The Leadership Team is comprised of the faculty and staff who manage the work of the three cores: the Administrative and Scientific Support Core, the Biostatistics and Informatics Core and the Metabolism Core.

The Leadership Team works together to provide services and support to junior faculty including but not limited to:

  • Reviewing and critiquing all project proposals
  • Grant formatting and writing assistance
  • IRB, CT.gov, and other regulatory guidance
  • Community engagement
  • Senior mentoring
  • Development of junior investigators

Judith L. Weber, PhD, RD

PI / Director, Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention
Director, Administrative and Scientific Core

Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Elisabet Børsheim, PhD

Co-investigator, Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention
Director, Metabolism Core

Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Director, Physical Activity, Energetics & Metabolism Research Lab
Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center
View Biosketch

Jon Oden, MD

Medical Director, Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention 

Section Chief, Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity
Associate Professor
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Project: "Type 1 Diabetes Summer Camp Effects on Energy Expenditure and Blood Glucose Control"

Reid Landes, PhD

Biostatistics Faculty Support

Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

View Biosketch

Joy Rockenbach

Associate Director, Administrative and Scientific Core

Faith-Based Coordinator and Founding Chair of ArCOP
Arkansas Department of Health

Joy Rockenbach is the Associate Director for the Administrative Core for the Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention and the Faith-based Coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Health, linking communities of faith to public health resources. ADH contributes as in-kind a portion of Ms. Rockenbach’s time to the development and work of the Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention and the Administrative Core specifically in community engagement.

A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in health education, Ms. Rockenbach has spent 27 years working in public health and chronic disease prevention. During that time, she has focused her work in the community on assessment, program planning and implementation. She has guided community coalition building efforts in tobacco, cancer control and obesity prevention encouraging policy, system and environmental change in all communities. For the last 13 years, Ms. Rockenbach has worked solely on community obesity prevention efforts. She joined the staff of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement to help develop the strategy for weighing and measuring all Arkansas students in accordance with legislative Act 1220 of 2003. In 2005, she moved that work to the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) in a joint agreement with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). She is the founding Chair of the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCOP)

Jami Jones, MBA

Research Program Director

Jami is the Program Administrator for the Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute. Jami obtained her Master’s Degree in Business Administration in 2015 and has three years of clinical research experience with various types of sponsored trials: Industry, Cooperative and Investigator Initiated. She is certified as a clinical research specialist through the UAMS CRS program. She manages the daily administrative operations of the Center, tracks data for the annual Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) and Scientific Information Reporting System (SIRS) and provides assistance to junior investigators with grant formatting and regulatory services such as IRB submission, protocol, consent and HIPAA development.

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 meets twice per year and looks at the following:

  • 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

Bert Boyer, PhD

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
View Biosketch

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
View Biosketch

Joel Gittelsohn, PhD


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

Keith A. Joiner, MD, MPH


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

The Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) includes senior level administrative and research faculty from ACRI and UAMS, all of whom have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields. The IAC provides internal institutional advice and guidance for Overall Center operations as well as the development and mentoring of the junior investigators by:

  • Evaluating the progress of the individual research projects and the progress of the junior investigators towards acquiring extramural funding and independent program status
  • Reviewing and scoring primary, pilot and affiliated study proposals submitted by junior faculty across campuses
  • Evaluating the development of the Center and assisting in identifying resources in support of the Center
  • Participate in semi-annual meetings with the External Advisory Committee

Larry Cornett, PhD


Vice Chancellor of Research
Director, Arkansas INBRE
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Jeannette M. Shorey II, MD


Associate Provost for Faculty
Professor
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Curriculum Vitae

Mark Smeltzer, PhD


Director, Center for Microbial Pathogenesis & Host Inflammatory Responses
Professor
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Joseph Thompson, MD, MPH


President and CEO, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
Department of Health Policy & Management, College of Public Health
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Clint Kilts, PhD


Professor and Wilbur Mills Chair in Alcohol and Durg Abuse Prevention
Department of Psychiatry
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Director, UAMS Brain Imaging Research Center(BIRC)
Associate Director for Research, UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute

Namvar Zohoori, MD, MPH, PhD


Chief Science Officer, Arkansas Department of Health
Adjunct Professor
Department of Epidemiology, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Paula Roberson, PhD


Professor & Department Chair, Department of Biostatistics
Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Sean Adams, PhD


