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Board of Directors

The Food Studies Institute Board of Directors is a distinguished group of professionals from the medical and education communities.

Antonia Demas, Ph.D.

Antonia D’Amico Demas is the Founder and President of the Food Studies Institute. She has a Ph.D. in education, nutrition, and anthropology from Cornell University. Antonia has worked in various capacities for almost 50 years developing food-based curricula and teaching food-studies in a variety of educational settings with people of diverse ages, as well as ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Because of her excitement about the learning and health improvements that occurs among children when they have positive, sensory-based, hands-on experience with food, she has devoted herself to engaging in research to document this observation scientifically. Her dissertation won two national awards for Excellence and Creativity. Antonia has been a Visiting Scholar at Tufts University, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, the University of Kentucky School of Public Health, Florida International University, and at the University of Illinois Medical School, Rockford.

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T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.

T. Colin Campbell was trained at Cornell University and MIT in nutrition, biochemistry and toxicology. He spent 10 years on the faculty of Virginia Tech’s Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition before returning to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell in 1975 where he presently holds his Endowed Chair (now Emeritus). His primary focus is on the association between diet and disease, particularly cancer. Although largely known for the China Study–one of the most comprehensive studies of health and nutrition ever conducted, and recognized by The New York Times as the “Grand Prix of epidemiology”. Dr. Campbell’s profound impact also includes extensive involvement in education, public policy, and laboratory research. He is the author of many scientific articles on nutrition. His most current books are the China Study which has been translated into more than 40 languages, Whole, and The Future of Nutrition.

Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D.

Dr. Esselstyn received his B.A. from Yale University and his M.D. In 1956 he was awarded a gold medal at the Olympic Games from pulling the No. 6 oar as a member of the victorious United States rowing team. He was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. In 1968, as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star. Dr. Esselstyn has been associated with the Cleveland Clinic since 1968. During that time, he has served as President of the Staff and as a member of the Board of Governors. He chaired the Clinic’s Breast Cancer Task Force and headed its Section of Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

Michelle Heller

Michelle is co-founder of the LIFE Farm-to-School program for the Lopez Island School District, located off the coast of Washington State. Ms. Heller also serves as a member of the Chairman’s Council for Conservation International and as a Trustee for the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery, the regional museum for contemporary art. The University of Washington is Michelle’s alma mater, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. Michelle, along with her husband Steven Heller, is co-founder of The Heller Foundation for Life, whose mission is to promote health and vitality of the environment, the community and the individual by supporting initiatives in education, sustainability and the arts.

Carolyn Landis

Carolyn is a successful entrepreneur who advises executives on developing business plans and raising private placement capital.  For nonprofit clients, she guides the strategic planning process and advises on organizational issues.  Based in Princeton, NJ, Carolyn provides strategic services through Catalyst Partners, LLC where she is a Managing Member.  Carolyn earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Cornell University, an MA in Latin American Studies at Rutgers University, and an MPA in public policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University.  She has studied piano and sung all of her life.  Carolyn has been involved with the Food Studies Institute since 1999. 

Karen Meador, M.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Meador is an experienced health care executive and pediatrician. She served as Vice President of Research Administration and Physician Corporations for Children’s Medical Center Dallas and concomitantly as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and as President of Physicians for Children, a pediatric primary care organization. Previously, Karen worked as an Emergency Medicine attending at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and as a Financial Analyst for Johnson & Johnson while attending the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her MBA with Honors in Finance and Health Care Management. She graduated from the pediatric residency program at The University of Texas San Antonio, from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and from Rice University, where her degree was in Biology/Nutrition.

Barbara Orlando

Barbara served as communications director, presidential speechwriter and newsletter editor with MTA NYC Transit for almost 20 years. A native of Michigan, she has a BA from Cornell University, majored in English, and was elected to Mortar Board. She is a charter member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women, regularly served on its steering committee and, in 2010, planned and edited its 20th anniversary history. She is a past Cornell Council member and director of the Publicity Club of New York. She and her husband have a son and daughter and live in Manhattan.

Joan Peven Smith

Joan is involved in community charities and civic organizations and serves on a number of Boards. Her interests include preventive medicine that focuses on nutrition and also the arts. Currently, she is a Director Emeritus of Florida International University’s (FIU) Foundation Board. She has created the Joan and Harry B. Smith Lecture Series that brings in notable speakers in the subject of preventive medicine. She is evolving Collaborative Corridors among Medical Schools in order to share the same speakers and create community groups with the same purpose. She is a member of EarthSave and Positive Alternative Therapies in Health.

Harvey Zarren, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Dr. Zarren is a physician trained in conventional Cardiology. His practice and approach to healing has included a focus on nutrition as a cornerstone of cardiac wellness and has emphasized hope, personal responsibility fostered by education, and the value of human relationships in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. Harvey is the Founder and Physician Director of The Healing Connection, a hospital based program at the Union Hospital, North Shore Medical Center, in Lynn, Massachusetts. The Healing Connection is a working practice that places people and the value of human interaction back into the center of the healing process.

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