Leadership Team

Our distinguished, multi-disciplinary leadership team comprises the best strategic, operational, and organizational strengths from academia and the private sector.

Peter R. Dolan, MBA, Chair

Peter Dolan is the Chair of ChildObesity180. He has served as Chairman and CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb and later as Chairman and CEO of Gemin X, a venture capital backed oncology company that was successfully sold to Cephalon. He is a Senior Non-Executive Director of Allied Minds, an innovation company that forms, funds, manages and builds startups based on early-stage technology originating from U.S. universities and federally funded research institutions.

Mr. Dolan has 30 years of operating experience, with 18 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb and 8 years at General Foods. Beginning his career in marketing at General Foods, he moved to Bristol-Myers in 1988. Among other responsibilities, he was President of the company’s Products Division (1993) and Mead Johnson Nutritionals (1995). He was Group President of Medical Devices and Nutritionals (1997) and later promoted to become President of Bristol-Myers Squibb (2000) and Chairman and CEO of the company (2001). He served until 2006 as the company’s CEO. From 2008 – 2011 he was a director of Gemin X, initially on the board as an independent director and, from 2009 until the company’s sale in 2011, he was Chairman and CEO.

Mr. Dolan is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Tufts University. He served in several leadership capacities with the Board, including Vice Chair, and as a member of the Compensation, Academic Affairs and Audit Committees, before his election as Chairman in November 2013.

He also serves as a member of the Board for the Partnership for a Healthier America. Most recently, Mr. Dolan served on the Board of Overseers of the Tuck School at Dartmouth College and on the Board of Directors of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Additionally, he served on the boards of the American Express Company, Vitality Health (a for-profit health and wellness company), C-Change (a cancer coalition organization), and was Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Mr. Dolan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in 1978 in Social Psychology and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He has run several marathons, numerous triathlons and completed the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in October 2007.


Christina D. Economos, PhD, Co-Founder and Director

Christina Economos is co-Founder and Director of ChildObesity180, the New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition, and an Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and at the Medical School, at Tufts University.

Dr. Economos’ research efforts have addressed the interaction among nutrition, exercise, body composition, bone health, and the built environment, toward preventing osteoporosis and obesity, starting in early childhood. As the principal investigator of large-scale research studies, her goal is to inspire behavior, policy, and environmental change to reduce obesity and improve the health of America’s children. She has worked effectively with diverse communities and has crafted, implemented, and evaluated a physical activity and nutrition education curriculum. At ChildObesity180 she blends scientific evidence and rigor with innovation and experience from the private sector to develop, implement, evaluate, and scale high-impact obesity prevention initiatives. Dr. Economos led the Shape Up Somerville study demonstrating that it is possible to reduce excess weight gain in children through multiple leverage points within an entire community. 

The research interventions Dr. Economos has led include: the BONES (Beat Osteoporosis: Nourish and Exercise Skeletons) Project funded by NICHD; Shape Up Somerville, EAT SMART, PLAY HARD funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); The CHANGE Project with Save the Children; The Balance Project funded by the PepsiCo Foundation; and Assessing and Preventing Obesity in New Immigrants, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition to Dr. Economos’ role as Director of ChildObesity180, she is also currently an investigator of the Shape Up Under 5 study, funded by the NIH, and she has authored over 100 scientific publications.

Dr. Economos is involved in national obesity and public health activities and has served on several Institute of Medicine committees, including the Committee on an Evidence Framework for Obesity Prevention Decision-Making, the Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, the Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention, and the Roundtable for Obesity Solutions, as well as an invited member of American Heart Association’s Nutrition Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health. Dr. Economos received a Bachelor of Science from Boston University, a Master of Science in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University and a doctorate in Nutritional Biochemistry Science from Tufts University.


Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, Co-Founder and Senior Advisor

Miriam Nelson, PhD, is Associate Dean at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and founder and former director of the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention at Tufts University.

As founder of the center, Nelson assembled a world-class faculty and staff focused on innovative research, training future leaders, and influencing public policy to improve the nation’s food and physical environment. Through its research and outreach, the center has trained more than  5,600 allied health professionals and community partners to implement healthy change in their communities. Tens of thousands of individuals across the nation participated directly in the Children in Balance and StrongWomen research initiatives.

