New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center | Meet the Team

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Childhood obesity is a complex condition, one which requires a comprehensive team of individuals to properly treat.

The New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children's Hospital relies on the expertise, experience and hard work of many specialists, including physicians, dietitians, nurses, psychologists and social workers. These specialists, all from Boston Children’s, have devoted their professional lives to understanding and treating childhood obesity, and to working with parents, community leaders and lawmakers to promote the health of children throughout the country.




  • Gloria Klein, RD (Study Director, Framingham State Food Study)
  • Julia Wong, PhD, RD (Associate Study Director, Framingham State Food Study)
  • Bridget Hron, MD
  • Belinda Lennerz, MD PhD
  • Lisa Bielak, RD, LDN (Nutrition Research Manager, Framingham State Food Study)
  • Megan Sandman, MS, RD, LDN (Nutrition Research Coordinator, Framingham State Food Study)
  • Courtenay Devlin, MS (Research Study Coordinator)
  • Linda Seger-Shippee (Research Study Coordinator)
  • Sarah Steltz, MPH (Clinical Research Specialist)
  • Rachel Apone (Research Assistant)
  • Jillian Fergione (Research Assistant)
  • Meghan Leary (Research Assistant)
  • Annie Nero (Research Assistant)
  • Adrienne Salisbury (Research Assistant)
  • Rachael Sharpe (Research Assistant)

Patient Care


  • Amy Fleischman, MD, MMSc (Director, Optimal Weight for Life)
  • Melissa Crocker, MD (Director, Type 2 Diabetes Program)
  • Maryanne Lewis, MSN, PNP-BC
  • Robert Markowitz, MD
  • Erinn Rhodes, MD, MPH

Clinical Nutrition

  • Kelsea Forrester, RD, LDN
  • Leslie Mattimore, MS, RD, LDN (Lead Dietitian, Optimal Weight for Life)
  • Suzanne Rostler, MS, RD, LDN
  • Sharon Weston, MS, RD, LDN

Behavioral Medicine

  • Lori Fishman, PsyD
  • Amanda Rauf, PsyD
  • Abigail Seibert, PhD (Lead Behavioral Medicine Provider, Optimal Weight for Life)

Community Programs

  • Steven Coletti, BA (OWL Resource Specialist)
  • Kelsea Forrester, RD, LDN (Program Coordinator, OWL Exercise Programs)
  • Maria Swartz, MPH (FitKit Project Coordinator)

Administrative Staff

  • Tessa Graham, Program Coordinator
  • Joyceanna Fidalgo, Ambulatory Clinic Supervisor, Optimal Weight for Life Program 
  • Leona (Adrienne Stephanie) Ponce, Program Coordinator II, Optimal Weight for Life Program


David LudwigDavid S. Ludwig, MD, PhD
In 1996, David Ludwig developed the Boston Children’s Hospital Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Program–a multidisciplinary care clinic dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of children who are overweight or obese. The program provides state-of-the-art care for overweight and obese children and serves as a setting for research to develop innovative treatments for pediatric obesity.  In 2010, he launched the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children's Hospital to integrate research, clinical care, teaching and community outreach. Dr. Ludwig has been principal investigator on numerous studies aiming to identify dietary factors that contribute to obesity.  He holds a mid-career mentoring award from the National Institutes of Health, has published over 100 scientific articles and lectures widely throughout the country and overseas. Research from Dr. Ludwig’s team has shown that:

  • A low-glycemic load diet is more effective than the conventional reduced-fat diet for weight loss and cardiovascular disease prevention.
  • The right diet can reset the so-called “body weight set point,” making weight loss easier.
  • Individuals respond to diet based on fundamental biological differences, and these differences can help inform a “personalized” approach to weight loss.
  • Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption causes excessive weight gain in children.
  • Fast-food consumption increases risk for obesity and diabetes in youth.
  • The obesity epidemic may shorten life expectancy in the US by mid-century, unless preventive measures are taken.

David Ludwig is Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. He received an MD and PhD from Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Boston Children's Hospital.


Associate Director

Cara E.Cara Ebbeling, PhD
Dr. Ebbeling holds advanced degrees in nutrition (PhD, University of Connecticut, 1997) and exercise science (MS, University of Massachusetts, 1988) and is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She has successfully designed, implemented and evaluated lifestyle interventions in free-living children, adolescents and adults. She also has experience in behavioral counseling for promoting dietary change, using self-report methodology to assess diet and physical activity, conducting controlled feeding studies, and applying telehealth to interventions for pediatric obesity. Dr. Ebbeling has made significant contributions to obesity research, particularly with regard to developing
state-of-the-art behavioral interventions and exploring how behavioral processes interact with the metabolic effects of diet and physical activity to influence body weight and chronic disease risk. She also has conducted research aimed at understanding the influence of consuming fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages on energy intake and body weight. Dr. Ebbeling is a frequent presenter at professional meetings, and her work has been published in prominent journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The Lancet and Pediatrics. She served as an associate editor of Obesity and frequently performs ad hoc reviews for numerous medical and nutrition journals. She is a fellow of The Obesity Society and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Boston Children’s is so much more than a hospital—it’s a community of researchers, clinicians, administrators, support staff, innovators, teachers, patients and families, all working together to make the impossible possible. ”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
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