Obesity and Cancer Section January 2010 Newsletter

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Obesity and Cancer Section

January 2011
Dear Collegues,

Welcome to the Obesity and Cancer Section January 2011 Newsletter!


We have developed the newsletter to keep you up-to-date on latest happening within the Section and to promote involvement and collaboration. Please contact us if you have issues you would like to see addressed or materials for Section members you would like to have considered for distribution.

Section Goals and Objectives



  • Facilitate networking among Section members and others to promote more research in obesity and cancer, across the continuum of research from cell and molecular biology, integrative biology, clinical studies, and population studies.
  • Encourage members (and recruit new members) to submit abstracts relevant to obesity and cancer to The Obesity Society's Annual Scientific Meeting.
  • Promote participation in TOS and cancer-obesity research among junior investigators and early career scientists.


  • Develop symposia concepts focused on obesity and cancer for The Obesity Society's Annual Scientific Meeting.
  • Contribute to the Society's target clinicians, including participation in meeting clinician-professional practice sessions, to increase their awareness of the relationship between obesity and cancer risk and progression.
  • Participate in the development and promote the dissemination of the American Cancer Society diet and physical activity prevention recommendations (To be updated in 2011)


  • Communicate accurate information about the obesity-cancer relationship to professional and lay audiences, as a representative of the Society and the Section.
  • Encourage the involvement of cancer researchers and advocates in obesity research and education, through membership in the Society and participation in Society activities.

Obesity and Cancer Leadership


The Obesity and Cancer Section would like to extend a sincere thank you to Dr. Cheryl Rock who led us over the past year. Under Dr. Rock's leadership the Section formulated its first scientific meeting, website and established goals and objectives to guide the activities of the Section.  Thank you Cheryl for your leadership and commitment to this effort!


We would also like to welcome Dr. Cynthia Thomson as the new Chair for the TOS Obesity and Cancer Section. She will serve as Section Chair through the October 2011 meeting. If you have questions, items, etc., you wish to have included in the Section newsletter, please contact Cyndi.


A brief bio for each of the leaders is provided below.



Cynthia Thomson, PhD, RD (Chair 2010-2011)

University of Arizona,

Tucson, AZ


Cynthia Thomson, PhD, RD, CSO is an associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and a member of the Arizona Cancer Center. She holds joint appointments in the College of medicine and the College of Public Health. Dr. Thomson directs the Behavioral Measurements Shared Resource at the Arizona Cancer Center, supporting the measurement and evaluation of diet, physical activity and related behaviors for cancer prevention investigators. Dr. Thomson's area of research includes dietary interventions for cancer prevention as well as weight control. She is interested in whole foods interventions as well as testing hypotheses related to the efficacy of bioactive food components to modify cancer risk. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and serves on three editorial boards. She is current chair of the national Women's Health Initiative Publications and Presentations Committee and was recently nominated for the NIH Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She joined TOS in 2009. 

Past-Chair: Cheryl L. Rock, PhD, RD (Chair 2009-2010)

University of California School of Medicine

San Diego, CA

Cheryl Rock, PhD, RD, is a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. Dr. Rock also leads the Nutrition Shared Resource of the Moores UCSD Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Rock's primary research efforts are focused on the role of nutritional and dietary factors in the development and progression of cancer, particularly breast cancer, and healthy weight management in adults. Her research efforts address diet and weight management, and how diet, adiposity and physical activity affect biomarkers and risk and progression of cancer and other chronic diseases. She has served on numerous NIH and USDA review panels and committees, and she currently serves on editorial boards for several peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Rock is the author of more than 200 scientific papers and book chapters. Dr. Rock has been a member of TOS since 2005 and a member of this Section since 2007.


Member Spotlight!


Rachel Ballard-Barbash, MD, MPH


Rachel Ballard-Barbash

Rachel Ballard-Barbash, MD, MPH, serves as the Associate Director of the Applied Research Program in DCCPS at NCI.  The program's  mission is to understand how and why cancer care and control activities in the United States influence patterns of care and trends in cancer burden through evaluation of patterns and trends in cancer-associated health behaviors and risk factors, health care services, economics, and outcomes, including patient-reported outcomes.  Her own research focuses in the areas of physical activity, diet and weight both at the individual and population and policy level and cancer quality of care in the area of screening and treatment.  She trained in environmental sciences, internal medicine, pediatrics, clinical nutrition, preventive medicine and has published widely.  Before her present position at NCI, she served as the nutrition policy advisor in the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for the US Department of Health and Human Services and has participated in the development and review of both general population and cancer specific reviews and guidelines related to diet, physical activity and weight. She was the NCI program director for the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium from 1995 to 2005 and has served as the NCI director of the International Cancer Screening Network since 1995.  She directs the Health, Eating, Activity and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study of Breast Cancer Prognosis, a multi-ethnic cohort of breast cancer survivors designed to examine the effect of physical activity, diet and weight on cancer biomarkers and outcomes.  She leads a NCI effort to advance research on the combined effects of physical activity and weight on cancer, serves on the Senior Leadership Group for the NIH Obesity Research Task Force and advances NIH's research in the NIH/CDC/RWJF/USDA National Collaboration on Childhood Obesity Research to advance research that identifies population level solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic.



Of Member Interest

NIH ENERGY Study to Test Weight Reduction in Breast Cancer Survivors


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded support to TOS members Dr. Cheryl Rock PhD,RD- University of California San Diego, Tim Byers, MD,MPH and Jim Hill, PhD of the University of Colorado in collaboration with Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, Washington University in St. Louis; and Patricia Ganz, MD, UCLA School of Medicine to conduct the first-of-its-kind, four-year clinical trial to show the effects of weight loss and maintenance of that loss on quality of life and co-morbid medical conditions in overweight breast cancer survivors. This trial is designed as a vanguard component of a larger study that will examine the effect of weight loss on recurrence risk for breast cancer survivors. The trial is known as the Exercise and Nutrition to Enhance Recovery and Good Health for You (ENERGY) study. 


Combining the investigators' experience in diet and exercise, cancer survivorship, nutritional epidemiology, breast oncology trials and breast cancer outcomes research, the team will conduct a vanguard randomized controlled study that tracks and measures improvements in quality of life and the co-morbidities of 800 overweight or obese breast cancer survivors. All study participants are at least 21 years old and have been diagnosed with stage IC, II, or IIIA breast cancer, and will be actively involved in a two-year intervention program. The weight-loss intervention uses a cognitive-behavioral, group-based program, telephone counseling and home-based support that has been developed and tested in previous successful studies conducted by the ENERGY study's investigators. Enrollment is currently open. Contact Dr. Cheryl Rock for more information.

Watch for...

Call for Abstracts

The Abstract Submission Site for Obesity 2011 will open February 11, 2011 and close March 23, 2011. The Obesity Society uses a completely online system for abstract submission, review, and publication. All accepted abstracts will be published in print and online.


Call for Nominations

Under the new bylaws, each section should have at minimum a Chair and Chair-Elect. There will be a call for nominations in April. We will be seeking to identify members who would like to serve as section leaders. Elected leaders will take office for the coming year, starting at the annual meeting in Orlando in October 2011.  Ballots will be open for voting in May.


For questions about this communication or about The Obesity Society, please contact Sadie Campbell, Governance and Executive Assistant at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  
(Please note: External Links are provided as a courtesy. The Obesity Society is not responsible for the content on sites accessed through external links.)

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