Caroline Apovian, M.D., is professor of medicine and pediatrics in the Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition at Boston University School of Medicine. She is also director of the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Apovian is a nationally and internationally recognized authority on nutrition and has been in the field of obesity and nutrition since 1990. Her current research interests are in adipose cell metabolism and inflammation, research in the bariatric surgery population, novel pharmacotherapeutic antiobesity agents, and weight loss and its effects on endothelial cell function. She is also an expert in the technique for subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsies and has been performing these biopsies on research subjects for more than 10 years. She was on the expert panel for updating the 2013 American Heart Association (AHA)/American College of Cardiology (ACC)/The Obesity Society (TOS) Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Dr. Apovian was a recipient of the Physician Nutrition Specialist Award from the American Society of Clinical Nutrition for her work on developing and providing nutrition education for medical students and physicians in training at Boston University School of Medicine. She has published more than 200 articles, chapters, and reviews on the topics of obesity, nutrition, and the relationship between adipose tissue and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Dr. Apovian wrote the books The Age-Defying Diet, The Overnight Diet, and The ALLI Diet Plan. She has given more than 100 invited lectures nationally and internationally and is president-elect of The Obesity Society for 2016–2017.
Captain Heidi Blanck, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H., is chief of the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. She has more than 17 years of CDC experience as a public health epidemiologist and has authored more than 100 papers and reports in the areas of weight management, nutrition, physical activity, and environmental exposures. She recently served as acting division director (2012–2013) and continues to provide leadership to the agency and department. Dr. Blanck oversees the CDC’s monitoring of state obesity prevalence and key behavioral, environmental, and policy supports for healthy eating and active living. Staff within the branch focus on national, state, and local surveillance, including the use of electronic health records, applied research, and guideline development with respect to the topics of body mass index and obesity-related behaviors. Dr. Blanck’s work focuses on changes in environments across multiple settings (i.e., child care, schools, medical care, and communities), with an emphasis on improving health equity. She is senior advisor to the CDC’s extramural Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network and is a senior member of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research. Dr. Blanck received her Ph.D. in nutrition and health sciences from Emory University, where she also holds an adjunct professor position.
Don Bradley, M.D., MHS-CL, is associate consulting professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Duke University and director for the Practical Playbook (www.practicalplaybook.org). He retired in 2014 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC), where he served in a number of roles, including executive director for BCBSNC’s federally qualified health maintenance organization and senior vice president, healthcare and chief medical officer. His accomplishments there included producing the company’s first primary care provider profiles/reports, implementing BCBSNC’s first fully transparent online medical policy, developing and successfully marketing the State of Preventive Health Summits, developing and implementing the country’s first bariatric surgery centers of excellence in collaboration with the American Society of Bariatric Surgery, developing an office-based endoscopy network (so members could obtain endoscopy services for an office copay rather than a deductible and coinsurance), creating BCBSNC’s Healthy Lifestyle Choices program (nutrition counseling benefits, coaching, and incentives for physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices), and leading the implementation of the patient-centered medical home program. Dr. Bradley continues his work as chair of the North Carolina Health Quality Alliance and as a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Board of Trustees.
