To advance the public's health and well-being through education, research & service
with a focus on issues affecting Louisiana
Melinda S. Sothern, Ph.D., C.E.P.
Director of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences/Professor of Research/Clinical Exercise Physiologist
BA Health and Physical Education - 1989
BS Arts and Sciences - 1990
MEd Exercise Physiology - 1991
PhD Exercise Physiology/Curriculum & Instruction - 1997
Dr. Sothern is currently serving as Principal Investigator on two National Institute of Health (NIH)-sponsored studies entitled, Molecular and Social Determinants of Obesity in Developing Youth and Obesity and Asthma: Determinants of Inflammation and Effects of Intervention. She also serves as Principal Investigator of a Louisiana Office of Public Health Maternal and Child Health sponsored study, An Intervention to Promote Environmental Changes in Pre-school Centers to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NAP SACC). Dr. Sothern previously served as a principal Investigator on two other NIH-sponsored studies entitled, Exploring Mechanisms of the Metabolic Syndrome in African American and Caucasian Youth and Insulin Sensitivity in Children with Low Birth Weight, and co-investigator on the NIH-sponsored study, Anthropometric Assessment of Abdominal Obesity and Health Risk in Children and Adolescents (RC1) and another NIH-sponsored, 6-year study entitled, Increasing Physical Activity Patterns in Adolescent Girls: the TAAG Study, with seven other sites nationwide. She also previously directed the physical activity intervention of the NIH-sponsored study, Environmental Approaches for the Prevention of Weight Gain: The Wise Mind Study, and served as Co-PI and/or mentor of three additional NIH-funded studies: 1) Environmental Determinants of Physical Activity in Parks (K01), 2) Training translational researchers in Louisiana (COBRA), 3) Measurement of Sedentary Behavior in African American Adults (K01). Dr. Sothern also served as consultant to several NIH funded projects including, a school based study entitled, LA Health at the LSU PBRC.
Dr. Sothern co-authored a position paper and serves as faculty for the American Dietetic Association pediatric weight management certification program. She is considered a national spokesperson for overweight youth and has been featured extensively in national and international television, radio and print media including: Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN International, Fox News TV, 48 Hours, Nickelodeon TV, The Oprah Show, Discovery Channel, NPR Radio, Yorkshire TV British Broadcasting Co., USA Today, Associated Press – World News, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, LA Times, Parents Magazine, Parenting, Better Homes and Garden, Prevention Magazine, Psychology Today, WebMD, and many others.
Dr. Sothern led her field in establishing standardized guidelines for prescribing exercise for children with increasing levels of obesity and is best known for her work in promoting active play as a means of preventing and treating childhood obesity. In acknowledgement of her achievements, she received the University of New Orleans Dr. Vane Wilson Award in recognition of excellent work and service in the field of human performance and health promotion in May of 2000. She has been a member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and The Obesity Society for more than twenty years, is a fellow and former council member of The Obesity Society and a member of the Annual Scientific Program Planning and Education committees. In 2007, Dr. Sothern served as Chairman of the Publications committee and supervised the transition of the scientific journal entitled, Obesity, to publication in the Nature Publishing Group. She co-founded the Pediatric Obesity Interest Group, which is now formally integrated into The Obesity Society as the Pediatric Obesity Section. Dr. Sothern was a scientific presenter for The Obesity Society Distinguished Lecture Series in 2004, the Southeast American College of Sports Medicine Distinguished Lecturer in the Fall of 2007 and was chosen as the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health Faculty inductee for outstanding public health performance in scholarship, teaching, research and publications in October, 2007. In June of 2011, she provided the keynote lecture for the 2011 US Public Health Service Commissioned Officer Scientific and Training Symposium and delivered an invited lecture for the 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Scientific Meeting. Dr. Sothern is also a member of the American Heart Association/Clinton Foundation Advisory Board and is a Scientific Advisory Board Member for the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation, St. George’s University, School of Medicine, Grenada. During the past 23 years she provided over 200 invited scientific lectures to universities, medical centers and scientific meetings. She is a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, numerous pediatric, obesity and exercise scientific journals and provides scientific advice to several major national and international corporations including Gerber Foods, Kraft Foods, Nestle International, Knoll Pharmaceuticals, Health Nutrition Technology, Susan Dell Foundation and the Disney Corporation.
