BOARD OF DIRECTORS

close up photo of grape fruit
The Food Studies Institute Board of Directors is a distinguished group of professionals from the medical and education communities.

Antonia Demas, Ph.D.

Founder & President

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 over 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.

Ariel Demas, MA

Vice President

Ariel Demas is an experienced food educator. She began working with the Food Studies Institute in 2004, when she was hired to initiate a food education program at a Baltimore City Public School servings students in Prek – 8th grade. After teaching for nearly two decades, Ariel joined the Food Studies Institute on a full-time basis in June 2021. She has experience with teacher training, program development, grant writing, farm to school initiatives, school gardening, and health education. Ariel is a licensed K-6 teacher and holds certificates in Food Education, Montessori Elementary Education, Diabetes Education, Plant-based Nutrition, Culinary Arts, Master Gardener, along with a Bachelors in Sociology from Cornell University and a Masters in Education from Goddard College.

Carolyn Landis

Secretary

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.  Prior to becoming a consultant, she served as CEO of a NY-based computer refurbishing-training firm and a NJ-based restaurant holding company.  Earlier, she directed consulting, member services, and financial affairs as an officer of a non-profit consortium of 500 universities dealing with technology.  Carolyn has served on boards of several corporations, universities, and non-profit organizations.  She currently serves as a director of non-profit corporations including: HERSnetwork.org, the premier professional development organization for women in higher education administration; PerScholas.org, a nonprofit corporation which launches talented individuals in tech careers through tuition-free training; the President’s Council of Cornell Women, professional alumnae who work to advance women at the university; and McDaniel College, an outstanding private liberal arts college in Westminster, MD. Carolyn sings with Princeton Pro Musica, an auditioned chorus and orchestra which performs choral masterworks and new choral compositions by American composers.  Carolyn has edited six books and given numerous conference presentations primarily on the application of computing in higher education.

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 Princeton University School of Public & International affairs.  Carolyn has served as a Director and Secretary of the Food Studies Institute since its founding in 1999.  She also served as Treasurer from 1999 to 2002.

Mary Bouchard, MBA, CPA

Treasurer

Mary Bouchard is a self-employed CPA licensed in New York. She has taught at Elmira College and Ithaca College, and has worked in a number of financial capacities including small business development, accounting and auditing. She has also served on the boards of a number of nonprofit organizations and is active in local government. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, and got her undergraduate degree from Alfred University.  She has been a backyard beekeeper for over a decade, and is an avid cyclist.

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, 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.

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 numerous communal and civic organizations and serves on a number of boards. Her interests are focused on preventive medicine, childhood education, youth at risk and the arts.

Currently she is a director emeritus of Florida International University (FIU) foundation board. At FIU’s College of Medicine, she created the Joan and Harry B. Smith lecture services that brings notable speakers on preventive medicine, especially plant based/whole foods. Joan also serves on the board of the Ear Peace Foundation that focuses on the impact and prevention of noise induced hearing loss.

Ms. Smith is a board member of Food Studies Institute, and she is a former board member of the funding arts network which supports visual and performing arts programs in Miami. She is also a member of the Coconut Grove Woman’s Club which is dedicated to the promotion of public welfare, education, civic improvement, historic preservation and the advancement of the arts and culture. Ms. Smith is a past board chair of the Children’s Home Society (SE division) that provides vital services to strengthen the family unit. 

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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