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President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition

Our Science Board

The Science Board was formed in 2003 to ensure that the messages and programs of the Council are scientifically sound. The Board includes scholars who have made significant contributions to the research and science of physical activity, health, sports, and nutrition.

Eloise Elliott, Ph.D.

Dr. Elliott is the Ware Distinguished Professor in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences at West Virginia University and an adjunct clinical professor in the WVU School of Medicine. Her role includes leading service initiatives to improve the health and well-being of the citizens of WV. Those initiatives include the first WV Physical Activity Plan, the first WV Physical Activity Symposium, Active Academics, a web-based teacher resource to include physical activity in the PreK-5 classroom, and a web-based instructional module for middle school and high school students, Take Charge! Be Healthy! to enhance the health curriculum. Her primary research focus is on the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventional strategies to change children's behaviors related to physical activity, and on comprehensive school physical activity strategies.

Adam Gazzaley, Ph.D.

Dr. Gazzaley is a Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry at the UC San Francisco, the founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center, and director of the Gazzaley Lab, a cognitive neuroscience laboratory. His laboratory studies neural mechanisms of perception, attention and memory, with an emphasis on the impact of distraction and multitasking on these abilities. His unique research approach utilizes a powerful combination of human neurophysiological tools, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic and electrical stimulation (TMS & TES). A major accomplishment of his research has been to expand our understanding of alterations in the aging brain that lead to cognitive decline. National Awards and honors for his research include the Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Award, the Ellison Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging, and the Harold Brenner Pepinsky Early Career Award in Neurobehavioral Science.

Daniel Gould, Ph.D.

Dr. Gould is the Director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the Michigan State University. Dan is a sought after speaker, coaching educator and applied sport psychology consultant, and is widely published on topics such as mental preparation, the psychology of excellence, coaching psychology, motivation, children in sport, stress, and the development of life skills in young athletes. Dan has published over 200 articles in the field of sport psychology, co-written three books including the most widely used textbook in the field, and has been invited to speak in over 30 countries. Dan has also served as the Co-Chair of the Science & Technology Committee of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), was a member of the USOC Coaching and Development Committee for 10 years, and currently serves on the United States Tennis Association Sport Science Committee.

Kevin Guskiewicz, Ph.D., ATC

Dr. Guskiewicz is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences as well as the Kenan Distinguished Professor, Athletic Trainer, and founding director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he has served on faculty since 1995. Over the past 22 years, his clinical research program has focused on sport-related concussion. He has investigated the effect of sport-related concussion on balance and neuropsychological function in high school and collegiate athletes, the biomechanics of sport concussion, and the long-term neurological effects of concussion in retired professional football players. More recently, his work is aimed at identifying biomarkers for determining the potential risk factors that predict symptom onset and progression of neurodegenerative disease in athletes who have played contact sports. He has been awarded Fellowship in the American College of Sports Medicine in 2003, the National Academy of Kinesiology in 2006, and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2008. In September 2011, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, given annually to individuals who "show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work."

Daniel L. Hurley, M.D.

Dr. Hurley is a Consultant in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, and Nutrition at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. Dr. Hurley’s clinical interests include obesity and bariatric surgery, hospital-based nutrition, and metabolic bone disease. He is a member of the nutrition and bone core groups at Mayo, and serves as a mentor for residents and fellows in nutrition, metabolic and bone disorders.

Abby C. King, PhD

Dr. King is a Professor of Health Research & Policy and the Stanford Prevention Research Center in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University. Dr. King's research focuses on the development, evaluation, and dissemination of public health interventions to reduce chronic disease risk and enhance health. Her current research focuses on expanding the reach and generalizability of evidence-based interventions through use of state-of-the-art communication technologies; community-based participatory research perspectives to address health disparities among disadvantaged populations; and policy-level approaches to health promotion.

Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., RD, FAHA

Dr. Kris-Etherton is the Distinguished Professor of Nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Kris-Etherton has served on many national committees that have established dietary guidelines and recommendations. She served on the 2nd Adult Treatment Panel of the National Cholesterol Education Program, the Dietary Reference Intakes for Macronutrients Committee of the National Academies, the HHS/USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 2005, and the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association that published diet and lifestyle recommendations for the prevention and treatment of CVD in 2006. She is a Fellow of the American Heart Association (AHA) and The National Lipid Association.

