Dawn is a Diagnostic Breast Specialist at Mayo Clinic Florida where she cares for women at an elevated risk for breast cancer, women undergoing active breast cancer treatment, and breast cancer survivorship. In 2015, Dawn developed the Integrative Medicine and Breast Health Program at Mayo Clinic Florida. The foundation of the program was built on the pillars of Lifestyle Medicine. In 2021, recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Doctors for dedication, achievements, and leadership in integrative oncology. Dawn is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Physician in the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of General Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Florida, and a Medical Director for the Lyndra P. Daniel Center for Humanities in Medicine. She is double board certified including Board Certification in Lifestyle Medicine, and is currently developing an elective Lifestyle Medicine Residency Curriculum with the support of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) that will be offered to all Mayo Clinic residents across the enterprise starting fall 2022.
Brenda Davis, registered dietitian, is a world leading plant-based pioneer and an internationally acclaimed speaker. Brenda has been a featured speaker at medical, nutrition, and dietetic conferences in 25 countries on 6 continents. As a prolific nutrition writer, Brenda has authored/co-authored 13 books with nearly a million copies in print in 15 languages. Brenda has also authored and co-authored numerous professional and lay articles and is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. Brenda was the lead dietitian in a diabetes intervention research project in the Marshall Islands. On her last trip (November 2017), she developed a nutrition education curriculum for kindergarten through grade 6 and trained teachers in all public schools. Brenda was the recipient of the Plantrician Project’s 2022 Luminary Award.
Jengyu Lai earned his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) and completed a Biomechanics Research fellowship and Podiatric Orthopedic residency at the Des Moines University. He subsequently completed an NIH fellowship in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Lai emphasizes an integrative approach to treat and manage the lower extremity problems. He also focuses on applying lifestyle medicine principles to assess and treat the root causes of common lower limb conditions. Dr. Lai currently practices at Rochester Clinic and is a certified physician wound specialist, Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) facilitator and Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) coach. He also serves on the boards of Lotus Health Foundation and Academy of Physicians in Wound Healing.
Brian Carlsen, M.D. is a father of four, a surgeon, and an athlete. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a 3rd year medical student and was able to continue to pursue his life goals of a career in surgery. He specializes in hand surgery and upper and lower limb reconstruction at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In 2014, he discovered a whole food, plant-based diet and never looked back. He has 9 years of experience with this dietary lifestyle while optimizing his diabetes control, a busy career, family life, and competing in endurance sports. He loves helping others on this path that has been dramatically life changing for him.
Thomas E. Kottke, MD, MSPH, Medical Director for Well-Being at HealthPartners and Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, is also a health services researcher at the HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dr. Kottke obtained his MD degree from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal) and at North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill. He received an MSPH in epidemiology from the School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where he was also a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. Dr. Kottke trained in cardiovascular diseases and preventive cardiology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Kottke is board certified in internal medicine and the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Kottke was a member of the first US Preventive Services Task Force and the three federal panels that authored evidence-based guidelines for the clinical treatment of tobacco dependence. He co-chairs the National Quality Forum (NQF) Cardiovascular Standing Committee and has chaired the NQF Consensus Standards Advisory Committee. In 2022, Dr. Kottke joined the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF). He is a past president of the Twin Cities Medical Society. He currently chairs the board of directors of Face to Face and is a member of the Protect Minnesota board of directors.
Dr. David Kroska is a board-certified Obstetrician–Gynecologist, and Director of reproductive medicine at CentraCare Clinic in Saint Cloud, MN. As a full-spectrum provider of primary care for women for over 38 years, coupled with the needs of infertility patients, he developed the LIFE (Lifestyle, Food and Exercise) program in 2004 to practice preventative healthcare (as opposed to disease care) needs of his patients and community. Wellness care and preventive medicine has long been his passion and the LIFE program has provided a means for patients and fellow practitioners to “treat the causes” of chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and even dementia through lifestyle and dietary means. Since the beginning of the LIFE program 15 years ago, the program has witnessed amazing growth in our understanding of the burden of non-communicable diseases- and most importantly, in our understanding of causes and solutions. Dr. Kroska is a board-certified diplomat of the ACLM (American College of Lifestyle Medicine) which has grown substantially over the last 15 years. He is also an organic gardener and raises a large and diverse amount of fruits and vegetables in central Minnesota. In the garden, tomatoes are his passion and he raises over 80 varieties of mainly heirloom types each year. A Youtube video of him discussing heirloom tomatoes has gone viral and has received more “hits” at Saint John’s University than any other in its files. He is father to 8 children, 7 girls and 1 boy with the last three being triplets. He is an avid bicyclist and enjoys reading and travels extensively. Dr. Kroska’s teaching and other awards include: recipient of the CentraCare Caduceus award, induction into Alpha-Omega-Alpha (as University of MN medical school teacher of the year) and Family Medicine residency teacher of the year award.
