Board of Directors

Denise Elliott

Elliott, Director, 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.

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, Secretary, 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.

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.

Robin Sheekey

Sheekey, Director, is a New York-based development consultant and professional photographer.  Ms. Sheekey 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.

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.

Deborah Szekely

Szekely, Director, is known as the pioneer of the mind/body/spirit fitness movement.  In 1940, she and her husband founded Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, B.C., Mexico.  In 1959 she opened the world’s premiere spa:  the Golden Door, in Escondido, CA.  ​Deborah is a past president of the Inter-American Foundation and conceived and launched the book, “Setting Course-A Congressional Management Guide,” now in its 1​4th​ edition.  Among her many honors, Mexico presented her in 2012 with the "Order of the Aztec Eagle," ​​​the country's highest honor bestowed upon non-citizens. 

Sheila Weidenfeld

Weidenfeld, Director, is the former Press Secretary to First Lady Betty Ford and the creator of  She received Emmy and Silver Screen Awards, and was twice awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Media.  She currently serves on the board of the Eisenhower Foundation and in the past, received Presidential appointments to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; and the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee for the Foreign Service Institute.