressure by reducing sodium and eating the DASH diet and also Are We Underestimating the Full Benefits of a Low Salt Diet?
Juliana Cohen is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Merrimack College and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
Her current work focuses on factors that influence food selection and consumption in fast food restaurants. Additionally, her research examines innovative school-based interventions to encourage the selection and consumption of healthier foods, as well the association between diet and cognitive functioning. Previously she was an ORISE Policy and Science fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. Dr. Cohen has a doctorate in nutrition from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. She also received a Master’s in society, human development, and health from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
Read Juliana Cohen's guest blog post: What is the impact of the DASH diet on kids?
Jenni Dreyer, RDN, CD is a nutrition communications specialist at Skogen’s Festival Foods in Wisconsin.
Jenni Dreyer is a nationally accredited, state-certified registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN) and nutrition communications specialist at Skogen’s Festival Foods. She is passionate about making healthy habits easy and believes that good nutrition shouldn’t be difficult or confusing. Seeing the positive effects that healthy foods have on our guests is what drives Jenni each day. Jenni’s biggest passion is getting people back into the kitchen and learning how to explore and love new foods. She enjoys working with individuals of all ages and helping them recognize that shopping for and cooking healthy food can be fun. Jenni draws from her previous work experience in K-12 school food service management and federal Child Nutrition Programs to bring a balanced and practical approach to nutrition. Jenni earned her B.S. in Nutrition Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and completed her dietetic internship at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Dietetics at Kansas State University.
Read Jenni Dreyer's guest blog post: Participate in National Family Meals Month
Annette Gray, Leader Culinary Innovation and Research and Development Chef for Aramark.
Chef Annette Grecchi Gray is the Leader of Culinary Innovation and Research and Development Chef for Aramark. Born in German-speaking Lucerne, Switzerland, a gift and passion for both cooking and languages have taken her around the world from Chicago, to Johannesburg, to Singapore, and many more, cooking in some of the best restaurants along the way.
In her current position at Aramark, Annette oversees the chef’s team for all things culinary innovation and development for Aramark’s retail, residential and healthcare patient menus. It is a fast-paced environment and every day is different from the previous. The opportunity to impact so many meals on a daily basis is the main drive for Annette. Leading a strong culinary team to support with the development of on trend and innovative new recipes is a close second. Help with the design of the culinary center for Aramark’s new Head-quarters and be part of conceptualizing new concepts for our field also falls under her set of responsibility.
Read Annette Gray's guest blog post: Healthy Menu Innovation That Can Help Everyone Be Healthy for Life
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, Director of Women’s Heart Health of Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum is an attending cardiologist and the Director of Women’s Heart Health of Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and has done fellowship training in both Preventive Cardiology and Cardiology. She is the author of “Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s Heart Book: Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart Healthy Life,” teaching all women how to lead the healthiest lives by living from the heart and “Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally,” with the editors of Prevention.
Dr. Steinbaum is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. She is a National Spokesperson for the American Heart Association and active on its New York City Board of Directors. Dr. Steinbaum is regularly seen in national media as a consultant in the areas of cardiology, women and heart disease and prevention and is a Heart Health Expert for Fresh Avocados – Love One Today®.
Read Dr. Steinbaum's guest blog post: Try Sodium-Free Avocados for National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month
Mara Silverio, Multicultural Communications Manager, American Heart Association’s National Public and Media Relations.
Mara is the Multicultural Communications Manager in the American Heart Association’s National Public and Media Relations department. She enjoys working in a cause driven organization and is passionate about tackling cultural barriers and bridging gaps to reach minority communities who would otherwise not have access to culturally tailored education that can save lives.
In her role, Mara develops content and assets for target audiences and establishes and fosters national media relationships. She works cross-functionally in various markets and issues to implement communications strategies that are inclusive of all people and reflect the diverse populations we serve.
