Laurie Pinchbeck Whitsel ’87
Laurie Whitsel is a science and medicine advisor for the American Heart Association and has worked with the AHA’s chief scientific officer on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation project, a partnership between the AHA and President Clinton and his foundation to address childhood obesity across the country.
She helps translate research in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and obesity into public policy at both a state and national level and was one of many who provided the scientific backing for the recent AHG announcement that the beverage industry will remove caloric carbonated beverages from schools. She also was on the writing team for the $9 million grant recently awarded the AHG by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
She frequently speaks at national and regional conferences on topics related to nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s State Task Force Addressing Adolescent Health and chairs the executive committee of Pennsylvania’s statewide coalition addressing obesity under a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
She has taught as an adjunct professor at Pennsylvania State University, Hamilton College and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of AHA’s National Scientific Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism and the American College of Sports Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in nutrition science from Syracuse University in 1998. Her research on nutritional supplementation and exercise rehabilitation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was supported by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and Ross Laboratories. She received a doctoral prize from the College for Human Development recognizing her research and subsequently published work.
Whitsel coached at the college level for several years and in 1999 became the first female president of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. She represented the NSCAA at the men’s 1994 World Cup, the women’s World Cup tournaments in both Sweden and the United States and the 1996 Olympics. She also had the opportunity to travel to Italy with the women’s national soccer team as team administrator for the Mundialito Cup Tournament. For her work and research, she was named a Sports Ethics Fellow by the Institute of International Sport in 1999.
Whitsel resides in Ligonier, Pa., with her husband Brad, a professor of political science at the Fayette Campus of Penn State, and their children Amy (9) and Christian (7) .