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Scott Kahan, M.D. to Assume Role of STOP Obesity Alliance Director

Founding Director Christine Ferguson, JD accepts position with State of Rhode Island to run the state’s health benefits exchange, maintains university post

WASHINGTON, DC – June 21, 2012 – Obesity expert and George Washington University (GW) faculty member Scott Kahan, MD, MPH has been named Director of the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, a national multi-stakeholder coalition based at the GW School of Public Health and Health Services, Department of Health Policy. Dr. Kahan previously served as the organization’s Clinical Advisor, providing counsel for the Alliance’s ongoing health research initiatives.

The leadership transition comes as founding Director Christine Ferguson was tapped by the Governor of Rhode Island to run the state’s health insurance exchange. Maintaining a part time faculty post at GW during her return to state service, Ferguson will continue to provide the Alliance with strategic leadership and support initiatives. She was closely involved in identifying Dr. Kahan for the director role.

“The STOP Obesity Alliance is lucky to have Dr. Scott Kahan take on this increased role. The coalition and the cause to overcome and prevent obesity will benefit from his deep knowledge of the issues – both from a clinical and public health perspective,” said Ferguson. “It has been an honor to work with Alliance members over the years and now to have the extraordinary opportunity to apply my experience on obesity issues and overall delivery system and insurance reform to a state at the forefront of healthcare transformation.”

Dr. Kahan, a physician trained in both clinical medicine and public health, is board-certified in Preventive Medicine and his clinical practice specializes in weight management and obesity medicine. He serves on the Faculty of the George Washington University School of Medicine and School of Public Health and Health Services and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He received his undergraduate degree in bioengineering from Columbia University, his medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, and his Masters of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Kahan has published 14 books in the fields of medicine, nutrition and public health and is the Editor-in-Chief of a series of medical texts that have been published internationally.

While director of the Alliance, he will remain in his post as Director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness where he specializes in preventive medicine and obesity prevention and treatment.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help lead the Alliance,” Kahan said. “The coalition has made great strides over the past five years to change the conversation in America about overweight, obesity and weight-related health risks through its multi-pronged approach to address the issue,” Kahan said. “With our members and work in the area, I believe we will achieve a healthier future.”

The academic home for the Alliance will remain at the GW School of Public Health and Health Services, Department of Health Policy. The established GW obesity research team will continue to provide the substantive knowledge base for the Alliance’s initiatives and projects.