Read Mara Silverio's guest blog posts: Changing Perceptions About Sodium in Minority Health
Deborah Renza has been publishing cookbooks and health-information titles for the American Heart Association for 11 years. In her role as managing editor, she turns ideas into books. She is responsible for overseeing the creation of all the content between the covers—including the flavorful heart-smart recipes, the consumer-friendly health information, and the mouthwatering photography—that best represent the association’s diet and lifestyle recommendations. Under Deborah’s leadership, the association’s current best-selling cookbook, Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook, made its debut on the leading home shopping network, QVC, and to date, has sold nearly 75,000 copies. Other recently released titles under her direction include Go Fresh; Grill It, Braise It, Broil It and 9 Other Easy Techniques for Making Healthy Meals; and Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, Fifth Edition.
For more than a decade, Deborah has partnered with Penguin Random House, the world’s leading trade publisher, to produce, market, and sell the American Heart Association’s library of books through various channels, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She also co-publishes cookbooks with the American Diabetes Association. More than half a million copies of American Heart Association books have been sold during her tenure.
Read Deborah Renza's guest blog posts:
Jim O'Hara is Director of Health Promotion Policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
Leading policy efforts at the federal, state and local levels to improve health by reducing sodium in foods and sugar drink consumption. He has also worked extensively to safeguard the Dietary Guidelines for Americans process and ensure its scientific integrity. He is the recipient of numerous public health awards, including the Surgeon General’s Medallion and FDA’s Harvey W. Wiley Medal.
Follow Jim O’Hara on Twitter: @JimOHara6
Abby Dilk is the Health Promotion Policy and Biotechnology Project Assistant at CSPI. Since joining CSPI in July 2016, she has developed numerous advocacy materials aimed at supporting sodium reduction, and sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes and warning labels. Abby earned a B.S. in Nutrition Science, with minors in biology and chemistry, from Purdue University in May 2016. Abby is currently earning her Master’s in Public Health Nutrition at The George Washington University.
Read their blog post, CSPI’s Infographics Show Food Companies Hold Salt Shaker.
Michael D. Parkinson, MD, MPH, FACPM is the Sr Medical Director for Health and Productivity UPMC Health Plan and WorkPartners
Dr Parkinson is the Senior Medical Director overseeing employer health and productivity strategies for UPMC Health Plan and WorkPartners. He is also Principal of P3 Health (“Prevention, Performance, Productivity”) working with employers and organizations to improve health, effectiveness and competiveness.
Mike is a Past President of the American College of Preventive Medicine, the national medical specialty society of physicians trained in and committed to disease prevention and systems-based approaches to improving health and health care. He formerly was EVP, Chief Health and Medical Officer of Lumenos, a pioneer of consumer-directed health plans and a subsidiary of Wellpoint. A retired Air Force colonel, he served as associate director of medical programs and resources in the Office of the Surgeon General where he was responsible for policy and planning for over 2 million beneficiaries, 70 facilities and a $4 billion budget.
While assigned to the US Public Health Service, he provided oversight of federal programs in public health, geriatrics and preventive medicine training. He served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on NASA employee health programs, and as faculty for the 14-cities Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Aligning Forces for Quality” project. He serves on the Policy Committee of the American Heart Association Great Rivers Affiliate, University of Iowa NIOSH Total Worker Health Center Advisory Board and the (DoD) Defense Health Board Healthcare Delivery Subcommittee.
Mike has been appointed to the editorial boards of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and the American Journal of Medical Quality. He obtained his AB from Cornell, MD from George Washington, family practice training at the UCLA and his MPH, preventive medicine residency and chief residency at Johns Hopkins.
Read Dr. Parkinson's blog post Add Color this Nutrition Month.
Ashley Mora, Digital Marketing Manager for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women
Ashley is the Digital Marketing Manager for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women, a movement dedicated to raising awareness that heart disease and stroke are the number one killer of women – more than all cancers combined. Ashley is responsible for Go Red’s social media properties, creative development and focuses on strategic ways to increase brand awareness, and transform audiences from simply observers to action takers. She prides herself in pushing the envelope, especially when it comes to social content and isn’t one to shy away from taking calculated risks.
