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Our Lady of the Lake and Pennington Biomedical Research Join Forces to Expand Research in Childhood Obesity

Released: Friday, November 08, 2013

Katzmarzyk Named Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes

BATON ROUGE, LA - Peter Katzmarzyk, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Executive Director for Preventive Medicine and Healthy Aging, has been named the Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. 

His appointment was announced at a reception on November 6 on the Pennington Biomedical campus that honored the donors of the chair, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and Our Lady of the Lake Foundation. Representing Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center was John Finan, President and CEO of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System.  Other Our Lady of the Lake dignitaries attending included John Paul Funes, Our Lady of the Lake Foundation President, and Sister Kathleen Cain, OSF, Provincial of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady.

Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk

Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk,
Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes

Our Lady of the Lake Foundation previously made a gift of one million dollars to the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation to create the Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes and support an emerging program aimed at the growing problem of childhood obesity and diabetes.  A matching gift of $400,000 from the Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund, a program of the Louisiana Board of Regents, helped to complete the endowment. 

"As healthcare leaders we believe we can make a positive impact on the obesity epidemic in Louisiana and across the country through this commitment to education and medical research related to childhood obesity," said Scott Wester, Chief Executive Officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. "We are grateful for the community efforts of scientists and researchers at Pennington Biomedical to help us better understand the issues of overweight and obese youth."   

The chair was named to honor Sister Marie Edana Corcoran, BSN, RN, a beloved nurse who was an important part of Our Lady of the Lake for more than 50 years.  Sister Edana, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 96, joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady in 1931 and began working at OLOL in 1937.  She was well known for her presence in the Hospital at all hours to care for patients and their families. 

"Sr. Edana's commitment and compassion impacted the lives of so many patients, families, doctors, nurses, and support workers. Always striving to improve the lives of others, she lived the hospital's mission to serve those most in need through her unceasing dedication to its patients.  This ongoing work on behalf of children is a fitting tribute to her legacy," said Sr. Kathleen Cain.

Dr. Katzmarzyk is an internationally recognized leader in the field of pediatric obesity and has over two decades of experience in conducting large clinical and population-based studies among children and adolescents.  In addition to his research efforts, Dr. Katzmarzyk plays a leading role in several national initiatives related to children's health advocacy, including the creation of the statewide childhood obesity public health conference and report card.  Dr. Katzmarzyk joined the faculty of Pennington Biomedical in 2007.

"Dr. Katzmarzyk has considerable experience in the study of childhood obesity and is directing international studies in this regard.  His outstanding leadership skills make him the ideal person to lead and develop this emerging program on childhood obesity and diabetes," said Dr. William T. Cefalu, Executive Director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. 

"I am very honored to be named to the Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes and I look forward to expanding the influence of pediatric obesity research from the laboratory to the community, where it is really needed now more than ever," said Katzmarzyk. 

(L to R) William Cefalu, M.D., Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Peter Katzmarzyk, Ph.D., Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes at Pennington Biomedical; John Finan, President and CEO of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System; Jerry Jolly, Chairman of the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation Board of Directors; and Sister Kathleen Cain, OSF, Provincial of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. 

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the causes of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. Itis a campus of the Louisiana State University System and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at the Center includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 50 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dieticians, and support personnel, and 19 highly specialized core service facilities.  The Center's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 234-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.