Debbie Chang, M.P.H., is senior vice president of policy and prevention and a corporate officer for Nemours Children’s Health System, working to spread what works through national policy and practice changes to improve the health and well-being of children nationwide. She co-directs Moving Health Care Upstream, a national collaborative network for testing, developing, and spreading innovative population health strategies. Ms. Chang was founding executive director of Nemours Health and Prevention Services, an operating division devoted to using a comprehensive multisector, place-based model to improve children’s health in Delaware. She serves with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Children, Youth, and Families and Roundtables on Population Health and Improvement and Obesity Solutions; the National Center for Children in Poverty; the Winter Park Health Foundation Board; the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum; and the University of Michigan Griffith Leadership Center Board. Ms. Chang has more than 29 years of federal and state government and private-sector experience in the health field. She has held key government positions, including deputy secretary of health care financing at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with oversight for Maryland’s Medicaid program, and national director of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) when it was first implemented in 1997. Ms. Chang’s work on population health, child health systems transformation, Medicaid, SCHIP, and Nemours’s prevention-oriented health system (including its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Pioneering Innovation Award–winning statewide childhood obesity program) has been widely published. She holds a master’s degree in public health policy and administration from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Elyse Cohen, M.P.H., is director of the Health and Wellness Program at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center (CCC). In this role, she works with CCC’s business supporters to help create healthier communities around the world. She also serves as executive director of the Health Means Business campaign. Previously, she served as deputy director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. In this role, she supported the first lady’s mission to help America raise a healthier generation of children by making healthy choices easier for American families. Prior to working at the White House, Ms. Cohen spent more than a decade developing social marketing and health communication campaigns, addressing primarily food and nutrition, public–private partnerships, high-level stakeholder outreach, marketing, and social impact. Her work has focused on building thought leadership and guiding companies, nonprofits, and individuals on their social impact and external affairs agen-
das around food, health, and wellness. Ms. Cohen serves on the “Kitchen Cabinet” Young Leader Advisory Board of DC Central Kitchen and the Advisory Council of the Jewish Food Experience, a division of the Jewish Federation. She holds a B.S. in psychology with a concentration in nutrition from the University of Florida and a master’s in public health, with a focus on communication and marketing, from George Washington University.
William (Bill) H. Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., is consultant to the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions and director of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center on Prevention and Wellness at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University. He was director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion from 1997 to 2012. Prior to his appointment to the CDC, he was a professor of pediatrics at the Tuft’s University School of Medicine and director of clinical nutrition at the Floating Hospital of New England Medical Center Hospitals. Dr. Dietz has been a counselor and past president of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition and is past president of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. From 2001 to 2003, he served as a member of the Advisory Board to the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Diabetes of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Dr. Dietz received his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1966 and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. After completing his residency at Upstate Medical Center, he received a Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Dietz is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Christina Economos, Ph.D., is co-founder and director of ChildObesity180 and is professor and New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University. As the principal investigator of large-scale research studies, her goal is to inspire behavior, policy, and environmental change to reduce obesity and improve the health of America’s children. At ChildObesity180, Dr. Economos blends scientific evidence and rigor with innovation and experience from the private sector to develop, implement, evaluate, and scale high-impact obesity prevention initiatives. She led the groundbreaking Shape Up Somerville study, which demonstrated that it is possible to reduce excess weight gain in children through multiple leverage points within an entire community. Dr. Economos is involved in national obesity and public health activities and has served on several committees of the National Academies. In addition, she serves on the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health and has authored more than 130 scientific publications. Dr. Economos received a B.S. from Boston University,
an M.S. in applied physiology and nutrition from Columbia University, and a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry from Tufts University.
David D. Fukuzawa, M.Div., M.S.A., is managing director for health and interim managing director for human services at The Kresge Foundation. He has more than 20 years of experience in philanthropy, with a special focus on vulnerable children and youth. His experience as a youth worker and community organizer in Detroit and Chicago taught him that health and well-being are affected profoundly by the condition of the communities, schools, and environment in which people live. Those lessons have informed the efforts he has led to reenvision and redesign Kresge’s approach to health grantmaking. In 2002, he helped develop and then manage the Special Opportunities Initiative, which focused on building the capacity of high-impact organizations that reached underserved populations but were uncompetitive in the foundation’s historic bricks-and-mortar challenge program. From 1990 to 1999, Mr. Fukuzawa was a program officer at The Skillman Foundation in Detroit, where he focused on child and youth health. Mr. Fukuzawa was responsible for a major initiative to address the lack of safe and accessible out-of-school opportunities for Detroit youth, a major factor in the city’s high incidence of violence, delinquency, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy. He also helped develop Michigan’s first statewide childhood immunization registry. Prior to his career in philanthropy, Mr. Fukuzawa served as director of human needs at New Detroit, Inc. (NDI), where he was responsible for policy analysis and development, particularly in the areas of welfare reform and health care reform. He drafted NDI’s policy statement for health care reform and was NDI’s liaison to the Michigan Legislature regarding liability/tort reform and its effect on physicians in Detroit. He also administered a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant that established the first school-based health centers in the Detroit Public Schools. A Yale University graduate, Mr. Fukuzawa also holds an M.Div. degree from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and an M.S. in administration from Central Michigan University.
