Meet the Team
Childhood obesity is a complex condition, 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.
- David Ludwig, MD, PhD (Director, Optimal Weight for Life)
- Amy Fleischman, MD, MMSc (Medical Director, Optimal Weight for Life)
- Erinn Rhodes, MD, MPH (Director, Type 2 Diabetes Program)
- Melissa Crocker, MD
- Susan Herel, MSN, CPNP-PC
- Maryanne Lewis, MSN, PNP-BC
- Robert Markowitz, MD
- Stavroula Osganian, MD, ScD, MPH
- Abhinash Srivatsa, MD
- Lisa Summers, MD, RD
- Sarah Picard, MA, Med, Exercise Physiologist
- Shannon Hourigan, PhD
- Melissa Gallagher, RD, LDN (Lead Dietitian, Optimal Weight for Life)
- Suzanne Rostler, MS, RD, LDN
- Maura McNamara, RD, LDN
- Sharon Weston, MS, RD, LDN
- Alison Levin, LICSW
- Lori Parras, PsyD
- Lori Fishman, Psy.D. , (Clinical Director of Behavioral Medicine, Optimal Weight for Life)
- Marilou Shaughnessy, PsyD
- Rachel Lerner, LICSW
- Cara Ebbeling, PhD (Associate Director)
- Lesley Fisher, MS (Research Assistant)
- Melissa Gallagher, RD, LDN (Clinical Nutrition Research Coordinator)
- Bridget Hron, MD (Fellow)
- Elizabeth Hart, MD (Fellow)
- Julia Wong, PhD, RD (Research Associate)
- Meghan Leary (Research Assistant)
- Allison Martineau, MS (Clinical Nutrition Research Coordinator)
- Catherine Matero, BS (Clinical Research Specialist)
- Lisa Robinson, MS, RD, LDN (Clinical Nutrition Research Coordinator)
- Linda Seger-Shippee (Research Study Coordinator)
- Sarah Steltz, MPH (Clinical Research Specialist)
- Michaela Barhite (Research Assistant)
- Timothy Fiore (Research Assistant)
- Kate Wargo (Research Assistant)
- Kate Simonelli, Resource Specialist
- Veronica Gragnano, Administrative Associate
- Joyceanna Fidalgo, Ambulatory Clinic Supervisor , Optimal Weight for Life Program
David 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.
Cara Ebbeling, PhD
Dr. Ebbeling holds advanced degrees in nutrition (PhD, University of Connecticut, 1997) and exercise science (MS, University of Massachusetts, 1988). She has successfully designed, implemented and evaluated lifestyle interventions in free-living children, adolescents and adults. Moreover, she has experience in behavioral counseling for promoting dietary change and in using self-report methodology to assess diet and physical activity. 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.