Curtis Aikens, Celebrity Chef
Curtis Aikens is a 10-year veteran of the Food Network where he is best known as the co-host of the television show, Calling All Cooks. In the show, Aikens scours the nation for treasured family recipes and the stories behind them. A nationally recognized health food expert with a passion for high-quality, seasonal produce, Curtis specializes in reinventing classic recipes with a healthy, modern twist. He is the author of Curtis Aikens’ Guide to the Harvest and Curtis Cooks with Heart & Soul, in which he combines delicious down-home cooking with his unique philosophy.
A native Georgian, Curtis’ passion for produce began as a child, watching his grandfather work in the family garden. His interest grew during high school when he worked at the local A&P Market. After attending Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, Curtis relocated to northern California, finding work at an Alpha Beta grocery store in the San Francisco Bay Area. During this time, he opened Peaches, his first produce company.
After seven years in California, Curtis moved to New York to run several produce departments at Dom’s Wholesale Market and at Balducci’s. He then began his television career working as a consultant and food stylist on commercials for Pizza Hut, Pillsbury and McDonald’s.
In 1988, Curtis returned to Georgia to begin Aiken’s Family Produce, Inc., a wholesale and retail supplier of produce for clients, which ranged from the Rockdale County School System to the television series In the Heat of the Night, and the feature film Glory.
Connie Williams Burton
Connie Williams Burton, founder of The Speyer Legacy School in New York City, has devoted the past two decades to the education of precocious preschool children, their teachers and parents. Through her work with this population, she has developed the child-responsive curriculum that serves as the core for the development of The Speyer Legacy School. She has presented various aspects of her work locally, nationally and internationally.
She is an award winning teacher who was named Outstanding Preschool Teacher of 2007 by the Blackboard Awards and is featured as one of the top preschool teachers in the nation by Scholastic Magazine. Her 23 years at Hollingworth Preschool at Teachers College Columbia University were recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Blackboard Awards ceremony in June of 2009. Connie holds masters degrees from Indiana University in Vocal Performance and from Teachers College, Columbia University in Early Childhood Education. Her undergraduate studies at Samford University in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama were in music.
Jeanne Goldberg, PhD, RDN
Jeanne Goldberg, PhD, RDN a professor of nutrition, is the director of the Center on Nutrition Communication and the graduate program in nutrition communication at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
Dr. Goldberg is currently a co-investigator on two major studies that focus on nutrition for children. The first, the BONES Project, is a five-year long NIH-funded intervention program designed to promote bone health in early elementary school children. The second, Shape up Somerville, is an obesity-prevention program for elementary school children and their families funded by the CDC.
In addition to her work on children’s nutrition, Dr. Goldberg served as principal investigator on the study that led to the selection of the Food Guide Pyramid by the USDA/USDHHS. She was also principal investigator on a project to develop and evaluate a nutrition curriculum for pediatric nurse practitioners.
In 2001, Dr. Goldberg served as national co-chair of the Summit on Healthy Eating and Active Living. That conference brought together for the first time a diverse group of nutrition, physical activity and behavior experts from the public and private sectors with a shared interest in ending obesity and other chronic diseases that result from poor food choices and sedentary lifestyles. The conference was organized by the Partnership to Promote Healthy Eating and Active Living, a nonprofit organization on whose board she continues to serve.
Dr. Goldberg is a consultant to the food industry and government on consumer issues. She served as a member of the FDA Food Advisory Committee from 1992-1996. She is currently a member of the National Institute of Medicine Committee on Use of Dietary Reference Intakes in Nutrition Labeling, a trustee of the International Food Information Council Foundation, and a member of the sub-committee on communication of the American Heart Association council on nutrition and physical Activity.
Dr. Goldberg has authored numerous articles in scientific journals, and for over 20 years she co-authored a bi-weekly newspaper column on nutrition, nationally syndicated by the Washington Post Writer’s Group. She also co-authored Dr. Jean Mayer’s Diet and Nutrition Guide.