LuAnn Heinen, M.P.P., leads the National Business Group on Health’s initiatives on employee, family, and community well-being and workforce effectiveness. The National Business Group on Health is the nation’s only nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers’ perspectives on national health policy issues and helping companies optimize business performance through health improvement, innovation, and health care management. Ms. Heinen leads initiatives including the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles® recognition program; the Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-being, a source of thought leadership, benchmarking, and tactical support to large employers on their health
and well-being strategies, programs, and communications; and the Institute on Health, Productivity and Human Capital, a forum for employers to share innovations and best practices related to employee engagement, leave policy, the changing workscape, and links between employee health and business performance. Ms. Heinen currently serves on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Evidence-Based Practice Center Expert Panel on Total Worker Health and the STOP Obesity Alliance Steering Committee. She is a regular speaker, media commentator, and author. Ms. Heinen earned a master of public policy degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an A.B. in human biology with distinction from Stanford University.
Arnell Hinkle, M.A., R.D., M.P.H., CHES, is founding executive director of Communities, Adolescents, Nutrition, and Fitness (CANFIT), a nonprofit organization that provides training, technical assistance, coaching, and strategic consultation on nutrition, physical activity, and policy development and implementation for after-school providers and community-based organizations. Ms. Hinkle has experience working directly with African American, Latino, Southeast Asian, Filipino, and American Indian low-income communities throughout the nation. Currently, she serves as a Fulbright specialist and a technical assistance provider for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Fitness Initiative. Ms. Hinkle is a recipient of the 2003 Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader Award; a 2005 Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio, Italy, Study Center Fellowship; a 2008–2010 Food and Society Policy Fellowship; and a 2010 Ian Axford (New Zealand) Public Policy Fellowship. Prior to her work at CANFIT, Ms. Hinkle was a professional chef and organic farmer.
Becky Johnson, is a nationally recognized healthy lifestyle promotion, organizational management, and public relations expert. She currently serves as executive director of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), a broad-based not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help solve obesity—especially childhood obesity—by encouraging positive and permanent lifestyle changes among school-aged children and their families. At HWCF, Ms. Johnson manages the foundation’s annual budget, maintains and grows the organization’s membership revenue, oversees an annual school grants program, and manages a team of staff and consultants. She joined HWCF in 2009 as a founding staff member and has played an instrumental role in the development and expansion of the organization’s Together Counts™ healthy and active lifestyle school curriculum program, which has reached more than 38 million school students and their families with tools and information to help them achieve and maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle. She spearheaded the effort to expand the
foundation’s membership from 21 in 2009 to more than 300 corporate and nonprofit members today. Her project management and public affairs expertise was honed through multiple leadership positions in the federal government. Before coming to HWCF, she served as director of scheduling and senior advance representative for Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. Ms. Johnson earned a B.A. in political science, with a minor in public relations, from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.