Michael W. Metzler, Ph.D.

Dr. Metzler is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University, and a Fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology. His areas of research and scholarship include teacher education program assessment and PK-12 physical education programs. He is currently the principal investigator on a CDC/GSU grant to study the implementation of a “whole of school” approach to increase children’s physical activity and improve other health-enhancing knowledge and behaviors. Dr. Metzler has published over 60 refereed research and topical articles in journals like The Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, The Journal of Teacher Education, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, Teaching and Teacher Education, and Quest. He has made more than 40 invited presentations and keynotes at national and international conferences, and has served as an education consultant in six countries.

James H. Rimmer, Ph.D.

Dr. Rimmer is a professor in the School of Health Professions, and the first Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). For over 30 years he has been developing and directing health promotion programs for people with disabilities aimed at reducing obesity, increasing physical activity, and improving nutrition in youths, adults and seniors with disabilities. Since 1997, he has provided leadership in the development of interdisciplinary research programs in disability, physical activity, and health promotion at the University of Illinois at Chicago and now at UAB. Dr. Rimmer directs two federally funded centers: the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability, funded by CDC since 1999, and the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology for People with Disabilities. (Rec Tech is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research since 2002.)

Nancy Rodriguez, Ph.D., RD, CSSD, FACSM

Dr. Rodriguez serves as the PCFSN Science Board Chair for 2015. She is currently a professor of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources with joint appointments in Departments of Kinesiology and Allied Health Sciences at the University of Connecticut. She directs the Sports Nutrition program at the University and for the Department of Sports Medicine in the Division of Athletics. Dr. Rodriguez has an active research program that focuses on relationships between exercise, protein intake, and protein utilization in populations across the lifecycle. Formerly an Associate Editor for Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, she serves on Editorial Boards for ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, the Journal of Nutrition, and the International Journal of Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. A registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics, Dr. Rodriguez has been a practicing dietitian for over 30 years.

Rebeccah R. Rodriguez, D.O.

Dr. Rodriguez is a board certified family medicine and sports medicine physician specializing in dance medicine. She completed her sports medicine fellowship training at San Diego Sports Medicine and Family Health Center (SDSM) and is currently in practice at SDSM. Dr. Rodriguez is a graduate from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her family medicine residency in Phoenix, Arizona. Her passion of the performing arts allows her to serve as the company physician for the San Diego Ballet and she continues to care for many athletes and professional ballet dancers from all over the USA. Dr. Rodriguez is also a USA Team Physician at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. Along with team coverage, Dr. Rodriguez serves as Women’s Health Director at San Diego State University, team physician for the San Diego Surge women’s Pro football team, and the San Diego Derby Dolls. She also serves on the AOASM Board of Directors, California Society of the ACOFP, and is on national ACOFP Committees.

Jaci L. VanHeest, Ph.D.

Dr. VanHeest is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology in the Neag School of Education with a joint appointment in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. She serves as the Faculty Director of the Public Health Learning Community at the University. Her research specialization is in the area of endocrine control of body weight and metabolism. Prior to her tenure at UCONN, Dr. VanHeest was the exercise physiologist for USA Swimming researching factors impacting both developmental and Olympic level athletes. Beyond her research publications, she has published numerous book chapters and lay articles on the developing athlete. Dr. VanHeest utilizes basic and applied science techniques in her work with overweight children and competitive athletes.

Gail Woodward-Lopez, MPH, RD

Ms. Woodward-Lopez is Associate Director of the Atkins Center for Weight & Health at the University of California, Berkeley. The focus of her current work is the evaluation of school and community based programs to prevent childhood obesity. She has served on the evaluation team for two multi-sector, place-based obesity prevention initiatives and the national Healthy Community Study and has lead various statewide and multi-state projects to evaluate school wellness policy implementation and school nutrition legislation. She is bilingual, has worked extensively with the Latino community in California and Latin America, and has served as a consultant for several international agencies. She recently served on the IOM Committee on Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment. In addition to publications of her research findings, she published a book on the determinants of obesity and several comprehensive literature reviews on the effectiveness of nutrition and physical activity interventions to improve academic performance, behavior and health outcomes. 

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