Read Ashley Mora's blog post Why Wear Red on National Wear Red Day.
Sally Sampson, Founder of ChopChop Kids magazine
Sally Sampson is the Founder and President of ChopChop Kids, the non-profit publisher of ChopChop, The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families.
ChopChop’s mission is to inspire and teach kids to cook and eat real food with their families.
Published in both Spanish and English, the magazine is filled with nutritious, great-tasting, ethnically diverse and inexpensive recipes, as well as interesting and little-known food facts, Q & A’s and games.
ChopChop, named 2013 Publication of the Year by the James Beard Foundation, is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. ChopChop is distributed in every state and 20 other countries with a circulation that has grown to 4 million annually.
Ms. Sampson is the author and coauthor of many cookbooks, including ChopChop: The Kids Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family, The Olives Table (with Chef Todd English), The Fifty Dollar Dinner Party and Souped Up! She is also a contributor to The New York Times’ Motherlode Blog with her Picky Eater Project (The Picky Eater Project book is in the works with The American Academy of Pediatrics). She has contributed to Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, The Boston Globe and Cooks Illustrated, among others, and previously owned From the Night Kitchen, a café in Brookline Village MA.
After lupus caused her kidneys to fail, Jessica Goldman Foung refocused her life and work to study food, health and the ways they interact. She began SodiumGirl.com in 2009 to capture her adventures in her low-sodium life. In addition to her site being nominated as one of Saveur's "Best Food Blogs," Jessica serves as a low-sodium and special diet expert and contributor, appearing in print and broadcast media, including “Dr. Oz,” “Access Hollywood Live,” Huffington Post, Food Network.com, Cooking Light, Shape, Woman’s Day, Ladies Home Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, Food 52, Oprah.com, Well+Good, and Lupus Now (cover story). Jessica also works closely with the National Kidney Foundation and American Heart Association on patient education and recipe development.
Read Sodium Girl's blog post Sodium Girl helps make healthy meals at work.
Mark A. Creager is president of the American Heart Association for its 2015-16 fiscal year and director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
As president, Mark is chief volunteer scientific and medical officer, responsible for medical, scientific and public health matters. Mark is director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and professor of medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
He was the 2011-13 chairperson of the Association’s Research Committee and served from 2002 to 2005 as inaugural chairperson for the organization’s Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease. He is also a past chairperson of the Association’s Strategic Planning Task Force. A highly regarded expert in vascular medicine, Mark has published more than 440 scientific papers, and was the lead editor of the 2012 textbook, “Vascular Medicine, 2nd Edition: A Companion to Braunwald’s Heart Disease.” His research covers two principal areas: translational studies of vascular regulatory mechanisms that contribute to atherosclerosis, and pathophysiologic mechanisms and the effects of therapy in patients with peripheral artery disease.
Read Dr. Creager's blog post AHA President calls on the Food Industry to Support Voluntary Sodium Targets
Margo Wootan is the director of nutrition policy at CSPI. Wootan received her B.S. in nutrition from Cornell University and her doctorate in nutrition from Harvard University's School of Public Health. Wootan co-founded and coordinates the activities of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) and the Food Marketing Workgroup. She has coordinated and led efforts to require calorie labeling at fast-food and other chain restaurants, require trans fat labeling on packaged foods, improve school foods, reduce junk-food marketing aimed at children, and expand the nutrition and physical activity program at CDC. Wootan has received numerous awards and is quoted regularly in the nation's major media.