Harold (Bill) Kohl III, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., FACSM, FNAK, is professor of epidemiology and kinesiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center–Houston School of Public Health and The University of Texas at Austin. At the School of Public Health, he also serves as associate regional dean for academic affairs and international health affairs. Previously, he served as lead epidemiologist and team leader in the Physical Activity and Health Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, and has worked since 1984 in the area of physical activity and health. He earned his doctorate in epidemiology and community health studies at The University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center School of Public Health and an M.S. in public health at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Kohl’s other areas of specialization are biostatistics and health promotion. His research interests include physical activity, exercise, fitness, sports medicine surveillance, and health. His recent efforts have focused on national and international physical activity surveillance and epidemiology issues, as well as program development and evaluation studies for the promotion of school-based physical activity for children and adolescents. Dr. Kohl initiated Active Texas 2020, a state physical activity plan for Texas. He has served as an elected trustee and is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology. He is the founder and past president of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health. He has served in an editorial capacity for several scientific journals; served as chair of an Institute of Medicine committee on physical activity and physical education in school-based settings; and is a past chair of the Science Board of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. He has produced numerous publications in the scientific literature and co-authored the textbook Foundations of Physical Activity and Public Health.
Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H., is vice president for global health at Emory University. He established and served as director of the Emory Global Health Institute from 2006 to 2013. A former director (1998–2002) and 26-year veteran of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Koplan began his public health career in the early 1970s as a member of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. He has played a key role in a
variety of domestic and global public health issues, from infectious diseases such as smallpox, SARS, and HIV/AIDS; to environmental issues such as the Bhopal chemical disaster; to the health tolls of tobacco, obesity, and chronic diseases. His work has included extensive international assignments in Bangladesh, India, and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as U.S.–Chinese bilateral projects, World Bank missions, and World Health Organization consultations. From 1993 to 1998, he was president of the Prudential Center for Health Care Research. Dr. Koplan is a master of the American College of Physicians and a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He is also a trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Permanente–Georgia, and the China Medical Board and a former trustee of Yale University. He chairs the Visiting Committee for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and serves on the Independent Monitoring Board for the Eradication of Polio. Dr. Koplan is a co-founder and former president of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes and principal investigator of the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance Network. He is the author of more than 240 scientific papers.
Anna Mercer-McLean, M.S., has been in the early childhood education field for more than 27 years. She is executive director of the five-star licensed North Carolina child care center Community School for People under Six in Carrboro. She has served on several national, state, and local early childhood boards, including the North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC). Her center is a current participant in the NCPC Shape the NC Collaborative Project. Also, she serves with the NC Institute for Child Development Professionals, the NC Tennis Association, the NC Pre-kindergarten Advisory Committee, and the Durham-Orange-Chatham (DOC) Association for the Education of Young Children.
Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., was nominated by President Barack Obama in November 2013 and confirmed on December 15, 2014, as the 19th U.S. Surgeon General. As Surgeon General, he is responsible for communicating the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal health and the health of the nation. He also oversees the operations of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, composed of approximately 6,700 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, protect, and advance the health and safety of the nation.
Dr. Murthy has devoted himself to improving public health through the lens of service, clinical care, research, education, and entrepreneurship. The son of immigrants from India, he discovered a love for the art of healing early in his childhood while spending time in his father’s medical clinic in Miami, Florida. After attending Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Dr.
Murthy received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale. After completing his residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, he joined the faculty as an internal medicine physician and instructor. As a clinician–educator, Dr. Murthy has cared for thousands of patients and trained hundreds of residents and medical students. He regards caring for patients as the greatest privilege of his life.
In addition to clinical practice, Dr. Murthy has two decades of experience in improving health in communities across the country and around the world. He co-founded and served as president of VISIONS, an HIV/AIDS education program in India and the United States, which he led for 8 years. As its president, he established 10 chapters with hundreds of volunteers in both countries and grew the organization’s education programs to reach more than 45,000 youth. He also co-founded the Swasthya project, a community health partnership in rural India, to train women to be health providers and educators. During his 5-year tenure with the organization, he established seed funding and helped expand research and direct care programs that reached tens of thousands of rural residents.
