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NAHSL Conference 2012: Speakers

Official Website of the NAHSL Conference to be held in Woodstock, Vermont on October 28 - October 30, 2012

Plenary Speakers

NAHSL Conference 2012 Plenary Speakers

Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes
Why We Get Fat: Adiposity 101 and the Alternative Hypothesis of Obesity

The nation’s most powerful anti-obesity groups are teaming up for a new HBO documentary—but writer and blogger Gary Taubes claims it pushes the same tired advice. His  presentation spotlights the research they're ignoring. In his presentation he debunks  the conventional wisdom of fifty years that maintains that we get fat because we eat too much and move too little. It’s a nice idea, but  literally nonsensical. What’s the alternative? That obesity is a hormonal/enzymatic disorder, determined in large part by the nutrient content of the diet. A simple revision in the underlying assumptions about the cause of obesity leads to significant and far-reaching implications.

Biography:  Gary Taubes (born April 30, 1956) is an American science writer. He is the author of Nobel Dreams (1987), Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion (1993), and Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007), which is titled The Diet Delusion in the UK. He has won the Science in Society Award of the National Association of Science Writers three times and was awarded an MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellowship for 1996-97.

Born in Rochester, New York, Taubes studied applied physics at Harvard and aerospace engineering at Stanford (MS, 1978). After receiving a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University in 1981, Taubes joined Discover magazine as a staff reporter in 1982. Since then he has written numerous articles for Discover, Science and other magazines. Originally focusing on physics issues, his interests have more recently turned to medicine and nutrition.

Taubes’ books have all dealt with scientific controversies. Nobel Dreams takes a critical look at the politics and experimental techniques behind the Nobel Prize-winning work of physicist Carlo Rubbia. Bad Science is a chronicle of the short-lived media frenzy surrounding the Pons-Fleischmann cold fusion experiments of 1989.

Lisa Schwartz, MD, MS 
Schwartz & Woloshin
Steven Woloshin, MD, MS
Seeing Through Exaggeration:  It's Overdue

Drs. Schwartz and Woloshin will highlight the exaggerations, distortions, and selective reporting that make some news stories, advertising, and medical journal articles “not so”. Through these real world examples, they will review common statistics and scientific principles needed to approach health information critically.

Biographies:  Drs. Schwartz and Woloshin are both professors of medicine and community and family medicine at the GeiselSchool of Medicine at Dartmouth, co-directors of the Center for Medicine and the Media at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice and co-directors of the VA Outcomes Group at the White River Junction VA Medical Center.

Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz's research addresses excessive fear and hope created by exaggerations, distortions, and selective reporting in medical journals, advertising, and the health news. They have worked to improve communication of medical evidence to physicians, journalists and the public. They are the co-author of 2 books: Know Your Chances and Overdiagnosed, columnists for the British Medical Journal, and their essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times

Gary SchwitzerGary Schwitzer
Infoxication: Health News Information Overload...And Ne'er A Drop To Drink

The American public is flooded daily by a firehose gushing unvetted claims about health care interventions, many coming from conflicted sources. Turning on the spigot are journalists, public relations and advertising professionals, and countless other claimants touting books, diets, cures and breakthroughs. Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt asks, "Where has civic education failed on health policy issues?" This presentation will give background on, a project that, for more than 6 years, has published daily evaluations of news stories and messages affecting the public dialogue about health care. It is predicated on the belief that we will never achieve meaningful health care reform if we don't improve the public's critical analysis of claims about treatments, tests, products and procedures.

Biography:  Gary Schwitzer has specialized in health care journalism for almost 40 years. He is publisher of the website, leading a team of people who grade daily health news reporting by major U.S. news organizations. For nine years he taught health journalism and media ethics at the University of Minnesota. Gary worked in television medical news for 15 years – including leading the CNN medical news unit. Throughout the ‘90s he worked for the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making based at Dartmouth Medical School, producing shared decision-making programs. In 2000, he was the founding editor-in-chief of The Kaiser Family Foundation published his 2009 report on the state of U.S. health journalism. In 2010, he wrote “Covering Medical Research: A Guide For Reporting on Studies” for members of the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ). His blog was voted 2009 Best Medical Blog in one competition. His articles on health journalism have appeared in many different publications, including the Columbia Journalism Review, Nieman Reports, the website, the Journal of the American Medical Association, BMJ, PLoS Medicine, and the newsletters and websites of the Association of Health Care Journalists and of the American Society of News Editors. He has taught health journalism workshops in the NIH Medicine in the Media series, at the MIT Medical Evidence boot camps, at AHCJ national conferences, at AHCJ chapters in NY, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco, and at National Cancer Institute workshops in Rio de Janeiro, Guadalajara and Beijing.

Chris BohjalianChris 
How much research does a novel really need? Can a writer overdose on the details?

New York Times bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian is known for going to enormous lengths to create a sense of authenticity in his work. Certainly that's the case in his historical fiction ("Skeletons at the Feast" and "The Sandcastle Girls"). But how much research is enough for a literary thriller such as "The Double Bind" or a ghost story such as "The Night Strangers?" What about a novel such as "Midwives," about a home birth gone tragically wrong? Chris will discuss how he researches his fiction -- and how to balance art and authenticity.

Biography:  Chris Bohjalian is the author of fifteen books, including the New York Times bestsellers, The Night Strangers, Secrets of Eden, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, Before You Know Kindness, The Law of Similars, and Midwives.

His new novel, The Sandcastle Girls, will be published on July 17. It is an historical love story set in the First World War. You can read more about it here.

Secrets of Eden, his 2010 novel, premiered as a Lifetime Television movie on February 4, 2012. It starred John Stamos and Anna Gunn.

Chris won the New England Society Book Award (for The Night Strangers) in 2012, as well as the New England Book Award in 2002 and the Anahid Literary Award in 2000.  His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah's Book Club, a Publishers Weekly "Best Book," and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. His work has been translated into over 25 languages and three times become movies ("Secrets of Eden," "Midwives," and "Past the Bleachers"). You can see some of the international covers on this web site.

He has written for a wide variety of magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, and has been a Sunday columnist for Gannett's Burlington Free Press since 1992. Chris graduated from Amherst College, and lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.