Speakers

Emily Engelhard

Bio

Emily Engelhard is the Managing Director of Thought Leadership at Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization. In this role, Emily sets the strategic direction and vision for translating and disseminating research insights to drive action and guide evidence-based solutions. She is also responsible for Feeding America’s external research partnerships and thought leadership investments to guide and advance research on food insecurity, poverty, and related social and public health matters. Emily holds a master’s degree in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago where she specialized in urban sociology and poverty studies.

Sharon Donovan

Bio

Dr. Donovan received her PhD in Nutrition at the University of California, Davis and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford. She served as Director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences between 1999 and 2009 and Director of the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program from 2012-2018. She teaches nutrition to undergraduate, graduate and medical students, has ~200 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and receives grant support from the NIH, USDA, foundations and the food industry.

Gail Ferguson

Bio

Dr. Gail Ferguson is an incoming Associate Professor at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, and an outgoing faculty affiliate of the Family Resiliency Center, University of Illinois. She studies the impact of modern globalization on identity, health, and adolescent-parent relationships globally. Dr. Ferguson now leads a transdisciplinary team (acculturation, media literacy, nutrition) in addressing unhealthy eating linked to the “Americanization” of some families in the Caribbean through a process called remote acculturation. 

Kristen Harrison

Bio

Kristen Harrison is a media psychologist who has studied mass media effects on children and adolescents since 1992. Harrison is known for research on the relationship between child and adolescent media exposure and health outcomes related to food, nutrition, body image, disordered eating, and obesity. Professor Harrison was a co-founder of the University of Illinois STRONG Kids Program, a transdisciplinary research initiative engaged with media, marketing, and family predictors of childhood obesity within home, community, and cultural contexts. 

Brent McBride

Bio

Dr. McBride is the Director of the Child Development Laboratory and a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. He also holds an appointment in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. His research interests include university-based laboratory schools as a context for child development research, the role of child care contexts on childhood obesity and nutritional status, the role of fathers in food-related parenting, and the antecedents and consequences of father involvement.  

Mary Ann McCabe

Bio

Mary Ann McCabe, Ph.D., ABPP is Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Affiliate Faculty in Applied Developmental Psychology at George Mason University. Dr. McCabe is a member of the National Academies Forum on Children’s Wellbeing. Previously, Dr. McCabe was Director of the Office for Policy and Communications for the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and Director of Health Psychology at Children’s National Medical Center. 

Alison Miller

Dr. Alison Miller is a developmental psychologist who studies child bio-behavioral regulation, family processes, and social-contextual factors related to child health outcomes. She is currently an associate professor of Health Behavior & Health Education at the University of Michigan. Her goal is to apply findings from developmental science to foster positive child health and mental health outcomes. She works with children at risk for unhealthy outcomes for reasons including maternal incarceration, poverty, and living in high-violence neighborhoods. 

Michelle Nelson

Bio

Dr. Michelle Nelson is professor of Advertising at the University of Illinois. Nelson studies and teaches advertising and consumer research. Nelson’s current research and public engagement endeavors focus on advertising/media literacy. Nelson has a continued research interest and fascination with new technology, branding, and media. She is pursuing research with a team of students and faculty related to virtual reality mediated experiences.

Norma Olvera

Bio

Dr. Norma Olvera is a Professor in the Department of Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences in the College of Education at the University of Houston. She is the Obesity Society Fellow, Founder and Executive Director of the "Behavior Opportunities Uniting Nutrition, Counseling, and Exercise" (BOUNCE) program. Dr. Olvera has launched several Latino health initiatives and received numerous awards, focusing on prevention and treatment of childhood obesity, and promoting a healthy lifestyle in Latino and African American families. 

Rafael Pérez-Escamilla

Bio

Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., is Professor of Public Health, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and Director of the Global Health Concentration at the Yale School of Public Health. His global research program has led to improvements in breastfeeding programs, iron deficiency among infants, household food security policies, and maternal, infant and young child nutrition counseling programs. He has advised the United Nations, governments and philanthropic organizations.  

Eliana M. Perrin

Bio

Eliana M. Perrin, MD, MPH, graduated Swarthmore College, University of Rochester School of Medicine, and Stanford Pediatrics residency and completed the RWJF Clinical Scholars fellowship at UNC-Chapel Hill, her MPH, ultimately became a tenured professor of pediatrics and served as an Associate Vice Chancellor for Research. In 2017, after 16 years on faculty at UNC, she transferred to Duke University to be Division Chief of Primary Care and Director of the new Duke Center for Childhood Obesity Research. Her research expertise is patient-oriented prevention, pediatric obesity, and health disparities.  

Elissa Bassler

Bio

Elissa Bassler joined the Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI) in 2001 as its Executive Director and has established the organization as a leader in policy development and advocacy, training and technical assistance, promotion of data and health information technology, policy and systems research, and health improvement planning.  In addition to serving as CEO, Bassler also serves as the Executive Director of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity (IAPO), a statewide, multi-sector coalition of more than 100 partners that is managed and convened by IPHI.  Prior to joining IPHI 18 years ago, Bassler was the public policy director at the Day Care Action Council of Illinois (now Illinois Action for Children), Executive Director of the Coalition for New Priorities and Executive Director of the Chicago Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.   

Susan Johnson

Bio

Susan Johnson, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She has published on nutrition issues including the development of children’s eating behaviors, maternal feeding behaviors, childhood obesity, studies regarding ethnic differences (NonHispanic White and Hispanic) in infant and child obesity and self regulation, and comparison of nutritional intake differences in ASD and typically developing children. Current grant support includes feeding practices of parents and child care professionals and maternal-infant interactions during the transition to foods of the family table.

Tamara Hannon

Bio

Dr. Hannon is a pediatric endocrinologist with specific training and expertise in patient-oriented clinical research, health services research, and patient engagement in research and clinical care. She is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Director of the Pediatric Diabetes Program and the Youth Diabetes Prevention Clinic at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. She is currently an investigator on multiple projects that aim to improve patient and community engagement in strategies to prevent or treat diabetes.