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Karen A. Donato, S.M., is the acting director of the Division for the Application of Research Discoveries (DARD) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this role, Ms. Donato provides oversight and vision for the Division's activities in research translation into public health practice on the prevention, detection, and treatment of cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases. The work includes collaboration activities with other NHLBI divisions, NIH Institutes, government entities, and relevant organizations and groups.
Ms. Donato manages activities of DARD subdivisions and oversees the work of two branches, the Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Branch and the Research Translation Branch. Activities include the development of a systematic evidence-based review process that has been used to evaluate the current state of the science on high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and overweight and obesity in adults; the development/implementation of strategic plansthat apply research findings to clinical and public health practice settings through national education programs including the National Program to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk, the National Blood Disorders Program, and the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program; and the collection and synthesis of new knowledge for dissemination through education programs focusing on community-based organizations including the We Can!® program and the Community Health Worker Initiative.
She serves on NIH- and HHS-wide, obesity-related initiatives. Specifically, she co-chairs the NHLBI Obesity Working Group, is a member of the NIH Obesity Research Task Force, and the HHS Healthy Weight Task Force.
Ms. Donato joined the NHLBI in 1986 and has spent her career in a number of positions, serving as the chair of the Nutrition Education Subcommittee of the Nutrition Coordinating Committee, coordinator of Nutrition Education and Special Initiatives, and the acting chief of the NHLBI Health Education Branch. In her role as acting chief of the Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Branch, she also oversees various health disparities activities as they relate to the training and integration of community health workers into clinics and community action.
Ms. Donato received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in foods and nutrition from Marywood College in Scranton, PA. in 1975. She received a Master of Science degree in nutrition from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston in 1977.
She is an alumnus of Harvard's Health Lawyers Program. While attending the Harvard School of Public Health, Ms. Donato served as a research assistant in the Nutrition Department and in the Department of Legal Medicine. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association, and the Obesity Society.
Areas of expertise: nutrition, obesity, public health, health promotion, and community interventions
January 7, 2014
: U.S. News
U.S. News ranks best diets for weight loss, healthy eating, more
Today, U.S News & World Report released the fourth annual Best Diets rankings – a collection of 32 in-depth diet analyses, reviewed and rated by a panel of nutrition and health experts. The panel deemed the NHLBI-supported DASH eating plan the best overall, as it outscored most other plans in its healthiness and likelihood to ward off diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
November 14, 2013
: The New York Times
Crayons down. Now dig into that healthful parfait.
A new obesity prevention initiative by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health seeks to teach children who cannot yet spell the names of their fruits and vegetables to love them and eat them every day.