Colin Schwartz, MPP, is Senior Nutrition Policy Associate at CSPI and works on nutrition policy and advocacy. Prior to joining CSPI in July 2015, he served as director of government affairs at the Physicians Committee, policy and communications manager for the American Association of People with Disabilities, and manager of Viral Hepatitis Policy and Legislative Affairs at the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors. Colin earned undergraduate degrees in psychology and cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego, and a Master in Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Read CSPI's blog post New Infographic Highlights Science Behind Salt Reduction
Sarah Sliwa, PhD is an instructor at Tufts University where she teaches Theories of Behavioral Change and their Application in Nutrition and Public Health Interventions in the Developing Healthy Communities Online Graduate Certificate program at Friedman.
Sarah has nearly a decade of experience working on childhood obesity prevention initiatives. Her research interests focus on the identification and implementation of strategies to support children's opportunities to be physically active and eat nutritious foods in community settings that include schools, out-of-school programs, and restaurants.
Read Sarah's blog post, The Search for Healthy Kids Meals.
Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc is Chief of Cardiology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, and Associate earned a B.S. degree, (Honors), from Southern University; and an M.D. degree, (Alpha Omega Alpha), from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He completed his fellowship in cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He received his initial faculty appointment in 1989 and held a position on the faculty at UT Southwestern Medical Center for 17 years where he ascended to the rank of Professor of Medicine. Concurrently he was holder of the Carl Westcott Distinguished Chair in Medical Research, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Medical Director of the Heart Failure/Heart Transplant Program. In 2010, he completed a Master’s of Science in Medical Management (Beta Gamma Sigma) at the University of Texas- Dallas, School of Business and Management.
His research interests are in heart failure, heart transplantation, quality of care and health care Director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He holds the Magerstadt Endowed Professor of Medicine Chair and also holds an appointment as Professor of Medical Social Sciences. He is the newly appointed Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Vice-Dean of Diversity & Inclusion. Formerly he was the Medical Director, Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and Chief of Cardiothoracic Transplantation at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, TX.
Dr. Yancy is a native of Louisiana and disparities. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers and has an active web-based CME presence.
At present he serves on the editorial boards of Circulation, Circulation Heart Failure and the American Heart Journal. He is Associate Editor for the American Journal of Cardiology and is a Senior Section Editor (Heart Failure) for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
He is board certified in internal medicine with a subspecialty in cardiovascular disease. He is a Master of the American College of Cardiology, a Fellow of the American Heart Association and a Master of the American College of Physicians. He is also a member of the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT), the American Society of Hypertension (ASH), Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA), and the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC). He has previously served on the Executive Council of the HFSA. He recently served on the Advisory Committee to the Director for the NIH and remains as an active consultant to the National Institutes of Health; he is a member of the NIH Scientific Management and Review Board. He is the immediate past chair of the FDA Cardiovascular Devices Panel; is an ad hoc consultant for AHRQ; holds a position on the Methodology Committee for the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute and previously served on the Committee for Health, Science and Policy for the Institute of Medicine. He sits on several clinical trial oversight committees within the NHLBI. He is an active volunteer for the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. He is the current chair of the ACC/AHA Heart Failure Guideline Writing Committee. He is a former President of the American Heart Association (2009-2010), past recipient of the National Physician of the Year (AHA) and recently received the Gold Heart Award for a career of service from the American Heart Association. He serves on the Health Equities Committee for the American Hospital Association.
He has received innumerable best doctor awards and teaching accolades. In 2014 he was named one of the top 15 Black U.S. Medical Educators and was named Co-Educator of the Year by the National Medical Fellowships Foundation.
Read Dr. Yancy's blog post, National Minority Health Month: Live longer and better.
The Alliance was founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation as a response to the growing rate of childhood obesity. And just like our founders, our goal as an organization has always been to create systemic change, change that is not isolated to one home, or community, to one school, industry, or state. We want to create healthy changes that build upon one another and create a system, a nation, that makes the healthy choice the easy choice. Learn more about the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Read the Alliance's guest blog post, North Carolina Teen Shows that with Passion and Determination, Anything is Possible
Dina Rose, PhD is a sociologist, parent educator, feeding expert and the author of It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating (Perigee). She has been training parents, pediatricians, dietitians, and early childhood educators in the Habits Approach for the past decade. Her approach is so unique it has been called “transformational.” Dina’s work has been widely featured on TV, radio and in both print and online news sources such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Sound Medicine on NPR. In addition to writing her blog, It’s Not About Nutrition, Dina also writes for Psychology Today.
