External Advisory Committee

The External Advisory Committee (EAC) provides unbiased external oversight for the overall Center and the progress of the individual junior investigators. The EAC consists of four nationally recognized scientists with expertise in the causes and consequences of childhood obesity and its comorbidities, childhood obesity prevention intervention strategies, community-based research strategies, statistical consideration of longitudinal datasets, and the operational management of academic health centers. The EAC is responsible for critiquing the scientific progress of the Center, and providing advice and guidance to Dr. Weber and the core directors. As part of this responsibility, the EAC:

  • Reviews and critiques the junior investigator career development program
  • Encourages and assists with faculty development and mentoring
  • Evaluates the progress of each primary and pipeline junior investigator project
  • Advises Center leaders in evaluating the development and progress of the Center
  • Helps identify resources for sustainability of Center operations and scientific impact

The EAC meets twice per year.

EAC Members

Bert Boyer, Ph.D.

External Advisory Committee Chair

Bob and Charlee Moore Endowed Professor
Director, Alaska Native Health & Wellness Research Center
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine
Center for Developmental Health, Knight Cardiovascular Institute
Oregon Health & Science University

Dr. Boyer was the principal investigator for phase II and III of a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant in Alaska that ended its 15-year cycle in June 2017 and was instrumental in forming the Center for Alaska Native Health Research, which focuses on risk and protective factors for cardiometabolic diseases including obesity and diabetes. His research group is broadly interested in genomic, epigenomic and environmental risk and protective factors related to obesity and diabetes in Yup'ik people from Southwest Alaska. For the past decade, Dr. Boyer and colleagues have been working in rural Alaska developing a longitudinal study involving ~2,000 Yup'ik Alaska Native people in 11 communities using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) framework. They have found obesity prevalence equal to that in the general U.S. population, but although obesity is one of the greatest risk factors for diabetes, type 2 diabetes incidence in the Yup’ik population is less than half that seen in the other areas of the U.S. To understand this better, Dr. Boyer and colleagues are investigating the roles of physical activity and a traditional subsistence diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids in prevention of chronic diseases, including diabetes. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Washington, Dr. Boyer is also involved in a pharmacogenomics program grant to investigate gene-by-environment interactions related to warfarin drug safety and efficacy.

Dr. Boyer and colleagues continue to work towards the development of culturally appropriate strategies to return the full continuum of research results to participants. All projects adhere to a CBPR framework involving community partners and Yup'ik leaders. In addition to his role as an External Advisory Committee (EAC) member for the Arkansas COBRE, he serves on the EAC of the Nebraska Center for the Prevention of Obesity Diseases through Dietary Molecules COBRE at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and the newly formed Center for Health Outcomes and Population Research COBRE at Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


Alice S. Ammerman, DrPH, RD

Mildred Kaufman Distinguished Professor
Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Director, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Ammerman is a Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health and UNC-Chapel Hill, and Director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (a CDC Prevention Research Center or PRC). Her research focuses on the design, testing, implementation, and dissemination of innovative clinical and community-based nutrition and physical activity intervention approaches for chronic disease risk reduction in primarily low income and minority populations. Dr. Ammerman has strong research and practice collaborations across the state and with PRC research networks across the country.  She is also Co-PI of the Center for Training and Research Translation, charged with identification, translation, and dissemination of evidence-based interventions for obesity and cardiovascular disease control and prevention. Current research interests focus on behavioral economics, school nutrition, the interface between healthy food access and sustainable local food systems, and social entrepreneurship as an approach to addressing public health concerns.


Joel Gittelsohn, Ph.D.

Director of Community Interventions, Global Obesity Prevention Center & Center for Human Nutrition
Professor, Department of International Health,
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Joel Gittelsohn is a Professor in the Center for Human Nutrition and the Global Obesity Prevention Center, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Gittelsohn is a public health nutritionist, who for 27 years has focused on developing, implementing and evaluating community-based programs for the primary prevention of chronic disease in disadvantaged ethnic minority populations.  With 245 publications in peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Gittelsohn has led multiple food source-centered intervention trials aimed at improving the food environment and providing skills and nutrition education needed to support healthy food choices in the Marshall Islands, in American Indian/First Nations communities, in Baltimore City, and for Native Hawaiian communities. Dr. Gittelsohn developed a multi-institutional program for diabetes prevention in 7 First Nations in schools and food stores, which was extended to 11 American Indian communities (OPREVENT, OPREVENT2) and includes worksites, social media and policy components.  He is currently evaluating a multi-level program for child obesity prevention in Baltimore City, working with policymakers, recreation centers, corner stores, carryouts, families and via social media.  Dr. Gittelsohn’s successful church-based program (Healthy Bodies, Healthy Souls), is currently being adapted by Dr. Pearl McElfish to work in Marshallese churches in Arkansas. These programs have shown success in increasing knowledge, healthy food purchasing and consumption of healthy promoted foods at the consumer level, in reducing obesity, and in improving stocking and sales at the retail level.


Keith A. Joiner, M.D., MPH

Professor of Medicine, Economics and Health Promotion Sciences
Eller College of Management
University of Arizona

Keith A. Joiner, M.D., M.P.H, is Professor of Medicine, Economics, and Health Promotion Sciences at the University of Arizona. From 2004 until 2008, he was Dean of the College of Medicine, and Vice-Provost for Medical Affairs, at the University of Arizona. In 2009, he was senior scholar at the Association of Academic Health Centers, Washington, DC. In 2010, he moved to the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.

In 2010, he co-founded and co-directed the Center for Management Innovations in Health Care (CMIHC) at the Eller College. He served as Director of the CMIHC from 2014-2016.

Before moving to the University of Arizona, he was the Waldemar von Zedtwitz Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology and Epidemiology at the Yale University School of Medicine, Chief of the Section of Infectious Diseases, and Associate Department Chair in the Department of Medicine. He founded and directed the Investigative Medicine Program at Yale, a unique PhD program open only to individuals with an MD degree and at least two years of residency training. 

He has received many honors for his research and administrative accomplishments, including election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI), American Association of Physicians (AAP), fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Society of Medical Administrators (SOMA). In 2005, he was named a “Top NIH Grantee”, being above the 95th percentile in distribution of NIH grant funds over the period from 1980-2004, despite only being in the extramural program (and therefore eligible for grant awards) for 15 out of the 25 years. Dr. Joiner has published 255 articles, and has 2 patents.

His current research and teaching are in health economics and policy, focusing on new payment models in health care. He teaches health economics and policy in the undergraduate and MBA programs, in both the face-to-face and online formats.
The Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM109096. The content of this website and research reported in publications resulting from work performed under this Award are solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.