Jennifer Otten, PhD, RDN
Jennifer Otten, PhD, RDN, is a research fellow at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on adolescent and adult behavioral weight management, nutrition policies and mass communication efforts aimed at preventing childhood obesity, the role of sedentary behaviors in physical activity levels and dietary intake, and the role of the built environment in body weight regulation.
From 2005-2006, Dr. Otten served as a study director at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies and co-authored the publication titled Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements, a guide that expands upon and replaces the Recommended Dietary Allowances series published from 1943 to 1989. From 1999-2005 she served as communications director, communications officer, and communications specialist of the IOM and was responsible for the organization’s communications and dissemination efforts. During her tenure in the communications office, Dr. Otten co-authored two editions of Informing the Future: Critical Issues in Health, a report developed to inform Congress and the administration of critical health issues. She was also responsible for rolling out the reports titled Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance and Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity.
Jennifer obtained her doctoral degree in animal, nutrition, and food sciences from the University of Vermont, her master’s degree in nutrition communications at Tufts University, and completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). She graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University with a BS in nutritional sciences.
Densie Webb, PhD, RDN
Densie Webb, PhD, RDN, is a professional writer, editor and a consultant to the food and nutrition industry. She is has been both editor and associate editor for Environmental Nutrition newsletter, a writer for the American Botanical Council, health editor at McCall’s, a monthly columnist for Woman’s Day, First, Prevention and GreatLife magazines and a contributor to The New York Times, Parade, Family Circle, Redbook, Eating Well, VIV! and Fitness. She is the author of seven books, including Super Nutrition After 50. Her most recent book was The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous! written with co-athor Carolyn O’Neil MS, RDN. As a consultant, she has worked with media, health professionals and the scientific community, researching topics and tracking trends. Densie lives and works in Austin, Texas.
Christine Williams, MD, MPH
Christine Williams, MD, MPH, is a professor of clinical pediatrics and director of the Children’s Cardiovascular Health Center in the department of pediatrics and Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Williams received both a bachelor’s degree and doctor of medicine degree from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, she has a master of public health degree from Harvard University. She is board certified in pediatrics as well as in preventive medicine and public health.
Dr. Williams’ research work focuses primarily in child nutrition, childhood obesity, pediatric preventive cardiology, nutritional aspects of cancer prevention in childhood, dietary requirements in childhood, dietary fat intake in childhood, preschool physical activity initiatives, health education curricula for children, teacher training in health and nutrition education, school food service research, and smoking prevention.
Dr. Williams has organized national conferences on childhood obesity, hyperlipidemia in children, dietary fiber in childhood, dietary fat, and fortification of children’s foods. She has published more than 90 scientific articles, book chapters and books, primarily in the field of child nutrition and health.
Prior to Columbia University, Dr. Williams served as founder and director of the child health center at the American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York, and as clinical professor of pediatrics and medicine at New York Medical College.
Dr. Williams has been a pioneer in developing comprehensive health education programs for preschool (the “Healthy Start” program) and school-aged (the “Know Your Body” program) children and their families.
Before joining the American Health Foundation, Dr. Williams was a tenured professor in the department of pediatrics, New York Medical College, as well as director of the graduate program of maternal and child health and chief of the section of pediatric epidemiology in the department of pediatrics.
While at medical school, she was a recipient of the prestigious preventive cardiology academic award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Williams is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, and the American Heart Association. She currently serves a member of the committee on obesity of the AHA council on nutrition, physical activity and metabolism.
She was elected a fellow of the council of epidemiology and prevention of the American Heart Association, and served as chair of the AHA committee on atherosclerosis, hypertension and obesity in the young, of the council on cardiovascular disease in the young. She is past president of the American Society of Preventive Cardiology. She was a member of the American Dietetic Association’s expert panel on child nutrition and health. She also served on the National Academy of Sciences committee on the definition of dietary fiber.