Board of Directors

Mary Bassett

Mary T. Bassett is the Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, as well as the FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health. With more than 30 years of experience in public health, Dr. Mary Travis Bassett has dedicated her career to advancing health equity. Prior to her directorship at the FXB Center, Dr. Bassett served for four years as commissioner of Health for New York City. As commissioner, she worked to ensure that every New York City neighborhood supported the health of its residents, with the goal of closing gaps in population health across the city. She received her A.B. in History and Science from Harvard University and her M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. 

Robin Caiola

Caiola, Director, is a New York-based development consultant and professional photographer.  Ms. Caiola served as director of development at the Center for Science in the Public Interest and as executive director at 20/20 Vision, the nonprofit grassroots environmental and peace organization.

William Corr

William Corr, Director, is Senior Advisor at Waxman Strategies. He served for six years as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services during President Obama’s administration. Previously he was Executive Director of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Chief Counsel to the Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and Chief of Staff of the Department of HHS during President Clinton’s administration. He has served as Chief Counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Counsel to the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health and the Environment. He began his career in the Appalachian region of Tennessee and Kentucky administering community owned primary health care centers.

Denise Elliott

Elliott, Secretary, has more than 25 years’ experience working for subscription-based information providers in the roles of senior management, marketing, and new product development. She is Chair of the Software & Information Industry Assn., Former Chair of the Specialized Information Publishers Assn., and has been an active volunteer with Fairfax Pets on Wheels Inc. for more than 20 years. As a CSPI board member, Denise feels her expertise in regard to Nutrition Action has been her greatest contribution. 

Tom Gegax

Gegax has been an entrepreneur, a CEO leading sixteen hundred employees, and a multinational executive.  Since selling his Tires Plus Stores, Tom has turned to consulting and writing, including “The Big Book of Small Business” and "Winning in the Game of Life."  He has served as board member to several health and environmental organizations such as the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, Deepak Chopra Enterprises, EarthSave, and Waterkeeper Alliance.

Lisa Heinzerling

Heinzerling, Board Chair and Director, is an environmental lawyer, author, advocate, and professor at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC.  She has testified on regulatory reform in Congress and written about the manipulation of science and the public health agenda by special interests.  She served as Senior Climate Policy Counsel to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Associate Administrator of EPA’s Office of Policy, and a member of President Obama’s EPA transition team.

Suzanne Hess

Suzanne Hess, Director, is a retired librarian and a long-time nutrition and health advocate. Ms. Hess earned her Master’s degree in Library Science from UCLA and was the supervising San Diego County librarian for 20 years, where she helped to open libraries on nine different Native American reservations.  She currently serves on the board of the San Diego Repertory Theatre and is actively involved in the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Diego.

Mark Ingram

Ingram, Treasurer, serves as an accounting professor with the George Mason University School of Business. He is also founder and director of the Ingram CPA Exam Review course, a live instruction CPA exam preparation course.

Michael Jacobson, PhD

Jacobson, Director (non-voting), holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from MIT and has dedicated his life to advocating sound nutrition and food safety policies. He co-founded CSPI, was its long-time executive director, and now serves as Senior Scientist.  He has written numerous books and reports. He’s been honored with such awards as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Hero Award (2010), the American Public Health Association’s David P. Rall award for advocacy in public health (2011), and the Food Marketing Institute’s Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award (1992).

Dr. David Kessler, MD

Kessler, Director, served as Commissioner of the FDA from 1990 to 1997.  Under his watch, FDA required Nutrition Facts labels on food items sold in retail outlets.  After serving there, Dr. Kessler was the dean of Yale School of Medicine and University of California, San Francisco Medical School.  His New York Times best-selling books are The End of Overeating, highlighting how combinations of fat, salt, and sugar condition consumers to eat more and Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering.

Peter Lurie

Peter Lurie, Director (non-voting) and President, served most recently as the Associate Commissioner for Public Health Strategy and Analysis at the Food and Drug Administration. Prior to that, has was Deputy Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group from 2000 to 2009 and before that held faculty positions at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Michigan.  A family physician, Lurie holds an MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and an MPH from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Michael Nutter

Michael Nutter, Director, is the former two-term Mayor of Philadelphia and served nearly 15 years on the Philadelphia City Council. Since leaving office in 2016, Nutter serves in multiple active roles around government and civic life, including as Senior Advisor at Dentons US LLP Public Policy group and a member of its Local Government Solutions team, as Senior Advisor for the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities program, as the David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and in Senior Fellowships at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, and the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics.

Sushma Palmer, DSc

Palmer, Director, is the chair of the Center for Communications, Health and the Environment and holds a D.Sc. in applied biochemistry.  She served as Director of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' Food and Nutrition Board, Director of Nutrition at the Georgetown University Child Development Center, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.  She has more than forty years of experience in the United States, India, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Ukraine.

Dr. Lynn Silver, MD, MPh

Silver, Director and a pediatrician and health advocate, is Senior Advisor at the Public Health Institute. She focuses on policies to prevent chronic disease and its risk factors, including unhealthy diet, at home and globally.  Silver was Assistant Health Commissioner of New York City under Mayor Bloomberg, leading the groundbreaking team that launched the nation’s first trans fat ban, calorie labeling law, and the National Salt Reduction Initiative, and worked on the Berkeley team that passed the nation’s first soda tax.

James Sullivan, PhD

Sullivan, Director, is an engineer, oceanographer, and co-founder of CSPI.  He served as director of the Office of Energy for the U.S. Agency for International Development; President of the World Energy Efficiency Association; founding member of the Energy Markets Group; and has consulted for many organizations and companies on alternative energy projects and energy efficiency.  Dr. Sullivan’s consulting practice focuses on energy sector restructuring and reform in developing countries.