Live Longer, Better®


Dan Burden

Dan has been recognized by Time magazine as “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world.” He has consulted with more than 2,500 communities around the world to help create spaces that are safe, healthy, pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. His work with Blue Zones is to create optimal walkable and bikeable environments. Dan founded Walkable Communities, Inc. and currently is the Executive Director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute. Dan also was the State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator at the Florida Department of Transportation and has also worked in China as a bicycle consultant for the United Nations. He has a B.S. in Forestry and furthered his graduate studies in Interpersonal Communications at the University of Montana.

Mary M. Flynn, Ph.D, R.D., L.D.N.

Mary recently developed a plant-based, olive oil diet, which promoted weight loss in women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and is currently testing the diet in men with recurrent prostate cancer. Her diet is published in the book, A Pink Ribbon Diet (Da Capo Press, October 2010). She holds the position of clinical associate professor of medicine at Brown University. She lectures on nutrition at Brown Medical School, and teaches three courses in nutrition at Brown. Mary has worked as a research dietitian since 1984 at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI and acts as the general outpatient dietitian and the outpatient oncology dietitian for Lifespan Hospitals. This dietary expertise makes her an ideal member of the Blue Zones Dietary Review Board. She is also on the board of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank where she started a program called “Raising the Bar on Nutrition.” She authored the book Low-Fat Lies, High Fat Frauds and the Healthiest Diet in the World (Lifeline Press, 1999).

Gary Fraser, M.D., Ph.D

Gary Fraser, MD, PhD is the associate dean of research and Professor of Cardiology at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health. Professor Fraser received his medical degree from the University of Otago in New Zealand. Funded by the NZ Medical Research Council and NZ National Heart Foundation Fellowships, he received his masters degree from the University of Minnesota in 1979. Dr. Fraser received his PhD from the University of Auckland. He became board certified in California in internal medicine in 1981 and cardiovascular medicine in 1983. Dr. Fraser is author/coauthor of over 100 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, and author of two books “Preventive Cardiology” (1986) and “Diet, Life Expectancy, and Chronic Disease ” (2003), both Oxford University Press.

Ryan T. Howell, Ph.D.

Ryan’s work focuses on understanding the factors that affect human happiness and the benefits of happiness. He also collaborated in creating the Blue Zones True Happiness Test™. Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at San Francisco State University and founded a website where adults can take short consumer psychology surveys and consumer psychology quizzes to receive personalized feedback about their spending habits.

Karen Jaceldo-Siegl, DrPH, MS

Karen Jaceldo-Siegl holds is an assistant professor in the Schools of Public Health and Medicine at Loma Linda University. She is the senior nutrition scientist for the Adventist Health Study-2, a cohort study of over 97,000 adults in the US and Canada funded by the National Cancer Institute, and primarily serves as research mentor for several masters, doctoral students, and post-doctoral fellows. In the last few years, she has focused her research on validating questionnaire data, biomarkers of dietary intake, health benefits of vegetarian diets as well as soy and nut consumption; and has several publications on these topics in peer-reviewed journals. More recently she has been involved in examining the environmental impacts of vegetarian diets. She received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at San Antonio, M.S. in nutrition from University of Incarnate Word, and DrPH in nutrition at Loma Linda University.

Robert W. Jeffery, Ph.D.

Bob is widely known for his innovative work in obesity prevention. Bob received a BA in Economics from Stanford University and a PhD in Psychology. Obesity has been his primary area of study throughout his career with special focuses in the areas of health behaviors, diabetes, cancer and smoking. Bob is the Director at the University of Minnesota Obesity Prevention Center and is a Professor in the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Robert L. Kane M.D.

Robert L. Kane holds an endowed Chair in Long-Term Care and Aging at the University of Minnesota. A Director, prominent public health professor and leader in the medical field, Robert has been teaching for over 40 years. An advisor to Blue Zones in the outcomes of acute and long-term care, especially the effects of hospital and post-hospitable care, epidemiology of aging, managed care, assessment, and long-term care policy. Robert has received numerous honors, awards and worldwide recognition within in the medical field. He graduated from Columbia College and received his doctorate at Harvard Medical Center.

Lori A. Klos

Lori A. Klos is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition and registered dietitian specializing in social and environmental influences on eating behavior, body image, and weight management at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She received her bachelors and masters degrees in Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University in 2007. She’s presented her research at a variety of national and international conferences, and recently chaired a symposium on self-monitoring of body weight at the annual meeting of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Leslie A Lytle, Ph.D., R.D

An expert in children’s health promotion and childhood obesity prevention, Leslie has successfully worked with schools and communities to improve food and activity offerings. Her work with Blue Zones is to improve eating and activity behaviors in schools, families and employers. A researcher and professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, she is a Registered Dietitian and holds a B.S. in Biological Health and Medical Dietetics from Pennsylvania State University, a M.S. in Education from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in Health Behavior/Health Education from the University of Michigan.

Gregory A. Plotknikoff, MD, MTS

Greg first became connected with Blue Zones when he traveled with the team to Okinawa in 2005. He is Medical Director for the Institute for Health and Healing, Abbott-Northwestern Hospital; Associate Professor, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and a leading expert on Kampo – Japanese traditional herbal medicine. He received his master’s degree in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and earned his medical degree at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Brian Wansink, PH.D.

Brian is an expert on teaching people how small behavior changes can help them to eat better and consume fewer calories. A former Executive Director of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Brian’s work with Blue Zones is with local restaurants, businesses and homes. The author of several books on nutrition, including the best-selling “Mindless Eating,” his research continues to prompt changes in the grocery aisles, and he was instrumental in the introduction of “100 calorie” packages. A professor of Consumer Behavior at Cornell University and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, he holds a B.A. from Wayne State College, a M.A. from Drake University and a Ph. D. from Stanford University.

Walter Willett, M.D., Dr.P.h

Walter Willett is a Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Chair of the Worlds of Healthy Flavors Scientific Advisory Committee. He studied food science at Michigan State University, and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School before obtaining a Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Willett studies the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases. He has developed specific methods to study this topic and applied them to 300,000 men and women starting in 1980 in the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow‐up Study providing the most detailed information on the long‐term health consequences of food choices. Dr. Willett is the most cited nutritionist internationally, and is among the five most cited persons in all fields of clinical science. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, has published more than 1,500 articles, primarily on lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and cancer, and has written the textbook, Nutritional Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press. He also published the bestselling Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, along with Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less, co‐authored with Mollie Katzen; and most recently, The Fertility Diet, co‐authored with Jorge Chavarro and Pat Skerrett.