University of Southern California

Festival of Books 2013

The Body and the Brain: Food, Health and Self-Care: About the Panelists

John AllenJohn S. Allen is a neuroanthropologist with the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center and the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC. Since 1998, he has conducted human neuroanatomical research as a member of the cognitive science research group headed by Hanna and Antonio Damasio. In addition to several anthropology textbooks, he is the author of The Lives of the Brain: Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind (2009) and The Omnivorous Mind: Our Evolving Relationship with Food (2012), both from Harvard University Press.

Melvin BaronMelvin F. Baron, PharmD., MPA, is Assistant Dean for Programmatic Advancement and Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at USC. In 2008, Dr. Baron was named “Pharmacist of the Year” by the California Pharmacists Association. His research work includes the development of health education tools for low-literacy, low-income populations, which has led to the creation of the Fotonovelas, a series of stories that raise awareness of social issues with soap opera–like storylines.

Francine KaufmanFrancine R. Kaufman, M.D. (Moderator/panelist) is an internationally known authority on diabetes and obesity. Her best-selling book, Diabesity: The Obesity-Diabetes Epidemic that Threatens America, has been praised by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer as “Incredibly important . . . Francine Kaufman will save lives.” The immediate past-president of the American Diabetes Association, she is head of the Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The author of more than 150 medical articles, she has developed many important clinical innovations and is also a tireless public advocate.

LaVonna Blair LewisLaVonna Blair Lewis, Ph.D., MPH, is a Teaching Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Director of the USC Diversity in Healthcare Leadership Initiative. Lewis’s areas of research and professional interests focus on cultural competency and the health status and health care needs of underrepresented groups. She is involved in projects that address racial and ethnic health disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and infant mortality. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, Family and Community Health and the Journal of General Internal Medicine.