Children's Hospital , Pediatric Obesity Treatment Intervention, Clinical Exercise Physiologist. 1991-to present.
Health Promotion Program Development, Spring, 2005; Spring, 2006; Spring, 2008; Spring, 2009
|Committees & Administrative Responsibilities||
Reviewer, Joint WHO/FAO expert consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases.
October, 2009 to present - Planning - Scientific Meeting, The Obesity Society
January, 2008 to present - Childhood Obesity Working Group, The Obesity Society
November, 2006 to October, 2008 - Education Committee, The Obesity Society
Member of the State of Louisiana, Department of Health and Hospitals, Ad Hoc Committee on the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity.
Member, Promotion and Tenure Committee, LSUHSC, School of Public Health, May 2008 to present.
Member, Curriculum and Evaluation Committee, LSUHSC, School of Public Health, August, 2004 to 2007 and 2008-2009.
Chair and Member, Curriculum and Evaluation Committee, Department of Behavioral and Community Health, LSUHSC, School of Public Health, February, 2005 to present
Member and Lecturer: Louisiana's Report Card on Children's Health-related Physical Activity
Co-founder and Chair, Louisiana Childhood Obesity Research Consortium (LA CORC), 2009-2010
Sothern, M., Safe and Effective Exercise for Overweight Youth, Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL , 2013.
Katz, D., Daniels, S., Gardner, C., Goodman, E., Hassink, S., Sothern, M, What we don't know: Unanswered questions about childhood obesity, Childhood Obesity 8(1): 7-12, 2012.
LeBlanc, M., Martin, C., Han, H., Newton, R. Jr, Sothern, M., Webber, L., et. al., Adiposity and physical activity are not related to academic achievement in school-aged children., Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. , 2012.
Larson-Meyer, E., Newcomer, B., Ravussin, E., Volaufova, J., Bennett, B., Chalew, S. Cefalu, W., and Sothern, M., Intrahepatic and Intramyocellular Lipid are Determinants of Insulin Resistance in Pre-pubertal Children, Diabetologia 54 (4): 869-75, 2011.
Bennett, Bennett, B, Larson-Meyer, E, Ravussin, R, Volaufova, J, Soros, A, Cefalu, W, Chalew, S, Gordon, S, Smith, S, Newcomer, B, Goran, M, Sothern, M, Impaired Insulin Sensitivity and Elevated Ectopic and Visceral Fat in Obese Versus Non-Obese Healthy Prepubertal Children, Obesity (E-10.1038/oby.2011.264), 2011.
Sothern, M, Caprio, S., Daniels, S., Gordon, S., Ludwig, D., New ways to overcome old barriers: Engaging Pediatricians and primary care physicians in obesity prevention and intervention, Childhood Obesity 6(5): 240-246, 2010.
Sothern, M., Tobacco, formula, and frequent pregnancies: the obesity trinity, Childhood Obesity 6(4): 166, 2010.
Sothern, M., Gordon, S., & von Almen, K. (Eds), Handbook of Pediatric Obesity: Clinical Management, Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL , 2006.
Sothern, M. Schumacher, H. & Von Almen, TK, Trim Kids: The Proven Plan that has Helped Thousands of Children Achieve a Healthier Weight, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY. , 2001.
- BEHAVIORAL & COMMUNITY
- ENVIRONMENTAL & OCCUPATIONAL
- HEALTH POLICY & SYSTEMS
- RESEARCH & SERVICE PROGRAMS:
- LOUISIANA TUMOR REGISTRY
- CANCER CONTROL PROGRAM /
LOUISIANA BREAST &
- TOBACCO CESSATION INITIATIVE /
TOBACCO FREE LIVING
- TRIM TEENS
- INITIATIVE FOR EVALUATION
AND CAPACITY BUILDING
- DELTA REGION AETC
- NURSE FAMILY PARTNERSHIP
- CENTERS & INSTITUTES:
- INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC HEALTH