As a research scientist, Dr. Murthy has conducted laboratory research on vaccine development and studied the participation of women and minorities in clinical trials, and his research findings have been published in scientific journals. He is also a health care entrepreneur and innovator, having co-founded and chaired a successful software technology company, TrialNetworks, which improves research collaboration and enhances the efficiency of clinical trials around the world. In 7 years, Dr. Murthy and his team took the company from conception to an international enterprise that powers dozens of clinical trials for more than 50,000 patients in more than 75 countries. Dr. Murthy has also served as the president of Doctors for America, a nonprofit organization with more than 16,000 physicians and medical students in all 50 states who work with patients and policy makers working to build a high-quality, affordable health system for all.
As Surgeon General, Dr. Murthy has focused on building cross-sector partnerships in communities to address the epidemics of obesity and tobacco-related disease, to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, to improve vaccination rates, and to make prevention and health promotion the backbone of communities. Dr. Murthy firmly believes that the nation’s greatest strength has always come from its people. Strengthening our communities and the nation by improving the health of its people is his highest priority as surgeon general.
Barbara Picower, M.A., M.S., is president and chair of the board of directors of The JPB Foundation, whose mission is to enhance the quality of life in the United States through transformational initiatives that promote
the health of communities. JPB’s program areas include poverty, specifically in the areas of health and chronic disease, economic opportunity, and democracy; medical research involving collaborative consortiums of scientists investigating diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease and conducting brain research on learning and memory (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); and the environment, with a focus on enabling healthy and resilient communities. JPB’s values include an evidence-based approach focused on impact, intelligent risk taking, and addressing challenges of poverty at the root cause level. JPB pursues funding that is highly strategic by working with nonprofits and other funders to collaborate, coordinate, and leverage resources to achieve maximum impact. Ms. Picower also serves on the dean’s advisory board of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the National Academies’ Roundtable on Obesity Solutions, the board of directors of Living Cities, and the advisory board of the Bridgespan Institute. She earned her B.A. in political science from Hofstra University in 1964, and holds an M.A. in history and secondary education and an M.S. in nutrition, both from New York University.
Bill Purcell, J.D., is an attorney in Nashville, Tennessee, and an adjunct professor of public policy at Vanderbilt University. While he was serving as mayor of Nashville (1999 to 2007), his accomplishments as a civic leader earned him Public Official of the Year honors in 2006 from Governing magazine. Elected to five terms in the Tennessee House, he held the positions of majority leader and chair of the Select Committee on Children and Youth. After retiring from the General Assembly, Mr. Purcell founded and became director of the Child and Family Policy Center at the Vanderbilt University Institute of Public Policy Studies. From 2008 to 2010, he served as director of the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He was then appointed special advisor and co-chair of the Work Team for Allston in the Office of the President at Harvard University. He previously served in various capacities on obesity-related committees of the National Academies, including the Committee on an Evidence Framework for Obesity Prevention Decision Making (member), the Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, and the Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention (member). Mr. Purcell graduated from Hamilton College and Vanderbilt University School of Law.
James Sallis, Ph.D., is distinguished professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Sallis’s primary research interests are promoting physical activity and understanding policy and environmental influences on physical activity, nutrition, and obesity. He has made contributions in the areas of measurement, correlates of physical activity, intervention, and advocacy. Dr. Sallis’s health improve-
ment programs have been studied and used in health care settings, schools, universities, and companies. He is the author of more than 600 scientific publications, co-author of several books, and a member of the editorial boards of several journals. He is a frequent consultant to universities, health organizations, and corporations worldwide. Dr. Sallis was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2016. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Memphis State University.