Read Dina Rose's guest blog post, What should your toddler eat?
Saadia Noorani is a UK Registered Public Health Nutritionist for the salt reduction charity, World Action on Salt and Health (WASH), a global organisation with the mission to reduce population level salt intake around the world.
Read Saadia Noorani's guest blog post, Celebrate World Salt Awareness Week 2016.
Diana K. Rice is the registered dietitian on staff with Meatless Monday. As an RD, she's passionate about developing simple, healthy recipes and helping people find practical ways to create lifelong healthy habits. She is an advocate for sustainable agriculture and involving children in food production and preparation. Diana lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.
Read Diana Rice's guest blog post, Try Meatless Monday to Lower Your Meat and Salt Consumption.
Chef Greg is the Managing Director of Wellness in the Schools. Wellness in the Schools inspires healthy eating, environmental awareness and fitness as a way of life for kids in public schools. Through meaningful public/private partnerships with school leadership, teachers, chefs, coaches, parents and kids, WITS develops and implements programs that provide healthy foods, healthy environments and opportunities for regular play to help kids learn and grow.
Greg comes to Wellness in the Schools from Share Our Strength where he was charged with building the programmatic partnerships necessary to grow the No Kid Hungry campaign and its national nutrition education efforts via the flagship Cooking Matters at the Store program.
Greg has a long food and health focused journey over the last two decades. He worked in London as a food consultant for public sector organizations and the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames; was a multiple restaurant owner and chef in Ithaca, NY; and spent time as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Mali. He holds a degree in Anthropology from Ithaca College, a certificate in Culinary Arts from the International Culinary Center and a Masters of Science in Food and Nutritional Policy from the Centre for Food Policy at the City University of London. Chef Greg loves that he spends his waking hours cooking food with family and friends and cooking up change with communities across the nation.
Read Greg Silverman's guest blog post, Strategic and Sustainable Steps to Support Lower Sodium in School Meals
Elizabeth Leonard is the Healthy Eating Project Coordinator in the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention & Tobacco Control at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
In this role Elizabeth works on a number of the agency’s nutrition strategy initiatives, with a particular focus on sodium. Elizabeth coordinates the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI), which includes encouraging sodium reduction commitments from the food industry, building nutrition databases for sodium content analysis, and convening the NSRI partnership, which serves as a hub for news, research, and best practices around sodium reduction.
Elizabeth also oversees the development and maintenance of MenuStat, a free online database of restaurant nutrition. Prior to working at the NYC DOHMH, Elizabeth worked on the field team for an evaluation of a diabetes prevention program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and on the communications team for the youth and community services team at New York Road Runners.
Elizabeth has a Master of Public Health from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.
Read Elizabeth Leonard's guest blog post, The National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI): Coordinating with Industry to Lower Salt in the Food Supply
Dr. Elliott Antman
Dr. Elliott Antman is Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Clinical/Translational Research at Harvard Medical School, a Senior Investigator in the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) Study Group, a Senior Physician in the Cardiovascular Division of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He was President of the American Heart Association (2014-2015) and now serves as Immediate Past President of the American Heart Association.
As a Senior Investigator in the TIMI Study Group, he has published on the use of serum cardiac markers for diagnosis and prognosis of patients with unstable angina and acute myocardial infarction, cyclooxygenase and cardiovascular risk, and antithrombotic therapy for acute coronary syndromes. His ongoing research studies help refine diagnostic and therapeutic modalities in routine clinical use today including cardiac specific troponins and novel antithrombotic agents.
