Karen Donato Recognized with Atkinson-Stern Award for Distinguished Public Service

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The Obesity Society Recognizes Karen Donato, SM, for Significant Contributions to Obesity Research with the Atkinson-Stern Award for Distinguished Public Service

Awards Ceremony Takes Place at ObesityWeek, Nov. 11-16, in Atlanta


Nov. 14, 2013 - Atlanta, GA – The Obesity Society (TOS) recently announced that Karen Donato, SM, will receive its Atkinson-Stern Award for Distinguished Public Service. Ms. Donato is the Acting Director of the Division for the Application of Research Discoveries at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. This award, made possible by a gift from leading obesity researcher, Thomas A. Wadden, PhD, recognizes Ms. Donato for her significant work to improve the lives of those affected by obesity through public policy.


Ms. Donato was pivotal to the development of the current Obesity II Guidelines and Systematic Evidence Review. Her equanimity and expert leadership in promoting collaborative partnerships moved the project forward during the extensive evidence based process.


"I salute Ms. Donato for her unfailing positive attitude, hard work and perseverance,” said Harvey Grill, PhD, TOS President. “She represents the best of public service and her career accomplishments attest to her longstanding commitment to public service as a calling, rather than just a job.”


Ms. Donato's career began at the NIH in 1980 as the Nutritionist/Program Analyst in the NIH Office of the Director collecting, analyzing and coordinating programs of nutrition research and training for the (then) 12 Institutes and two divisions at NIH. In 1991, her focus at the NIH moved to obesity and she began to collaborate with researchers and NIH staff to translate new knowledge about overweight and obesity into education programs, clinical guidelines, and curricula for clinicians, patients and publics.


Throughout her career, she has been immersed in projects serving both patients and the public affected by obesity, clinicians who treat obesity, and scientists conducting obesity research.   A flagship program she developed, We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition!) provides the tools and tactics for parents and caregivers to help children maintain a healthy weight. Since its inception several years ago, We Can! has been implemented by more than 1600 communities in the U.S. and scores of organizations   We Can! recently entered into an exciting partnership with the First Lady’s Let’s Move Faith and Community Initiative.


In the development of the current Obesity II Guidelines and Evidence Review draft documents, she served as the Executive Director of the Obesity Panel and as Co-Team Leader on the Cardiovascular (CVD) Clinical Guidelines Initiative. This initiative launched the implementation of a rigorous systematic evidence review process and new state of the art methods that were used to develop five systematic evidence reviews and clinical guideline updates (namely, overweight and obesity, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, lifestyle and risk assessment). The same rigorous systematic evidence review process was used by the expert panels who worked on all of the reports.


“It is a great honor to receive the Atkinson-Stern Award for Distinguished Public Service,” said Ms. Donato. “I am deeply grateful to the TOS leadership and members. This award symbolizes our commitment, TOS and NIH, to reducing the individual and societal burden of overweight and obesity through research and programs for professionals and publics.”


Ms. Donato will be presented with this award at TOS’s Annual Scientific Meeting at ObesityWeekSM, Nov. 11-16, in Atlanta, GA. ObesityWeekSM is the premier annual scientific and educational conference for obesity professionals. This year marks the first year of the largest meeting of its kind dedicated to obesity research, treatment and prevention.


TOS developed its named awards program more than a decade ago to promote, reward and encourage research in the field of obesity. Each year TOS, the leading professional society dedicated to researching, treating and preventing obesity, announces the five esteemed recipients of its named awards to recognize the honorees for their scientific achievements and contributions to the basic science, treatment and prevention of obesity. Find information about this year’s additional awardees online here.


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About The Obesity Society (TOS)

TOS is the leading scientific society dedicated to the study of obesity. TOS is committed to encouraging research on the causes, treatment, and prevention of obesity as well as to keeping the scientific community and public informed of new advances in the field. For more information please visit: www.obesity.org.