David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician-scientist and public health administrator with an extensive track record of leadership, research, and community engagement. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College and holds M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Satcher served as the 16th U.S. surgeon general of the United States (1998–2002) and the 10th assistant secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1998–2001). He also served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Dr. Satcher has held top leadership positions at the Charles R. Drew University for Medicine and Science, Meharry Medical College, and the Morehouse School of Medicine. He has received more than 50 honorary degrees and has received numerous awards from diverse organizations and agencies. Currently, Dr. Satcher is founding director and senior advisor for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Marion Standish, J.D., joined The California Endowment (TCE) with an extensive legal and philanthropic background. As vice president, Enterprise Programs, she is responsible for managing resources that will support collaboration and alignment across all TCE departments. Ms. Standish leads multiple philanthropic partnerships, provides strategic guidance to impact investing activities, and works closely with TCE’s chief learning officer to achieve organizational goals. She serves as lead officer for TCE with the Partnership for a Healthier America, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, California’s Let’s Get Healthy effort, and the National Convergence Partnership. Previously, Ms. Standish was senior advisor to the president of TCE and director of Community Health, where she oversaw multiple grantmaking initiatives focused on transforming communities to reduce inequities and improve health. She played a key role in developing and implementing many TCE signature initiatives, including the Partnership for the Public’s Health, Community Action to Fight Asthma, and Healthy Eating Active Communities. Before joining TCE, she was founder and director of California Food Policy Advocates, a statewide nutrition and health research and advocacy organization focused on access to nutritious food for low-income families. Previously, she served as director of the Califor-
nia Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, a statewide advocacy organization focused on health, education, and labor issues facing farmworkers and the rural poor. Ms. Standish began her career as a staff attorney with California Rural Legal Assistance. She received her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, and both her M.A. and undergraduate degrees from New York University.
The Honorable Tom Vilsack, J.D., as leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under President Obama, worked to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities, and create new markets for the innovation of rural America. In more than 8 years at the department, Secretary Vilsack has worked to implement President Obama’s agenda to put Americans back to work and create an economy built to last. USDA has supported America’s farmers, ranchers, and growers who are driving the rural economy forward, provided food assistance to millions of Americans, carried out conservation efforts, made record investments in rural communities, and helped provide a safe, sufficient, and nutritious food supply for the American people.
The Obama administration and USDA have made historic investments in America’s rural communities, helping create ladders of opportunity for rural people and building thriving rural economies for the long term. As chair of the first White House Rural Council, Secretary Vilsack and USDA have taken steps to strengthen services for rural businesses and entrepreneurs by finding new ways to make the connection between the demand for investment in rural areas and the financial community. At the request of President Obama, Secretary Vilsack also led an interagency effort to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic, leveraging USDA’s unique relationship with rural America, where rates of opioid misuse and overdose are particularly high. During his tenure, USDA promoted American agriculture by conducting cutting-edge research and expanding markets at home and abroad. The past 8 years represent the strongest period for American agricultural exports in history. New trade agreements President Obama signed with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea and improved relations with Cuba will create even more export opportunities for American farmers and ranchers. Here at home, USDA has helped increase the number of farmers’ markets nationwide to more than 8,500 and made more than 900 investments in local food infrastructure.
Secretary Vilsack knows that conserving natural resources is critical to the long-term strength of the nation’s economy. That is why USDA has also enrolled a record number of private working lands in conservation programs and implemented new strategies for restoring the nation’s forests and cleaning its water supply. This work is creating private-sector jobs that involve protecting and rehabilitating forests and wetlands, and providing
increased opportunities for outdoor recreation, which supports 6.1 million direct jobs across the country. USDA’s Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry—the department’s framework for helping farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners respond to climate change—relies on voluntary, incentive-based conservation, forestry, and energy programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and expand renewable energy production in the agricultural and forestry sectors. Through this initiative, USDA is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon stored in forests and soils by more than 120 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2025, ensuring that agriculture and forestry play a significant role in helping the United States meet its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. USDA has also partnered with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to improve the health of America’s children. Secretary Vilsack helped pass and implement the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which resulted in the most significant improvements to school meals in 30 years. He has also led a comprehensive effort to improve the safety of the American food supply, implementing changes to food safety standards to prevent illness by reducing the prevalence of E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter in meat and poultry.
In addition, Secretary Vilsack has made civil rights a top priority, reaching historic resolutions to all major past cases of discrimination brought against USDA by minority groups, and taking definitive action to move USDA into a new era as a model employer and premier service provider.
