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

Robin Caiola, Board Chair, 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 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, Board 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. 

Suzanne Hess

Suzanne Hess 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.

Michael Jacobson Alt text

Michael Jacobson

Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D. (non-voting), is a co-founder and was long-time Executive Director of CSPI. Jacobson has written numerous books and reports, including Salt Wars: The Battle Over the Biggest Killer in the American DietEater’s Digest: the Consumer’s Fact Book of Food Additives, Nutrition Scoreboard; Salt: the Forgotten Killer; and Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans’ Health. He has also 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). His Ph.D. in microbiology is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Board member Phyllis Lantos

Phyllis Lantos

Phyllis R. Lantos, SM, is Special Advisor to the President & CEO at NewYork-Presbyterian. Ms. Lantos previously served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer for NewYork-Presbyterian. Ms. Lantos has held leadership roles in finance at Yale University School of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, and the City of New York. She has served as an advisor and active participant on various technical committees for the Greater New York Hospital Association, Hospital Association of New York State, Association of American Medical Colleges, New York State Department of Health, and the American Hospital Association.

Peter Lurie

Peter Lurie, President and Executive Director (non-voting), 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.  

Giridhar Mallya, MD, MSHP

Giridhar Mallya, MD, MSHP, is a public health physician and health policy expert who serves as Senior Policy Officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In this role, he develops strategy in emerging health and social policy arenas; identifies and supports people, organizations, and networks that advance equity-promoting policies; informs Foundation-wide policy agenda-setting; and liaises with city, state, and federal leaders.

Dr. Mallya was previously Director of Policy and Planning for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. He is a board certified family physician and an adjunct assistant professor of family medicine and community health at the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Nutter

Michael Nutter, Vice Chair, is the former two-term Mayor of Philadelphia and served nearly 15 years on the Philadelphia City Council. Since leaving office in 2016, Nutter has served 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

Sushma Palmer 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.

Jane Schmitz, PhD

Jane Schmitz is currently an advisor to the From Now On Fund and an experienced public health instructor and researcher.  The From Now On Fund seeks to eliminate systemic inequities in health and well-being outcomes in the United States. Dr. Schmitz served as Adjunct Professor at Occidental College, Clinical Assistant Professor and curriculum advisor at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. She was an Emerson National Hunger Fellow at the Congressional Hunger Center, a Program Officer at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services in the Western Region and a US Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa.  She holds a PhD in International Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Image: board member William Schultz.

William Schultz

William B. Schultz is a partner Zuckerman Spaeder, focusing on complex regulatory issues and provides strategic advice to companies and public interest organizations. Mr. Schultz served as general counsel at HHS from 2011-2016 and managed an office of 500 lawyers across eight offices, covering 10 regions across the country. Prior to joining HHS, Bill was a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder and represented nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, individuals, generic drug companies and small biotechnology companies.

Dr. Lynn Silver, MD, MPh

Silver 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 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.