2025 Health meets Food: the Culinary Medicine Conference Speakers

2025 Health meets Food: the Culinary Medicine Conference Speakers


Barbara Kowlacyk, PhD
Milken Institute School of Public Health

Dr. Kowlacyk currently serves as Chair of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Science Board and has served on numerous other advisory committees, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Board of Scientific Counselors Food Safety Modernization Act Surveillance Working Group. She also co-authored a report by the National Academy of Sciences that became the blueprint for the Act, signed by President Barack Obama in 2011, that was the first major reform of food oversight at the FDA since 1938.

“For over 20 years, I have worked to put in place risk-informed, systems-based approaches to food safety. At GW, these efforts will expand to include nutrition security, which considers equitable access to safe, nutritious and affordable food that promotes health and well-being. Too often, efforts to improve food safety, nutrition and food security are siloed, leading to unintended consequences. This new Center will advance integrated approaches to addressing existing and emerging food safety and nutrition security problems in the U.S. and abroad.”

She received a B.A. in Mathematics from University of Dayton in 1991 and an M.A. in Applied Statistics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in Environmental Health (Epidemiology/Biostatistics) from the University of Cincinnati in 2011.

Christine Zurawski, MD
Piedmont Healthcare

Dr Zurawski graduated from the University of Michigan Honors College in 1986 with a degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology. She earned her medical degree at Emory University School of Medicine. She also completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine. Following her fellowship, Dr Zurawski served as a Research Associate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Emory University School of Medicine.

She began practicing at Piedmont Hospital in 1998 and, aside from the practice of general infectious diseases, she is actively involved in clinical research of new HIV therapies. Dr Zurawski is also the Medical Director for Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship for Piedmont Healthcare. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases


Jen Gunter, MD

I am an OB/GYN and a pain medicine physician. I write a lot about sex, science, and social media, but sometimes I write about other things because, well, why not?

I’ve been called Twitter’s resident gynecologist, the Internet’s OB/GYN, and one of the fiercest advocates for women’s health. I have devoted my professional life to caring for women.

I’m here to build a better medical Internet. You can’t be empowered about your health if you have incorrect information. I got interested in online snake oil and dubious science when my own children were born extremely prematurely. I found separating the facts from the fiction difficult and I am a doctor, so I started thinking if this is hard for me how does everyone else manage? It put the bad information that my own patients were bringing into the office in perspective. I know people sit up late at night Googling things and fall down rabbit holes of misinformation because I’ve been there!

 Richard S. Legro, MD, FACOG
Penn State University

Dr. Richard Legro’s primary interests as a clinical and translational researcher have been in the field of reproductive endocrinology and human infertility. He has a long-standing interest in all aspects of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrinopathy in women. His studies have focused on the diagnosis, treatment and genetic/environmental causes of PCOS, as well as on improving infertility diagnosis and treatment. He has worked with multiple clinical trial/research groups to develop novel and important investigator-initiated, multi-center trials to answer clinical questions about the role of lifestyle modification, medical agents and surgery to improve human reproductive function and treat infertility.

Through these studies, Dr. Legro has pioneered the tracking of outcomes in mothers from preconception through pregnancy to the postpartum period, and infants from birth onward. He has been the principal investigator on many National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded grants, including a lead investigator of the Reproductive Medicine Network for 20 years, and has been continuously funded by the NIH for 25 years.


Tara Scully, PhD
George Washington University Global Food Institute

Tara A. Scully is the Director of the Sustainability Minor Program and an Assistant Professor of Biology at the George Washington University. At GW, she regularly teaches introductory biology and sustainability courses and laboratories to non-science majors. She teaches seven different courses, four in biology for non-science majors which are lab and service-based and three signature courses in sustainability program. The Biology of Nutrition and Health; The Ecology and Evolution of Organisms; Food, Nutrition, and Service; Understanding Organisms through Service Learning; Introduction to Sustainability; Culminating Experience in Sustainability, and World on a Plate by Chef José Andrés.

Dr. Scully received her MS, specializing in forensic science research with a concentration on fiber evidence and a PhD with a research focus on developmental biology from The George Washington University. She has authored many research articles along with the book: Discovering Biology in the Lab: An Introductory Laboratory Manual as well as Why We Eat Food. Dr. Scully works with many different DMV area community partners on topics ranging from nutrition to invasive species. Her service and instructional work has resulted in being awarded the university-wide Faculty Engagement Award 2016 from the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service and the 2019 Morton Bender Teaching Award.

Bill Dietz, MD, PhD
George Washington University Global Food Institute

William (Bill) Dietz is the Director of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University. He is also the Sumner M. Redstone Center Chair. Dietz is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and serves as a consultant to the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions. He is the Director of the STOP Obesity Alliance at The George Washington University. He is Co-Chair of the Washington, DC Department of Health’s Diabesity Committee, a Commissioner on the Washington, DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s Healthy Youth & Schools Commission, and Chair of its Subcommittee on Physical Activity. Dietz is also Co-Chair of The Lancet Commission on Obesity.From 1997-2012, Dietz was the Director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity in the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Prior to his appointment to the CDC, he was a Professor of Pediatrics at the Tuft’s University School of Medicine, and Director of Clinical Nutrition at the Floating Hospital of New England Medical Center Hospitals. He received his BA from Wesleyan University in 1966 and his MD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. After the completion of his residency at Upstate Medical Center, he received a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981. He is the author of more than 200 publications in the scientific literature, and the editor of five books, including Clinical Obesity in Adults and Children (now in its 2nd edition), and Nutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know.

Rachel Clark
Policy Director, Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness

Rachel Clark serves as the Policy Director for the Redstone Global Center for Prevention & Wellness, Department of Prevention and Community Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, the George Washington University.

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