Dean Ornish, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Medicine UCSF and Founder & President, nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Dr. Dean Ornish’s pioneering research was the first to prove that lifestyle changes may stop or even reverse the progression of heart disease and early-stage prostate cancer and even change gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer, heart disease and premature aging. Recently, Medicare agreed to provide coverage for his program, the first time that Medicare has covered an integrative medicine program. He is the author of six bestselling books and was recently appointed by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. The Ornish diet was rated #1 for heart health by U.S. News & World Report in 2011 and 2012. He was selected as one of the “TIME 100” in integrative medicine, honored as “one of the 125 most extraordinary University of Texas alumni in the past 125 years,” recognized by LIFE magazine as “one of the 50 most influential members of his generation” and by Forbes magazine as “one of the 7 most powerful teachers in the world.”
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.
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.
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.
Michel Poulain, Ph.D.
Michel Poulain is Senior Researcher at the Estonian Institute for Population Studies at Tallinn University in Estonia. He earned his Ph.D. in demography from Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium, where he currently serves as Emeritus Professor. Since 1999, Michel has studied supercentenarians (people reaching extreme old ages) for the International Database on Longevity. Among his findings, Michel discovered that centenarians in Sardinia were not randomly distributed on the island; instead they were concentrated in an area that he named ‘Blue Zone’. From there he began a quest to validate age and centenarians worldwide. In 2005 Michel began working with Dan Buettner to identify other Blue Zones such as Nicoya (Costa Rica) and Ikaria (Greece). Since 2004 he has worked in collaboration with Dr. Gianni Pes of Sassari University to publish scientific papers summarizing the characteristics of four out of the five Longevity Blue Zones identified to date. Michel’s research focuses primarily on longevity determinants with special emphasis on demographic, socio-cultural and anthropological perspectives.
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.
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.