The $174 Billion Question: How To Reduce Diabetes and Obesity
JULY 23, 2010
RONALD T. ACKERMANN, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P. is associate professor of medicine at the Indiana
University School of Medicine (IUSM) and director of the Community Health Engagement Program
at the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. He also serves as associate director of
the university’s Diabetes Translational Research Center and associate director of the IU Center for
Policy and Professionalism Research. Dr. Ackermann is a general internist with advanced training in
epidemiology, public health, and health policy research from the University of Washington School
of Public Health and Community Medicine in Seattle. He is considered a national expert in health
care-community partnerships to address unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and improve the prevention
and control of common chronic illnesses such as asthma, congestive heart failure and diabetes. Since
2003, he has been the principal architect and director of a large ongoing research program at IUSM
to evaluate the feasibility, costs and effectiveness of “partnered” approaches for preventing the
development of type 2 diabetes in American adults. Over this period, he has also served as an
expert advisor to national groups including the AHRQ, CDC, NIH, NCQA, the ADA, and the
Center for Health Care Strategies.
ROBERT BERENSON, M.D., is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. He is particularly known as an
expert on Medicare. He was a member of the Obama Administration transition team and earlier
served in senior positions in two administrations. He also helped organize and manage a successful
preferred provider organization. From 1998-2000, Dr. Berenson was in charge of Medicare payment
policy and private health plan contracting in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Previously, he served as an assistant director of the domestic policy staff for President Carter.
Effective July 2009, Dr. Berenson became a commissioner of the Medicare Payment Advisory
Commission (MedPAC) and was named vice-chair in 2010. Dr. Berenson is a board-certified
internist who practiced for 20 years, the last 12 in a Washington, D.C. group practice. He is a fellow
of the American College of Physicians. He was co-author, with Walter Zelman, of The Managed Care
Blues & How to Cure Them, and with Rick Mayes, of Medicare Payment Policy and the Shaping of U.S.
Health Care. He is a graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is a faculty member at the
George Washington University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and the Fuqua School of
Business at Duke.
DENEEN VOJTA, MD is senior vice president of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform
and Modernization. In this role, Dr. Vojta created the partnership with the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention and the YMCA–USA to launch the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
She now serves as executive vice president and chief clinical officer of the Diabetes Prevention and
Control Alliance. As a member of the core leadership group at UnitedHealth, Dr. Vojta supports the
development of innovative new solutions to the health care challenges facing the nation. Previously,
she served as vice president of research and innovation for the company. She forged practical and
sustainable solutions for issues confronting the health care system, including payment reform and
chronic care delivery – most notably introducing a Diabetes Health Plan to the commercial
marketplace. Before joining UnitedHealth, Dr. Vojta served as CEO of MYnetico, a company she
founded to focus on the child obesity epidemic facing the nation. She has 15 years of executive
experience in health system and health plan administration. Throughout her career, she has
successfully partnered with community stakeholders to improve the health care outcomes of her
constituents, served as a board member of non-profit health care institutions and received numerous
federal and foundation grants to investigate complex health care concerns. She received her BA
from the University of Pittsburgh and her MD from Temple University School of Medicine.
LYNNE VAUGHAN is senior vice president and chief innovation officer at YMCA of the USA.
As chief innovation officer, Ms. Vaughan ensures that the YMCA continues to be relevant in a
rapidly changing world. Since joining the organization in 2006, she has provided leadership in
identifying, developing and implementing large scale strategic opportunities that have the potential
to significantly strengthen and impact the growth of the YMCA movement. As the director of
membership and program development in the 1990s, Ms. Vaughan managed the department
responsible for the development of programs and member activities for YMCAs across the United
States. In addition, she created the first YMCA Healthy Kids® Day, a nationwide event conducted
in YMCAs that focuses on educating parents about the importance of healthy eating, physical
activity and strong relationships as a family. This event is now in its 16th year. Later, as vice
president of program and membership development at the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, she
had strategic oversight for program development and the creation of a multi-disciplinary program
for families with overweight children in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She
also led the Gulick Project, the largest organizational transformation effort undertaken by the
YMCA to address the nation’s current health crisis. Ms. Vaughan received her bachelor’s degree in
physical education from Western Michigan University. In addition to the YMCA’s professional
organization, Vaughan is involved in Harvard University’s Project Zero Learning Innovations
Laboratory Project.