Hans Diehl is the founder of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) and of the Lifestyle Medicine Institute. Started in 1988, his CHIP program and his leadership have shown more than 80,000 graduates how simple lifestyle changes can facilitate the reversal of many lifestyle-related chronic diseases restoring hope, health and happiness in many. With a focus on the consumption of more plant-based and whole foods plus a consistent exercise program, the clinical results of his pioneering efforts as an epidemiologically trained lifestyle interventionist have been reported in more than 30 peer-reviewed professional publications. His co-authored books Health Power, You Turn, and The Optimal Diet Cookbook have been translated into 32 languages with a circulation of close to 3 million copies. He is a Clinical Professor of Preventive Medicine in the School of Medicine of Loma Linda University in Southern California. Last year, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the North American Vegetarian Society. He was a member of the Board of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and serves now on their Advisory Board. He is also a Member of the Rouxbe Health and Wellness Advisory Board. He is known as media friendly and an excellent speaker.
Blackburn served on scientific councils of international and U.S. heart foundations, seminars in CVD Epidemiology, steering committees of trials, as WHO consultant, and on the Advisory Council of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. He retired as Director of Epidemiology at Minnesota in 1990 and as Mayo Chair in Public Health in 1996 and now pursues the history of research in CVD epidemiology and prevention. Read more details about Henry here. https://www.sevencountriesstudy.com/about-the-study/investigators/henry-blackburn/
Mei Liu, founder of Lotus Health Foundation and Chief Financial Officer of Rochester Clinic, earned her master’s degree in Health Care Administration from Des Moines University and an MBA from Drake University. In her current role, Mei serves as a proponent of lifestyle medicine and considers it to be the most effective way to reduce chronic disease and mitigate a crisis that is impacting all human health, financial markets, and the environment. As a certified facilitator of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP), Mei and the physician team at Rochester Clinic first introduced this lifestyle medicine education program to the Rochester community in 2015. After witnessing a transformation in more than 100 CHIP participants, Mei recognized a need for lifestyle interventions in the community and founded Lotus Health Foundation, the non-profit arm of Rochester Clinic, in 2016. Mei believes more health care providers should serve as role models and deliver the message about healthy lifestyles and nutrient dense plant-based whole foods. Lifestyle education offers people the opportunity to achieve better health. “If I am able to save one person’s life, that person may turn around to save a community,” Mei said. “Together, we can make this a healthy world for us and for our next generation.” Mei is actively involved with community outreach and advocates for health equity in underserved neighborhoods. She also works with local businesses and collaborative partners to grow health and wellness initiatives in the region. Outside of work, Mei enjoys cooking and gardening.
Judy will serve as emcee for our 2023 gala event. A community leader in Rochester for decades, Judy works for Think Bank as a Business Development Rep. Judy serves on the Jeremiah Program Board of Directors and chairs their Development Committee, she is on the Women’s Shelter Board of Directors and a board member of 125 Live. “I am looking forward to being a part of the 2023 Lotus Health Foundation Gala again this year. This year’s theme, “Freedom from Chronic Diseases” is an important topic and with the help of our featured speakers, we will learn more about how to adopt the lifestyle medicine centered self-care to grain freedom from chronic diseases.
RON HANSON, EMCEE FOR SYMPOSIUM Ron is a seasoned veteran when it comes to media with over 30+ years of experience. Ron has been with ABC 6 News (KAAL TV) here in Rochester for a total of 4 years. Ron has almost done it all in media. 11 years in radio, 12 years print/digital and now TV & Digital/Streaming. Ron and his wife Jody, who is a Transplant Coordinator, are from the area. Ron grew up in Northwood Iowa, his wife Jody in Kenyon MN. They have two daughters: Angela, recently married to Geovani and lives in the Twin Cities and Ashley, their guardian angel. They recently went from a 155 lb. Newfoundland Dog to two cats. Ron’s Philosophy: Ron has always been passionate about being in media. From Radio, Print, Digital to TV, he brings a wealth of knowledge to his clients. He loves meeting new people, getting involved in the community, and helping others navigate the ever-changing media landscape. He believes there is a reason for everything, and do not let anything stand in your way of happiness. You control your destiny. You only have one life to live, so make the most of it by helping others. Ron’s Fun Fact: Ron has performed at events and on stage as an Actor, Emcee, Dancer, Auctioneer, and Disc Jockey, and of course in TV ads.
John Varona is known for making his concert programs both informative and entertaining. John believes in the power of music to communicate directly with his audience and uses this to great effect in all his performances. John’s forte centers in Baroque Music by French composers. His extensive repertoire spans six centuries and includes organ works of Messiaen, Langlais, Widor, Vierne, Reubke and Bach. He has performed venues throughout the world. John also enjoys theatre organ music as well as providing live accompaniment for silent film movies. John Varona works full time in his own company, Midwest Home Staging & Design Co. (www.midwesthomestaging.com) and currently organist at Christ United Methodist Church in Rochester MN.