Secretary Vilsack is the longest-serving member of President Obama’s original Cabinet. Prior to his appointment as secretary, he served as governor of Iowa, in the Iowa State Senate, and as mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was born into an orphanage and adopted in 1951. After graduating Hamilton College and Albany Law School in New York, he moved to Mt. Pleasant, his wife Christie’s hometown, where he practiced law.
Monica Hobbs Vinluan, J.D., is senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which she joined in 2015 as part of the childhood obesity team. Her work focuses on supporting policy strategies for helping children attain their optimal physical, social, and emotional development and well-being. Prior to joining the foundation, Ms. Vinluan directed YMCA of the USA’s Healthier Communities Initiatives, which catalyzed nearly 250 community- and state-level leadership teams to advance policies that allow people to make healthy choices where they live, work, learn, pray, and play. She has spent her career advocating for strategies that help individuals and communities live well, including policies related to physical activity, healthy eating, and health equity. She has served as a government
relations professional on a variety of health and well-being issues for 17 years and has been a professional advocate for health promotion issues for more than two decades. Her experience includes working for a U.S. senator and serving as a child and family advocate, a regulatory counsel, a legislative counsel, and a lobbyist. Ms. Vinluan completed her J.D. at the American University Washington College of Law and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Tech.
Ryan Shadrick Wilson, J.D., is chief strategy officer and general counsel of Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). She works with corporate executives, celebrities, health experts, government officials, and PHA’s leadership—including Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama—to develop innovative strategies for improving health in all communities and tackling the childhood obesity crisis. Ms. Wilson and her team have garnered commitments from more than 200 private-sector partners across a range of industries, including Mercedes Benz USA, Walmart, Nike, Reebok, and Subway. Notably, she led the development of FNV—a bold new campaign that has recruited more than 80 celebrities to help market fruits and vegetables with humor and the same tactics and swagger of the big brands viewed as hip and influential by today’s millennials. Ms. Wilson serves on numerous boards of directors. Prior to joining PHA, she counseled large food and agriculture companies and their trade associations on a range of issues at the international law firm Hogan Lovells. While there, she also maintained a pro bono practice, handling civil rights, political asylum, and death penalty cases. Ms. Wilson graduated with honors from both Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
David “Daithi (DAH-hee)” Wolfe, has been an early education policy analyst at the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families since 2007. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families is a multi-issue policy research and advocacy organization promoting statewide polices that ensure a safe and healthy future for every child in Wisconsin. Mr. Wolfe is co-chair of the Wisconsin Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative, an award-winning statewide coalition that works to improve nutrition and increase physical activity in child care settings. He is currently grant manager for the Farm to Early Care and Education Project, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Before becoming an early care and education advocate, Mr. Wolfe was a public elementary school teacher for 16 years. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a B.A. in American culture. He earned his teaching certificate at the Upper Valley Teacher Training Program in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
Jennifer Zuckerman, M.S., is director of strategic partnerships for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation. She leads the foundation’s efforts to make connections across grantees, philanthropy, industry, academia, and nongovernmental organizations at the local, state, and national levels. Previously, she served as senior program officer for Healthy Living, building a strategy for increasing access to safe active environments and healthy, locally sourced food for all North Carolinians, with a strong focus on early childhood development and food systems. She also worked at North Carolina State University’s Recreation Resources Service, where she helped parks and recreation agencies across the state develop partnerships for the benefit of community health. Ms. Zuckerman has worked with a variety of North Carolina nonprofits, including the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, Special Olympics North Carolina, and North Carolina Amateur Sports. She currently serves as vice-chair of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems Advisory Board and is a member of the Duke University World Food Policy Center Advisory Board and the National Academies’ Early Care and Education Innovation Collaborative. Ms. Zuckerman has also served on the Steering Committee for the North Carolina Institute of Medicine Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Task Force and the Statewide Prevention Task Force. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from North Carolina State University in parks, recreation, and tourism management.
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