MEET THE ABOM MASTER RECIPIENTS

The Master of the American Board of Obesity Medicine award recognizes physicians that have made significant contributions to the science, practice and/or advancement of obesity medicine.

  • Dr. William Dietz
    Dr. William Dietz
    2015 Recipient
Dr. William Dietz
2015 Recipient

Dr. William H. Dietz, M.D, PhD., is the Director of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. From 1997-2012 he was the Director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity in the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC. 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 received his BA from Wesleyan University in 1966 and his MD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. After the completion of his residency at Upstate Medical Center, he received a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a councilor and past president of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, and past president of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity.

From 2001-2003 he served as a member of the Advisory Board to the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Diabetes of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

In 1995 he received the John Stalker award from the American School Food Service Association for his efforts to improve the school lunch. Dr. Dietz served on the 1995 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. In 1997, Dr. Dietz received the Brock Medal of Excellence in Pediatrics from the New York Academy of Medicine. In 1998, Dr. Dietz was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2000, he received the William G. Anderson Award from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and was recognized for excellence in his work and advocacy by the Association of State and Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors.

In 2002, he was made an honorary member of the American Dietetic Association, and received the Holroyd-Sherry award for his outstanding contributions to the field of children, adolescents and the media. In 2005 he received the George Bray Founders Award from the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. In 2006, he received the Nutrition Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding research related to nutrition of infants and children. In 2008 he received the Oded Bar-Or award from the Obesity Society for excellence in pediatric obesity research. In 2012, Dr. Dietz received a Special Recognition Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics Provisional Section on Obesity, and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

He is the author of over 200 publications in the scientific literature, and the editor of five books, including Clinical Obesity in Adults and Children, and Nutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know.

  • Dr. Walter Pories
    Dr. Walter Pories
    2014 Recipient
Dr. Walter Pories
2014 Recipient

Walter J. Pories, MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery, Biochemistry and Kinesiology at East Carolina University, is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and received his MD with Honor at the University of Rochester where he also completed his surgical training in general and cardio-thoracic surgery. He served on the faculties of the University of Rochester, Case Western Reserve until 1977 when he became the founding Chairman of Surgery at East Carolina University, a position he held for 19 years. He is currently the Director of the Metabolic Surgery Research Group.

Dr. Pories major clinical interests have been in nutrition, pediatric and bariatric surgery. His research interests included the discovery that zinc is an essential element and required for wound healing, the development of animal feeds and the addition of trace elements to parenteral and alimentary formulations. He was the first to describe the use of suction to promote wound healing and the first to perform a cysterna-chili/vena cava anastomosis for congenital absence of the thoracic duct. He was also the first to delineate the full and durable remission of type 2 diabetes following the gastric bypass. He is currently a Principal Investigator for the NIH/NIDDK study, the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery as well as other supported by the NIH and industry.

Dr. Pories has served as the President of the Society for Geochemistry and Environmental Health, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the Association of Program Directors of Surgery, the North Carolina Medical Board, the Surgical Review Corporation, the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and as the editor-in-chief or associate and editor on a number of journals. He is the recipient of a number of research honors, including the Goldwater Award in Nutrition, the McGovern Award, the ECU Lifetime Research Achievement Award and the O.Max Joyner Award among others. He retired from the US Army with the rank of Colonel after 24 years of service with a Legion of Merit and a Presidential Citation for the performance of the regiment under his command in the first Gulf War.

  • Dr. Donna Ryan
    Dr. Donna Ryan
    2014 Recipient
Dr. Donna Ryan
2014 Recipient

Donna H. Ryan, MD is Professor Emeritus at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She served as Associate Executive Director at Pennington Biomedical for 34 years where she was active in research, teaching and administration. Her research accomplishments include landmark studies of omega 3 fatty acids, and membership on the teams that developed the NIH-sponsored feeding studies, DELTA (Dietary Effects on Lipoproteins and Thrombosis in Atherosclerosis) and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Dr. Ryan was an Investigator on NIH multicenter lifestyle intervention studies DPP (Diabetes Prevention Program) and POUNDS Lost and the Look AHEAD study. Dr. Ryan worked with the Louisiana Office of Group Benefits to conduct LOSS (Louisiana Obese Subjects Study), a pragmatic clinical trial of intensive medical therapy for severe obesity conducted in six Louisiana primary care clinics. This work continues in a translational phase as HEADS UP!. Dr. Ryan was PI of a Military Nutrition Grant from 1988-2011 to develop improvements to soldier readiness, nutrition and health.

Dr. Ryan maintained contact with patients throughout her career and continues to participate in the cohorts involving long-term care of patients with obesity using behavioral, dietary, pharmacologic and surgical approaches. She is an active participant in continuing medical education efforts for primary care physicians and her interest in these activities is communicating findings from the laboratory to inform clinical practice and especially primary care practices.

Dr. Ryan served as co-Chair the panel to revise the NIH-supported evidence-based Guidelines on the Evaluation and Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Dr. Ryan is past President of The Obesity Society. She is currently Associate Editor in Chief of the journal, Obesity. Her scholarly activities include authorship of more than 190 original publications and 45 books, chapters and reviews, primarily in the field of obesity. Dr. Ryan has served the scientific community as a reviewer and advisor in many capacities including the following: NSF Medical R&D Expenditures Workshop 2006; National Dairy Council Review Team for Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 2006; Chair, Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), NIH Grant, “Safety and Efficacy of Low and High Carbohydrate Diets,” 2002-2008, Member DSMB for EARLY Studies 2010- present and reviewer for European Union Innovative Medicines Initiative, 2011 and 2012. Dr. Ryan has served as a scientific advisor and/or consultant to Abbott, Knoll, Procter and Gamble, Novartis, TAP Pharmaceuticals, Slim Fast, Solvay, Weight Watchers, Alere Wellbeing, Nutrisystem, Vivus, Arena, Sanofi-Aventis, Ajinomoto, Merck, Takeda, Vivus, Eisai, Arena, Novo-Nordisk, Janssen and Scientific Intake.

  • Dr. George Blackburn
    Dr. George Blackburn
    2013 Recipient
Dr. George Blackburn
2013 Recipient

At Harvard Medical School, Dr. Blackburn is 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, he is Chief of the Nutrition/Metabolism Laboratory and Director of the Center for the Study of Nutrition Medicine (CSNM). Dr. Blackburn also serves 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.

At the start of Dr. Blackburn’s 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 Dr. Blackburn’s 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 Dr. Blackburn 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 Harvard Medical School 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, Dr. Blackburn has been the course director of the Harvard Medical School CME program, International Conference on Practical Approaches to the Treatment of Obesity. He also directed another CME, Enhancing the Safety of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. These positions gave Dr. Blackburn unprecedented opportunities to be at the forefront of translational medicine, scholarship, mentorship, and education in surgical/medical metabolism and obesity medicine and research.

Among other accomplishments, Dr. Blackburn 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.

Dr. Blackburn’s 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 for Dr. Blackburn, as are two novel collaborations that bring together neurocognitive science and the science of exercise and eating behavior.

Currently, Dr. Blackburn is studying the neurocognitive correlates of diet and physical activity patterns in lean and obese subjects with the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation. This is leading-edge research—the first to demonstrate a link between variations in healthy eating, brain structure, and cognitive processes. Initial findings suggest the need for novel and specific neurocognitive resources to translate nutrition advice into healthy dietary behaviors at the individual level.

In summary, Dr. Blackburn’s 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 Bray
    Dr. George Bray
    2013 Recipient
Dr. George Bray
2013 Recipient

After completing his undergraduate work at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island where he graduated summa cum laude in 1953, Dr. George 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.

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