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November 3, 2015

Hawk_EChild health non-profit organization, the CATCH Global Foundation, is excited to announce this week that Dr. Ernest Hawk, Vice President and Division Head for Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has joined their board.

“By promoting healthy lifestyles through evidence-based programs for children, CATCH provides an essential link connecting what we learn from research to the children, families, and communities who can benefit most from our findings,” Hawk said. “CATCH has played this crucial and challenging translational role for decades, preventing childhood obesity and its many associated adverse implications on health. I’m pleased to join the CATCH Global Foundation team as it aims to broaden its scope and extend its reach, thereby amplifying its impact.”

Dr. Hawk also leads the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment at MD Anderson, which investigates medical and lifestyle interventions to stop cancer development or slow its progression as part of its mission. He also co-leads MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention and Control Platform, which advances community health promotion and cancer control through evidence-based public policy, public and professional education, and community-based service implementation and dissemination.

“Dr. Hawk was one of the architects of the collaboration between MD Anderson and CATCH and we are delighted to have him on our board to guide and inspire our development,” said CATCH Global Foundation Executive Director Duncan Van Dusen. “He brings valuable experience, a long train of relationships, and an outstanding reputation which will help extend CATCH’s reach tremendously.”

MD Anderson partnered with the CATCH Global Foundation in February of this year, becoming a founding partner to the organization. CATCH®, an acronym for Coordinated Approach to Child Health, is a program that has been continually researched for 25 years, and is the most cost effective program to prevent childhood obesity. Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health continue to update and improve the CATCH curriculum.

The agreement is an initiative of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program, which aims to accelerate the conversion of scientific discoveries into advances that drastically reduce cancer deaths. MD Anderson has already launched Ray and the Sunbeatables™: A Sun Safety Curriculum for Preschoolers using CATCH as a vehicle for distribution. The evidence-based program has reached over 3,000 students this summer in six states across the country in its first summer.

Dr. Hawk is a distinguished addition to a board already composed of leading child health advocates, including:

Susan Combs is the former Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner. During her tenure as Comptroller, Combs made child obesity a top priority, issuing three reports and updates outlining the cost of obesity to Texas businesses, with recommendations to help reduce the incidence of obesity. While Agriculture Commissioner, TIME Magazine dubbed Susan Combs “The Cafeteria Crusader” in a 2004 article, highlighting her policies to cut carbonated drink sizes, and cookie, candy and chip portions in public schools.

Steve Kelder, PhD, MPH, is an original co-creator of CATCH, Associate Regional Dean and Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Science at the University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, and Co-Director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. He is a world-renowned child health expert with specialties in tobacco control, physical activity promotion and nutrition education.

Eduardo Sanchez, MD MPH, is Deputy Chief Scientific Officer of the American Heart Association. Eduardo was formerly Texas State Health Commissioner and Chief Medical Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has special expertise and concern working with populations at risk for chronic disease, as exemplified by his childhood obesity prevention work with the Institute of Medicine.

The board is rounded out by Peter Cribb, M.Ed, and Duncan Van Dusen, MPH, longtime supporters of CATCH and experts in the program.

For full PDF of our press release including contact information, please click here.