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Steering Committee (SC)

Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, FACP
Larry Cheskin
JHGCCO Rapid Response Pilot Study Core (RRPC) Director; JHGCCO Finance and Development Committee (FDC) Chair
Home Institution: Johns Hopkins University
Phone: 410-502-0145

Dr. Lawrence J. Cheskin is the founder and Director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center (JHWMC). Dr. Cheskin is an Associate Professor of Health, Behavior & Society, with joint appointments in the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and in Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is also former director of the Gastroenterology Division at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Dr. Cheskin is the principal investigator on several research grants and is a frequent contributor to research and popular articles on weight management.

Layla Elise Esposito, PhD
Layla Esposito
JHGCCO-SC Co-chair; NIH/NICHD scientist
Home Institution: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Phone: 301-435-6888

Dr. Layla Esposito is a Program Director in two branches of the Center for Research for Mothers and Children. In the Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Growth (ENG) Branch, she oversees a portfolio of research on childhood obesity.  In the Child Development and Behavior (CDB) Branch, her portfolio includes research on social and affective development in children and adolescents, as well as research on the health benefits of human-animal interaction. Dr. Esposito completed her PhD in Social Psychology and Master's degree in Clinical Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to her position at NICHD, Dr. Esposito was a science policy fellow with the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. Her prior research and clinical work focused on peer victimization, aggression, psychosocial functioning and adjustment in children, and child psychopathology.

Joel Gittelsohn, PhD, MSc
Joel Gittelsohn
JHGCCO Project 2 Director; JHGCCO Communication Committee (CC) Chair
Home Institution: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Phone: 410-955-3922

Dr. Joel Gittelsohn is a Professor in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Gittelsohn is a medical anthropologist who has integrated qualitative and quantitative approaches to better understand culture-based beliefs and behaviors regarding dietary patterns, and how these factors have influences the success or failure of dietary and lifestyle modification strategies. He has applied these methods and interventions for the prevention of obesity and diabetes among different indigenous and ethnic groups, to nutrient deficiencies of Nepalese children and women, and to improve infant feeding in diverse settings (The Gambia; Hartford; Peru). Dr. Gittelsohn is one of the country's leading researchers in the design and evaluation of food store-based interventions to increase access and point of purchase promotions for healthier eating. He is the architect of the Baltimore Healthy Stores project, and similar projects in the Marshall Islands, on Apache and Navajo reservations, and with First Nations (an indigenous Canadian population). These projects work to provide culturally acceptable healthy options in small food stores, which typically have little selection.

Thomas A. Glass, PhD
Tom Glass
JHGCCO Project 1 Director; Education & Training Core Co-Director
Home Institute: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Department of Epidemiology
Phone: 443-287-4832

Dr. Glass is a professor at the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Glass is a social epidemiologist with broad interests in the role of social and behavioral factors in population health. He has conducted research on social support, social networks and social engagement and how they impact health and functioning in older adults. He has conducted intervention studies in older adults to improve functioning. He is working to develop and test a new real-time data acquisition system to measure social, physical, and cognitive function using sensors. His other recent work explores the characteristics of the built and social environments and how they impact a variety of health outcomes including obesity. He is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity Project 1 and the Co-Director of the Education and Training Core.  He also directs the Baltimore Neighborhood Research Consortium for the advancement of neighborhood research in the Baltimore area.

Gilman Grave, MD
Gilman Grave
National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Program Official
Home Institution: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Phone: 301-496-5593

Dr. Gilman Grave is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, having completed an internship and residency in this field at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Since 1985, Dr. Grave has served as Chief of the Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Growth Branch (ENGB) which supports basic and clinical research on developmental endocrinology, nutrition, and growth of infants and children, within the NICHD. Dr. Grave leads a large research program on the childhood origins of adult diseases such as obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis.

Tak Igusa, PhD
Tak Igusa
Education and Training Core Director
Home Institute: Johns Hopkins University
Department of Civil Engineering
Phone: 410-516-6650

Dr. Igusa is a professor at the Department of Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He is also the Founding Director for Education and Research of the Johns Hopkins Systems Institute, as well as Director of the Education and Training Core at Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity. He received an AB in Applied Mathematics from Harvard and a PhD in Civil Engineering from Berkeley and was on the faculty at Northwestern University before returning to Baltimore in 1999 as a professor at Johns Hopkins. His research interests are in the application of mathematical modeling to understanding systems in public health, civil infrastructure, and medicine. His interests also include system dynamics modeling, agent-based modeling, modeling frameworks for predicting the onset of chronic disorders, systems modeling of the causes of obesity and non-communicable diseases, community resilience, structural dynamics, acoustics, and applications of statistics and probability theory to problems in civil and mechanical engineering, and more recently in atmospheric science.

Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH
Shiriki Kumanyika
JHGCCO Scientific Advisory Committee Chair; Rapid Response Pilot Core Co-Director
Home Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and Department of Pediatrics,
Phone: 215-898-2629

Dr. Kumanyika has an interdisciplinary background and holds advanced degrees in social work, nutrition, and public health. She is a professor of epidemiology (Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and Department of Pediatrics), and the Associate Dean for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine. Her research focuses on identifying effective strategies to reduce nutrition-related chronic disease risks. She has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on several multi-center and single-center randomized clinical trials or observational studies related to salt intake, other aspects of diet, or obesity. Many of her studies have evaluated interventions to promote healthy eating and physical activity in African American children or adults in clinical or community-based settings. In 2002, she founded the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN) (, a national network that seeks to improve the quantity, quality, and effective translation of research on weight issues in African American communities. Dr. Kumanyika is also currently engaged in research collaborations that involve the use of systems science approaches to study complex public health problems. Her current research is funded by the NIH, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Aetna Foundation. 

Dr. Kumanyika is Co-Chair of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention and of the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), and she is a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Advisory Panel on Nutrition.

Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA
Bruce Lee
Home Institution: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Phone: 443-287-6705

Dr. Lee recently joined the Department of International Health and is the Director of Operations Research at the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  His research focuses on public health operations, including developing economic and operational models that help decision makers tackle a variety of problems of global importance.
Previously, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where he founded and directs the Public Health and Infectious Diseases Computational and Operations Research (PHICOR), which is now headquartered at Johns Hopkins.  He is the Scientific Lead for the HERMES Project and the RHEA Project. His funding has included grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
His previous positions include serving as Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational where he led teams that developed economic and operational models for a variety of clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding Integrigen, a biotechnology/bioinformatics company.
Dr. Lee has authored over 150 scientific publications (including over 80 first author and over 35 last author) as well as three books: Principles and Practice of Clinical Trial Medicine, What If? Survival Guide for Physicians, and Medical Notes: Clinical Medicine Pocket Guide. He is an Associate Editor for the journal Vaccine and Area Series Editor for the Wiley Series on Modeling and Simulation. He and his work have garnered attention in leading media outlets such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Businessweek, U.S. News and World Report, Nature Medicine, and National Public Radio (NPR). Dr. Lee received his B.A. from Harvard University, M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, having completed his residency training at the University of California, San Diego.

Patricia L. Mabry, PhD
Patty Mabry
Home Institution:National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)
Phone: 301-402-1753

Dr. Mabry is Senior Advisor in the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she is facilitating the emergence of a new field that integrates systems science with health-related behavioral and social science research. Dr. Mabry has led the issuance of funding opportunity announcements in systems science, including PAR-11-314/PAR-11-315 Systems Science and Health in the Behavioral and Social Sciences. She co-leads an annual training course, the Institute on Systems Science and Health. She co-leads Envision, a network of computational modeling teams focused on policy interventions to combat obesity. Dr. Mabry has published on tobacco control, interdisciplinary research, and systems science in The Lancet, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, the American Journal of Public Health, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and PLoS Computational Biology.  She is a Guest Editor of a special issue Health Education and Behavior entitled, Systems Science Applications in Health Promotion and Public Health, which is scheduled for publication in mid-to-late 2013. She was a member of the team that received the Applied Systems Thinking Prize in 2008, and is a fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Read her full biography.  

Ann Yelmokas McDermott, PhD
Ann McDermott

JHGCCO Assistant Director; JHGCCO Communication Committee (CC) Co-Chair
Home Institution: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Phone: 443-287-2705

Dr. Ann McDermott is the Assistant Director of the Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity. Dr. McDermott's training background includes a PhD in Nutrition Science from Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy, a fellowship in Obesity Science and Genetics from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, an MS in Athletic Training from Northeastern University, and a BS in Education from Boston University; and she is a Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN). Her research interests include an array of research projects with diverse populations - clinical nutrition and exercise interventions, community-based interventions, large-scale longitudinal cohort work, and community needs assessments and policy work. Prior to arriving at Johns Hopkins, Dr. McDermott served as the first Obesity Research Director at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo, CA) and as Associate Professor in Kinesiology. She developed a successful university-wide, interdisciplinary translational research center with the mission to promote healthy weight across the lifespan.