At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Antman has been recognized for his active role and interest in education and training. He is the recipient of many awards from the housestaff, regularly participates in Professor’s Rounds, and has been honored for his contributions by the Harvard Medical School when it awarded him the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2001. Dr. Antman is Director of the Skills Development Center of the Boston Biomedical Innovation Center at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Dr. Antman is the Director of the Harvard Catalyst Program for Education in Clinical and Translational Science. The goal of this program is to establish the infrastructure for coordination, integration, and oversight of clinical/translational postgraduate educational and training opportunities throughout the entire Harvard University system.
Dr. Antman participates actively in American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) activities, locally, nationally, and internationally. He was the Chairman of the joint ACC/AHA Task Force on Practice Guidelines from January 2003 through December 2005. He continues his work with the Task Force as a member of several Writing Committees (STEMI [Writing Committee Chair], UA/NSTEMI]. From 2011-12, Dr. Antman chaired the AHA’s Committee on Scientific Sessions Programs and introduced the AHA’s Emerging Science Webinar Series. Dr. Antman is on the AHA’s National Board of Directors, chaired the AHA Science and Advisory Coordinating Committee and chaired the AHA Advocacy Coordinating Committee. He currently chairs the AHA Manuscript Oversight Committee, is chair of the AHA International Science and Programs Subcommittee of the International Committee, is Vice Chair of the AHA Nominating Committee, and is an ex officio member of the Science and Advisory Coordinating Committee, the Advocacy Coordinating Committee, and the AHA Executive Committee. He is the recipient of the Meritorious Achievement Award from the AHA (2006) and is the recipient of the James B. Herrick Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cardiology (Council on Clinical Cardiology)in 2010.
Dr. Antman is married to Dr. Karen Antman, who is the Dean of Boston University School of Medicine and Provost of the Boston University Medical Center.
Read Dr. Antmann's guest blog post, We Must Protect Our Kids: A Guest Post from the Past AHA President
Dr. Lawrence Appel
Dr. Lawrence Appel is the C. David Molina Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and International Health at Johns Hopkins. He is also the Director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, a joint program of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. The focus of Dr. Appel’s investigative career is the conduct of clinical, epidemiologic and translational research pertaining to the prevention of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease through nutrition and lifestyle modification.
To this end, he leads three complementary research programs:
ontrolled feeding trials that identify optimal diet (e.g. DASH, DASH-Sodium, OmniHeart, OmniCarb)
- behavioral intervention trials that test novel strategies to accomplish lifestyle modification, often focused on obesity (e.g. PREMIER, Weight Loss Maintenance, and POWER)
- trials and observational studies to understand risk factors for chronic kidney disease progression and its complications (e.g. AASK and CRIC)
He has a keen interest in research methods and has conducted a diverse array of studies, including cohort studies, clinical trials, and meta-analyses. A particularly notable feature of this research is the focus on chronic conditions and diseases that disproportionately afflict minorities and on interventions that have the potential to substantially reduce racial disparities. The site of his research is ProHealth, a community-based
Read Dr. Appell's guest blog post, The Science is Clear: Most Americans Need More Moderate Levels of Sodium clinical research unit that he directs.
Dr. Appel has been actively involved in health care policy. He was a member of the 2005 and 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Scientific Advisory Committees. For the American Heart Association (AHA), he has been a member (and past chair) of its Nutrition Committee for over 10 years. Currently, he is chair of the Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council of the AHA. He has also served on several Institute of Medicine Committees and chaired the committee that set dietary reference intakes for sodium, potassium and water. He has served on numerous advisory committees for the National Institutes of Health. In 2012, he was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). In 2015, he was elected a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP).
Sodium Reduction Team
More Americans are saying that their food is too salty. And, they want action. The American Heart Association is supporting a movement to reduce sodium across the country. You can help. The AHA Sodium Reduction Team wants to give you the information, strategies, and tools you need to take action and lead a healthier life. Our posts are written by a team of experts in science, healthy eating, communications, and policy. Join our growing community, take action, get helpful tips and Break Up with Salt today!