WASHINGTON, DC (December 19, 2017)—The Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University today announced that Jennifer Sacheck will join the school on January 1 as the Sanofi Professor of Prevention and Wellness, and Chair of the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences. The establishment of the Sanofi Professorship was made possible with a grant from The Sanofi Foundation for North America.
Sacheck has been serving as Co-Director of the Program in Nutrition Interventions, Communication and Behavior Change at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, where she has been a faculty member since 2005. She received her PhD in Nutrition Science from Tufts University in 2001 and is a nationally recognized expert in nutrition and physical activity, with a special focus on keeping children fit and healthy.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Sacheck as the new Chair for the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences,” said Lynn Goldman, MD, MPH, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of Milken Institute SPH. “With her impressive research/academic and teaching achievements, Dr. Sacheck is well-positioned to lead the department into a future in which nutrition and exercise science will play an increasingly vital role in disease prevention.”
During her tenure at Tufts University she led several large community-based studies with a primary focus on nutrition and physical activity health disparities among underserved school children including the Daily D Health Study and the ongoing Fueling Learning through Exercise (FLEX) Study–both funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Daily D study looked at schoolchildren in the Boston area over the winter months who were vitamin D deficient or at risk for this nutritional deficiency. Sacheck and her colleagues found that to bring most of the children up to sufficiency took a dose of vitamin D that was three times the recommended daily allowance for children.
The FLEX Study is examining the impact of two innovative school-based programs on physical activity and academic achievement among low-income children. In a prior study, Sacheck and her colleagues found that improving or maintaining children’s physical fitness, not only prevents weight gain the elementary school years, but can help overweight and obese students achieve a healthy weight.
And in 2013 Sacheck co-authored a best-selling book, “Thinner This Year.” The book gives readers a scientifically-based roadmap that focuses on better eating habits and regular physical activity in order to get in shape and maintain a healthy weight.
Her past research includes several reports on obesity and physical activity in the New England area and she’s authored or co-authored numerous studies on the intersection of nutrition, physical activity and health promotion in top academic journals.
She was appointed a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s committee on Fitness and Health Outcomes in Youth and is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, where she serves on a number of advisory committees on national health policy and youth sport/health initiatives.
Sacheck’s passion for physical activity started in high school when she discovered rowing and was a member of a crew team that won a national title her senior year. That was followed by a full athletic scholarship to Syracuse University, where she was crew team captain, named Academic All-American, and graduated with a B.S. in biology. She was inducted into the Syracuse Rowing Hall of Fame in 2015.
She followed that up in short order with a masters in Exercise Science, a PhD in Nutrition Science from Tufts University and a post-doctoral fellowship in muscle physiology at Harvard Medical School.
Sacheck, who is still a competitive master’s-level rower and avid runner, says she is looking forward to her move to the Washington, DC area. “I am honored to join the school at a time when discoveries in the field of exercise science and nutrition are playing such a pivotal role in preventing disease and keeping people healthy,” said Sacheck. She will begin her new role at Milken Institute SPH on Jan. 1.