Karen A. Donato, SM

2013 Atkinson-Stern Award for Distinguished Public Service

k Donato

Karen A. Donato, S.M., is the Acting Director of the Division for the Application of Research Discoveries (DARD) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For three years, she served as DARD’s Deputy Director and Branch Chief of the Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Branch where she oversees research translation efforts into clinic and community-based settings. Ms. Donato joined the NIH Nutrition Coordinating Committee in the Office of the NIH Director in 1980, serving as the chair of the NIH Nutrition Education Subcommittee. Since joining NHLBI in 1986 she held a number of positions, including coordinator of Nutrition Education and Special Initiative, and the coordinator of Overweight and Obesity Research Applications. Specifically, she co-chairs the NHLBI Obesity Working Group, is a member of the NIH Obesity Research Task Force, and the HHS Healthy Weight Task Force.

She oversees the cardiovascular team working on the development of the NHLBI systematic evidence-based review process being used to update the expert panel reports on high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and overweight and obesity. Currently, she directs the evidence review to update the Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. She served as the executive director of the expert panel for these 1998 guidelines.

Ms. Donato developed a trans-NIH community based national education program entitled We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition) designed to provide parents, caregivers, and entire communities with strategies and tools to help children stay at a healthy weight. Ms. Donato has been a major contributor to: every update of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans since established in 1980; the Healthy People Objectives for the Nation; the Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Overweight and Obesity; and the NIH Strategic Plan on Obesity Research. She received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in foods and nutrition science from Marywood University in Scranton, PA, and a Master of Science degree in nutrition from the Harvard School of Public Health. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association, and is a Fellow of The Obesity Society.

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