Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine hosts inaugural childhood obesity conference

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will host its first childhood obesity conference Wednesday, Oct. 2., at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena Grand Ballroom.

The day-long conference features keynote speaker Jeffrey M. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., discoverer of the obesity gene, leptin. His presentation, “Discovery of Leptin Gene and the Biologic Basis of Obesity,” begins at noon.

Friedman is the 2010 recipient of the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, which honors scientists whose fundamental investigations have provided techniques, information, or concepts contributing to the elimination of major causes of disability and death. He is a professor at The Rockefeller University and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

“We are extremely pleased that Dr. Friedman and our other guests are joining us for this inaugural conference on obesity,” said Dr. Joseph I. Shapiro, dean of the School of Medicine. “Statistics show that our state leads the nation in the number of children who are obese. These numbers are staggering and we must develop collaborative partnerships to tackle what is truly an epidemic in West Virginia.”

Shapiro said the goal of the conference is to explore the synergy between research and community programs already in place, as well as to establish the framework for an obesity prevention institute at the school. He commended Dr. Nader G. Abraham, vice-dean for research, for developing the conference.

“Dr. Abraham’s vision for creating a conference that brings together professionals from the research, clinical, community and public policy areas is far-reaching in that it gives us a solid foundation on which we can build future programs geared toward achieving better health outcomes for all.”

Wednesday’s conference begins at 7:30 a.m. with registration for participants. Morning sessions feature speakers from the Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, the University of Connecticut Health Center, the West Virginia University School of Medicine and Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Friedman’s presentation is at noon and is followed by remarks by Karen Bowling, Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, at 1:30 p.m. The conference concludes with a 2 p.m. panel discussion with leaders from the scientific, public policy and community sectors.

Date Posted: Monday, September 30, 2013