ABOM Masters

Master of the American Board of Obesity Medicine

Criteria: A physician that has made significant contributions to the science, practice and/or advancement of obesity medicine and obesity treatment.

Nomination: Any member of the American Board of Obesity Medicine Board of Directors can make a nomination.

Selection: The nominations will be voted on by the entire American Board of Obesity Medicine Board of Directors.

Award: The selected individual(s) will be presented with a recognition plaque and an award of $1000. Travel expenses will be reimbursed for the individual(s) to attend the awards ceremony.


The 2013 recipients of the Master of the American Board of Obesity Medicine recognition award: Dr. George L. Blackburn and Dr. George A. Bray.

Dr. George L. Blackburn

At Harvard Medical School, I am the first incumbent S. Daniel Abraham Chair, a Professor of Surgery, and the Associate Director of Nutrition in the Division of Nutrition. At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Surgery, I am Chief of the Nutrition/Metabolism Laboratory and Director of the Center for the Study of Nutrition Medicine (CSNM). I also serve as Associate Director of the Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center (BNORC), an NIH-funded research organization that conducts clinical trials in the areas of obesity and nutrition.

Teaching: At the start of my academic career at Harvard Medical School, there were no nutrition courses. Students weren’t even taught how to use nutrition medicine to treat malnourished hospital patients. Following my surgical residency, Dr. William McDermott arranged an NIH fellowship in Nutritional Biochemistry at the Unit of Experimental Medicine, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, School of Science at MIT. This training enabled me to develop the first nutrition support service, recruit faculty, and establish nutrition fellowships at Boston City Hospital and The New England Deaconess Hospital—an infrastructure that made it possible to bring nutrition education to HMS students. Launching this new field not only required writing textbooks and developing an evidence-based curriculum, but also the founding of professional societies.

For the past 25 years, I’ve been the course director of the Harvard Medical School CME program, International Conference on Practical Approaches to the Treatment of Obesity. I also have directed another CME, Enhancing the Safety of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. These positions give me unprecedented opportunities to be at the forefront of translational medicine, scholarship, mentorship, and education in surgical/medical metabolism and obesity medicine and research.

As Associate Director of the Division of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School, I take an active role in the development of curriculum and the tutoring of our medical students. Early in my career, I taught surgical residents and fellows, and delivered lectures for the Surgery Core Clerkship. Recently, I participated in the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) for second and fourth year medical students. I also continue to provide our minimally invasive surgery fellows with guidance on their research projects.

Achievements: Among other accomplishments, I’ve pioneered the practice of nutrition support; performed the first Roux-en-Y procedure in New England; spearheaded best practice standards for weight loss surgery; designed lifestyle interventions for NIH-funded trials; and developed new methodologies, applications, techniques, and technologies in the fields of surgical malnutrition, breast cancer research, nutrition medicine, surgical metabolism, and weight loss surgery.

Research: My research spans the full range of scientific endeavors on healthy living and the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity and their related comorbidities. It includes the role of fatty acids and proteins on energy biochemistry, the nutrient effects of bioactive components on cellular and molecular function, and the metabolic correlates of weight loss following surgical treatment of obesity. Multidisciplinary collaborations and the dissemination of best practices in both surgical and nonsurgical interventions for the treatment of obesity and obesity-related diseases are ongoing priorities, as are two novel collaborations that bring together neurocognitive science and the science of exercise and eating behavior. We’re studying the neurocognitive correlates of diet and physical activity patterns in lean and obese subjects with the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation. The work is progressing. This is leading-edge research—the first to demonstrate a link between variations in healthy eating, brain structure, and cognitive processes. Our findings suggest the need for novel and specific neurocognitive resources to translate nutrition advice into healthy dietary behaviors at the individual level.

Summary: My work involves basic, clinical, and translational research in areas of critical importance to public health. It has resulted in over 400 publications in peer-reviewed journals; many review articles, over 100 textbook chapters, multiple patents, and a mass market book published by Harper Collins in 2007. It has also led to an array of prestigious awards. More importantly, it has a direct impact on patient safety and quality of care across a wide range of disciplines. It shapes public policy, produces evidence-based guidelines, and propagates their application in clinical practice throughout the United States and around the world.

Dr. George A. Bray

After completing his undergraduate work at Brown University in Providence Rhode Island where he graduated summa cum laude in 1953, Dr. Bray entered Harvard Medical School where he graduated magna cum laude in 1957. His internship on the Osler Service of The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD was followed by a Research Associateship at NIH. After completing his training in internal medicine and endocrinology residency at the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY, Dr. Bray spent a year at the National Institute for Medical Research in London followed by further training in endocrinology at the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston. In 1970, after 8 year in Boston, Bray accepted a position as Director of the Clinical Research Center at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center. He organized the First Fogarty International Center Conference on Obesity in 1972 and Chaired the Second International Congress on Obesity held in Washington DC in 1977.

In 1989 Dr. Bray became the first Executive Director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He oversaw the growth of the facility from 25 employees and a million dollar budget to a flourishing research center with over 70 scientists, 350 employees and an annual budget of nearly $ 20 million.

Dr. Bray is now a Boyd (University) Professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Professor of Medicine at the Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans. He is Principal Investigator for the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study and the Look AHEAD study, 2 multi-center NIH-funded clinical trials. He is a Master in the American College of Physicians and a Master of the American College of Endocrinology. He is a member of numerous professional societies including The Obesity Society, The Endocrine Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Physiological Society. In 1982 he founded the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO now The Obesity Society), and he was the founding editor of Obesity Research, as well as co-founder of the International Journal of Obesity and the founding editor of Endocrine Practice.