As a leader in research targeting women’s health, Nelson has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and other publications on the impact of both nutrition and exercise on the prevention of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Based on her seminal study on the benefits of exercise for women and subsequent innovative research, Nelson has published nine books including Strong Women Stay Young and four other New York Times bestsellers. Published in 14 languages, the books have sold more than a million copies worldwide. Her tenth book, The Social Network Diet: Change Yourself, Change the World, was published in September 2011. Nelson’s research has been the foundation of the StrongWomen Program, a community-based nutrition and exercise program for midlife and older women currently being implemented in more than 35 states.

In addition to her academic work, Nelson has contributed broadly to public policy initiatives. In 2007 and 2008, Dr. Nelson served as the vice chair of the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee for the US Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Miriam Nelson has been selected to be one of the 15 nationally recognized experts appointed to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Nelson is one of two members returning from the 2010 Committee. She will be serving with her close colleague, Dr. Alice Lichtenstein, Committee Vice Chair. She currently serves on the board of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition Science.


Linda Harelick, DrPH, Director of Operations and Communications

Linda Harelick is Director of Operations and Communications at ChildObesity180. She has significant experience in several of the key sectors that are part of ChildObesity180.

Harelick spent 17 years at Kraft Foods, overseeing strategic planning and marketing for iconic brands such as Maxwell House Coffee and Post Cereal. She became Senior Vice President of Consumer Services where she strengthened Kraft’s ability to connect and deepen relationships with consumers. Upon leaving Kraft Foods in 2008, she returned to academia to earn a doctorate in public health policy and management. She completed an internship in the area of preconception health, assessing knowledge and behaviors among lower socioeconomic populations of women. Her dissertation focused on disparities in oral health outcomes and  access to dental services. While completing her degree, she served as the Associate Project Director of a regional health planning initiative.

Harelick’s interest in public health stems from her early career as a registered dietitian. She practiced in the clinical and research settings at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women’s Hospital. While at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, she worked on The Modification of Diet in Renal Disease Study as a Senior Research Dietitian.

Dr. Harelick received a doctorate in public health from New York Medical College, a master of science degree in dietetics from the MGH Institute of Health Professions, a master of business administration degree from Columbia Business School, and bachelor of science degree in nutrition from Syracuse University.


David Bliss, Consultant

David Bliss is the former President and CEO of Oliver Wyman Delta, a global organizational consulting firm that works with CEOs, senior teams, boards of directors, and other senior executives in the design and leadership of large-scale organizational change and transitions. He was with the firm for more than 21 years and retired from Oliver Wyman Delta in June 2010.

Bliss’s areas of focus and interests include CEO leadership, CEO succession, board effectiveness, designing and implementing large-scale change, collaborative strategy development, and senior team effectiveness. Bliss’s clients have been in pharmaceuticals, media, telecommunications, technology, financial services, transportation, and consumer products.

Before joining Delta, Bliss spent 21 years at Xerox Corporation, where he held senior line and staff positions in sales, marketing, product planning and development, business unit management, and corporate strategy.

Bliss is a graduate of the Executive Program of the School of Organization and Management at Yale University, and holds a bachelor of science degree in marketing and finance from Babson College.


Margaret E. Maruschak, Consultant

Since 2002, Maruschak has headed her own New York‐based international consulting company, Margaret E. Maruschak, LLC, specializing in strategic planning/policy/communications. Among other clients, she has provided counsel to Bristol‐Myers Squibb on various issues regarding the company’s leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS (i.e., the more than $200 million Secure the Future Program in Africa); the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency’s PACT (Program of Action for Cancer Therapy) in Vienna, Austria; and the non‐partisan, not‐for‐profit cancer organization, CChange, co‐chaired by former U.S. President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush.

Maruschak received her master of arts in political science from Georgetown University and a bachelor of arts in English and French from the University of Detroit. After six years as a speech writer in the Washington, DC office of US Senator Lawton Chiles (D‐FL) and, later, as DC Office Manager, Maruschak  joined the Bristol‐Myers Squibb Company. For the next 24 years, she served in a variety of strategic policy capacities, including Corporate Vice President for International Public Affairs. Her responsibilities included leadership in formulating global communications strategy on policy issues and crises involving environmental, pharmaceutical, nutritional, human rights and other ethical/marketing issues, as well as serving as liaison to the World Health Organization.