Loma Linda University

Nico Rizzo, MedDr, PhD

Assistant Professor at Department of Nutrition
  • Loma Linda University
Dr. Rizzo is an Assistant Professor at the Center of Community Resilience at the School of Public Health in Loma Linda and an Associate Researcher at the Department of Nutrition and Biosciences at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.  Dr. Rizzo lectured at the Department of Bioscience and Nutrition and the Department of Medical Nutrition at Karolinska Institutet. Currently he is the course leader for Public Health Biology and Nutrition, Nutritional Epidemiology and Research Methods in Epidemiology at Loma Linda University. He obtained a Masters of Science degree from the Justus Liebig Universität in Gießen, Germany and a PhD in Medicine from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. He was a recipient of the European Union Socrates/Erasmus Scholarship for studies conducted at Karolinska Institutet previous to his PhD studies. His doctoral research focused on the associations between physical activity, cardio respiratory fitness and metabolic risk factors in children and adolescents. Dr. Rizzo is the Special Interest Group Leader for Molecular Nutrition at the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Programming Committee Chair of the APHA Epidemiology Section. He has authored numerous peer reviewed articles on physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness and nutrition and their association with metabolic syndrome and obesity in children and adults. He is a co-investigator of the AHS 2 study at Loma Linda University and of the Skelleftea Epigenetics Project in Sweden that is investigating trans-generational effects of environmental factors on health outcomes. Currently he is integrating traditional Epidemiological Methods with Epigenetic Research exploring associations between physical activity, nutrition and chronic disease risk factors. Beside his research projects and teaching appointments Dr. Rizzo has conducted prevention focused health programs in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Micronesia.  

Chris Neish, PhD, MPH, RN, PHN, CHES

  • Loma Linda University
Dr. Christine Neish has been involved in church-sponsored health evangelism for over 30 years. As co-chairman of her church’s health ministries committee, she has conducted programs that address the needs of both church members and those living in the community. Most recently, she has developed community health education programs in Peru and Ukraine. Her academic background is in nursing, school health, and higher education. She lived and worked on the Navajo reservation in the United States and was a nurse administrator in Canada. Dr. Neish has served as faculty member and administrator in the Schools of Public Health and Nursing during her 40-year career at Loma Linda University.

Victoria Jackson, EdD, LCSW

Assistant Professor of Social Work at School of Behavioral Health
  • Loma Linda University
Victoria Jackson, Ed.D, LCSW, is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the School of Behavioral Health, Department of Social Work and Social Ecology at Loma Linda University. A licensed clinical social worker, she has expertise in working with diverse populations. An international educator, she has provided training to varied populations, including bio-psychosocial-spiritual trauma interventions in Haiti and trainings for families in England and Slovakia. Her expertise in addressing the needs of special populations, including older adults and culturally diverse communities adds to her contributions as member of the LLU International Behavioral Health Trauma Team.

Timothy Gillespie, DMin

Faith Community and Health Liaison
  • Loma Linda University
Timothy Gillespie is the Faith Community and Health Liaison for Loma Linda University Health. (as of January, 2013) He has worked at Loma Linda for the past 13 years, becoming the Chaplain at Loma Linda Academy in 2001 and moving to the University Church in 2007 as their Young Adult Pastor (www.reliveministry.com). He is married to Sara and has three kids. He has earned a Doctor of Ministry from George Fox University in Semiotics and Future Studies. As well, he is working as the Regional Chaplain for Azusa Pacific University's regional center in San Bernardino and in the High Desert Regional Center of APU as Director of Chapel Services for UnderGraduate Nursing Programs. He is an adjunct Professor both at APU and Loma Linda University. His latest printed work is a book with his father, Dr. V. Bailey Gillespie entitled "Love Them and They Will Come."

Bert Connell, PhD, RD

Faculty, Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Loma Linda University
Bert Connell, PhD, RD, is a faculty member of the Nutrition and Dietetics Department at Loma Linda University since 1972. He has been involved in the training of Dietitians (1972 to present) and as Director of Nutritional Services at Loma Linda University Medical Center (1984 to 1994.)  Other responsibilities include teaching at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Targu Mures Romania and teaching in Health Ministries in the Czechoslovakian Union Life and Health Association and short term teaching responsibilities at Rusangu University in Zambia in 2013 and 2014.

David Dyjack

Dean of the School of Public Health, Associate Director
  • Department of Health Ministries of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
  • Loma Linda University
His special interest is in environmental health.

Craig Jackson

Dean of the School of Allied Health Professions
  • Loma Linda University
He is an Associate Director of the Department of Health Ministries at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He has a background as a lawyer and health academic.

Gary Fraser, MBChB, PhD, MPH

Professor of Epidemiology
  • Loma Linda University
Dr. Gary Fraser is the Principle Investigator of the Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS2). This is a prospective study of 100,000 subjects looking at health outcomes of various diets and lifestyle, including the impact of religion and well-being. Dr. Fraser is a cardiologist and epidemiologist as well as being a professor of medicine at Loma Linda University. He has researched and published extensively on diet, longevity and chronic disease and will be presenting the latest findings of AHS2 in the context of NCDs.


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