Director, Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center
Professor & Section Chief, Developmental Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Center mentors include both internal and external senior level administrative and research faculty, all of whom have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields. The mentors provide project specific guidance on, the development and progress of the junior investigator research projects by:

  • Meeting with the junior investigators to discuss the following:
    • subject enrollment
    • issues (including budget)/barriers; potential solutions
    • accomplishments
    • recommendations and goals for the next quarter

  • Connecting junior investigators with potential collaborators, consultants, and opportunities to enhance their research
  • Meeting quarterly or as needed with Dr. Weber to discuss the project’s progress
  • Attending Work-in-Progress meetings, monthly training sessions and external advisory committee meeting

Aline Andres, PhD


Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Associate Director for Clinical Research, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center
View Biosketch

Sarah Blossom, PhD


Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Microbiology/Immunology
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Geoffrey Curran, PhD


Director, Center for Implementation Research
Professor, Departments of Pharmacy Practice and Psychiatry
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Research Health Scientist
Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System

Jonathan Dranoff, MD


Jerome S. Levy Professor of Medicine
Director, Division of Gastroenterology & Heptology
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Chief, Gastroenterology Service
Central Arkansas VAMC

Kevin Fitzpatrick, PhD


Jones Chair in Community
Professor
Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice
University of Arkansas
View Biosketch

Pearl McElfish, PhD


Associate Vice Chancellor – Northwest Arkansas Regional Campus
Director, Office of Community Health and Research
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – NW
View Biosketch

Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, EdD


Professor, Department of Family & Preventative Medicine
Director of the DFPM Research and Evaluation Division (RED)
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

View Biosketch

Robert Wolfe, PhD


Director, Center for Translational Research in Aging & Longevity
Jane and Ed Warmack Chair in Nutritional Longevity
Professor
Department of Geriatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Jamie Baum, PhD

Primary Project Investigator

Assistant Professor
Department of Nutrition
Division of Agriculture
University of Arkansas
View Biosketch

Project: "Breakfast, Energy Metabolism, and Skeletal Muscle Health in Children"

Eugenia Carvalho, PhD, MSc

Primary Project Investigator

Instructor
Department of Geriatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Project: "Assessment of Oxidative Capacity in Obese Children"

Shannon Rose, PhD

Primary Project Investigator

Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Project: "T cells in Childhood Obesity: immunometabolic Phenotype and Effects on Metformin"


Britni Ayers, PhD

Pilot Study Investigator

Assistant Professor
Department of Community Health and Research
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences-Northwest Arkansas Regional Campus
View Biosketch

Project: "Marshallese Beleifs, Perceptions, and Experiences of Infant Feeding"

Eva Diaz, MD, MSc

Pilot Study Investigator

Instructor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Project: "Probiotic Supplementation in Obese Pregnant Women – A Feasibility Study"

Erin Kaye Howie Hickey, PhD

Pilot Study Investigator

Assistant Professor
Department of Health, Human Performance, & Recreation
University of Arkansas

Project: "Activity Phenotypes in Pregnancy, Childhood and Associations with Child Obesity"

Taren Swindle, PhD

Pilot Study Investigator

Assistant Professor
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Project: "Supporting Implementation of Obesity Prevention Practices in Childcare"

Emir Tas, MD

Pilot Study Investigator

Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Project: "FGF-21: An Adjunct Biomarker for Early Detection of NAFLD in Children"

Keshari Thakali, PhD

Pilot Study Investigator

Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics, Section of developmental Nutrition
College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Project: "Determining the Effect of Maternal Obesity on Offspring Cardiovascular Health"

Chris Long, PhD

Affiliated Project Investigator

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – Northwest Arkansas Regional Campus
View Biosketch

Project: "Relating Families’ History of Food Pantry Use to Children’s Obesity Status"

Jon Oden, MD

Medical Director, Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention 

Section Chief, Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity
Associate Professor
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Project: "Type 1 Diabetes Summer Camp Effects on Energy Expenditure and Blood Glucose Control"

Mike Thomsen, PhD

Professor
Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness
University of Arkansas
View Biosketch

Project: "Informing Policies to Address Childhood Obesity: A Systems Approach"

Mallik Rettiganti, PhD

Support Care Investigator

Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
View Biosketch

Project: "Methods to Detect and Eliminate Outliers in Childhood Obesity Data"