SEA Change Portland Meeting With International & Local Experts

Monday, 13 April 2015
The SEA Change Portland Steering Group is meeting with a team of international and local experts this Wednesday, to share understandings about how communities transfer knowledge that influences change and also obesity prevention. The team is known as the COMPACT Team and is visiting Portland to study how community change spreads across communities. The team is interested in how SEA Change Portland is achieving this. The COMPACT Team includes principal investigators:

Dr Matthew Gillman MD, SM who is a Professor and Director of the Obesity Prevention Program in the Department of Population Medicine, Harvard. His research interests include early life prevention of chronic disease, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and asthma; individual and policy-level interventions to prevent obesity and its consequences; and childhood cardiovascular risk factors. He directs Project Viva, an NIH-funded cohort study of pregnant women and their offspring, focusing on effects of gestational diet and other factors on outcomes of pregnancy and childhood. Dr Gillman also leads or participates in several other federally-funded studies of diet, activity, obesity, and cardiovascular risk in children and adults. He has served in leadership roles in the U.S. National Children's Study, the International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, the American Heart Association, and the American Academy of Paediatrics. He is an active teacher of medical students and mentor to research trainees. Formerly a primary care internist and paediatrician, Dr Gillman's current clinical work is in preventive cardiology among children.

Dr Ross A. Hammond, a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he is director of the Centre on Social Dynamics and Policy. His primary area of expertise is modelling complex dynamics in economic, social, and public health systems using mathematical and computational methods from complexity systems science. His current research topics include obesity aetiology and prevention, food systems, tobacco control, behavioural epidemiology, crime, corruption, segregation, trust, and decision-making.

Dr Christina D. Economos, PhD, Co-Founder and Director, is co-Founder and Director of ChildObesity180, the New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition, and an Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and at the Medical School, at Tufts University.

Dr. Economos’ research efforts have addressed the interaction among nutrition, exercise, body composition, bone health, and the built environment, toward preventing osteoporosis and obesity, starting in early childhood. As the principal investigator of large-scale research studies, her goal is to

inspire behaviour, policy, and environmental change to reduce obesity and improve the health of America’s children. She has worked effectively with diverse communities and has crafted, implemented, and evaluated a physical activity and nutrition education curriculum. At ChildObesity180 she blends scientific evidence and rigor with innovation and experience from the private sector to develop, implement, evaluate, and scale high-impact obesity prevention initiatives.

Dr Economos led the Shape Up Somerville study demonstrating that it is possible to reduce excess weight gain in children through multiple leverage points within an entire community. The research interventions Dr Economos has led include: the BONES (Beat Osteoporosis: Nourish and Exercise Skeletons) Project funded by NICHD; Shape Up Somerville, EAT SMART, PLAY HARD funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); The CHANGE Project with Save the Children; The Balance Project funded by the PepsiCo Foundation; and Assessing and Preventing Obesity in New Immigrants, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition to Dr Economos’ role as Director of ChildObesity180, she is also currently an investigator of the Shape Up

Under 5 study, funded by the NIH, and she has authored over 100 scientific publications.

Dr Economos is involved in national obesity and public health activities and has served on several Institute of Medicine committees, including the Committee on an Evidence Framework for Obesity Prevention Decision-Making, the Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, the

Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention, and the Roundtable for Obesity Solutions, as well as an invited member of American Heart Association’s Nutrition Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health. Dr Economos received a Bachelor of Science from Boston University, a Master of Science in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University and a doctorate in Nutritional Biochemistry Science from Tufts University.

Boyd Swinburn is the Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland and Alfred Deakin Professor and Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in Melbourne. He trained as a specialist endocrinologist and has conducted research in metabolic, clinical and public health aspects of obesity. His major research interests are centred on community and policy actions to prevent childhood and adolescent obesity, and reduce, what he has coined, the food environment.

He is Co-Chair of the World Obesity/Policy Prevention (formerly known as IOTF) and was President of the Australia and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) from 2005-7. He has also contributed to over 30 WHO consultations and reports on obesity, authored over 300 publications

and given over 400 presentations. Through these efforts he is significantly contributing to national and global efforts to reduce the obesity epidemic.

Professor Allender has an ongoing program of research on the burden of disease and obesity prevention. Recent work has seen a particular interest in the emerging burden of chronic disease in developing countries and the possibilities for using complex systems methodologies in community

based interventions. Further work is in the development and understanding of community based approaches to chronic disease prevention.

Associate Investigator :

Peter Hovmand, PhD, is the founding director of the Brown School’s Social System Design Lab. He has a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and bachelor of arts in mathematics from Bucknell University. He received his masters in social work with a clinical concentration and interdisciplinary social science doctorate in social work and community psychology from Michigan State University.

Dr Hovmand’s research and practice focuses on using participatory group model building methods to involve communities and other stakeholders in the process of understanding systems and designing solutions using system dynamics models and computer simulations with a specific emphasis on promoting social justice. Application areas include early child and maternal health, childhood obesity, energetics and cancer, mental health, domestic violence, child welfare, household economic security, structural racism, educational equity, K-12 education, and the implementation and scale-up of health innovations.

He has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, Lupina Foundation, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Waters Foundation, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

He is an associate editor for System Dynamics Review and area editor on population level health for the Wiley Series on Modelling and Simulation. He was the host chair for the National Institutes of Science Institute on Systems Science and Health (ISSH) and co-led the system dynamic track in 2012 at Washington University in St. Louis.

Dr Hovmand has conducted over 30 GMB workshops domestically and internationally, including rural and urban India, Mongolia, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Panama, and the United States. He teaches graduate social work and engineering courses on system dynamics and group model building. He is the co-founder and co-chair of the diversity committee for the System Dynamics Society and a member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, System Dynamics Society, and Society for Community Research and Action.

Quick Links


Connect with Us

For Staff

Contact Us