Dr. Lawrence Cheskin
In 1990, when obesity was not the public health epidemic it is today, Dr. Lawrence Cheskin noticed that Johns Hopkins, in spite of being a world leader in innovative health care, lacked a clinical treatment program for obesity and weight management. Cheskin combined his years of clinical experience in gastroenterology with a long-term interest in the nutritional management of disease to create an innovative weight management clinic that is one of only a handful in the country connected to a research university. Clinical research is crucial to developing effective and sustainable weight loss treatment plans and for shining light on the shortcomings of the many “quick fix” approaches that keep overweight individuals in a frustrating cycle of weight loss and gain.
Dr. Cheskin's approach is both no-nonsense and admirably non-dogmatic. “I thought it was a benefit that I didn't have a specific model in mind when I created the Center,” Cheskin explains, “because I could pick and choose from what works. I knew that to effectively treat the complicated underlying factors contributing to obesity, I would need a multifaceted approach. Our team includes a dietician, a psychologist, and an exercise physiologist who contribute to each patient’s assessment. All components are absolutely critical to success, but because people respond well to having a doctor guide their treatment plan, I act as the team leader.”
The Weight Management Center not only filled a niche for Johns Hopkins but fit well with the public health mission of the Center for Human Nutrition. Now an associate professor in Nutrition, Cheskin is one of several Center faculty developing effective strategies to treat and prevent obesity and chronic disease. Students have found his clinical expertise a unique asset to their educational experience. “Dr. Cheskin is determined to get every student to find the ‘truth’ in the literature on weight management,” says Wendy Pavlovich, an MHS student.