Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, FTOS, Director of the Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity and Associate Professor of Health, Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Q: What is your title and organizational affiliation?
A: I founded and direct the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, a multidisciplinary treatment program. I am also Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity, an NIH U54 grant-supported program to study childhood obesity and its prevention through a systems-science approach.
Q: Please tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory?
A: My areas of expertise are obesity treatment and prevention. I have performed a number of controlled clinical trials and laboratory studies of different diet techniques.
Q: What is one of your professional or personal qualities that has contributed to your success?
A: Adaptability. In today's world, it is critically important to be very open-minded, and be able to make the most of the resources that you have, as there are many ways to achieve one's goals.
Q: What advice do you have for today's junior obesity researchers?
A: Network! Today's research environment requires active collaborations. Knowing others in your field and their work will enable you to maximize the opportunities to enhance your work through collaborations with others.
Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?
A: There are any number of exciting areas in obesity research that are rapidly evolving. One of my favorites is the emerging field of applying systems-science approaches to understand the complexity of obesity and to model and choose treatments of the future that will have the greatest impact. I am also excited by the potential to extend the reach of healthcare practitioners in the field of obesity treatment through the use of individualized and interactive health and health communication technologies.
Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
A: My wife and I started an animal rescue two years ago on an old historic farm in Ellicott City, Maryland (Burleigh Manor Animal Sanctuary). We specialize in neglected and abandoned farm animals and have horses, mules, donkeys, pigs, goats, sheep and even a cow. That keeps us busy and entertained when not at work!