Griffin P. Rodgers Presents ‘Obesity: A Changing Environment,’ in Tucson, Oct. 25

Monday, October 25, 2010 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
“I’m not fat, I’m fluffy” is a playful expression used by an increasing number of people in the United States. Unfortunately, the dramatic rise in obesity over the past 20 years has contributed to increases in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers and other maladies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Furthermore, being overweight is becoming a problem in children and adolescents, who increase their risk of developing associated health problems at younger ages.
“It is alarming that type 2 diabetes, once considered a disease of adults, is now increasingly found in children,” says Griffin P. Rodgers, MD, MACP, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
Dr. Rodgers will highlight obesity trends, research on gut bacteria and genes, the effects of gestational diabetes on mother and child, and the difference lifestyle changes can make in overcoming genetic influences in his presentation “Obesity: A Changing Environment, For Worse and Better,” on Monday, Oct. 25, noon to 1 p.m., in Kiewit Auditorium, Arizona Cancer Center, 1515 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson. The presentation will be followed by a meet-and-greet reception from 1 to 1:30 p.m.
The free presentation, open to the public, is part of the Buffmire Lecture series, sponsored by the Flinn Foundation. (Please note: There is a parking fee of $1.50 per hour in the University Medical Center visitor/patient parking garage, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., just south of the Arizona Cancer Center. For directions, visit the website
For more information about the Oct. 25 and upcoming Buffmire lectures in Tucson, contact Rebecca Anderson, UA College of Medicine Office of Alumni Affairs and Special Events, (520) 626-6177, or e-mail
(NOTE: Dr. Rodgers also will speak in Phoenix on Tuesday, Oct. 26, noon to 1 p.m., in the Virginia G. Piper Auditorium at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. The presentation includes lunch, with check-in beginning at 11:30 a.m. To RSVP for lunch, or for more information about the Oct. 26 and upcoming Buffmire lectures in Phoenix, contact Mindy Shields, UA College of Medicine Office of Community Relations, (602) 827-2076, or e-mail
About Dr. Rodgers
Griffin P. Rodgers, MD, MACP, is director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Bethesda, Md.
The NIDDK is committed to basic and clinical research and to disseminating science-based information to the public, health-care professionals and the media to improve prevention, treatment and quality of life for people who have or are at risk for diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutritional disorders and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases.
Dr. Rodgers has made significant contributions to the field of hematology, the branch of medicine that studies and treats diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs. His research interests include sickle cell anemia, a genetic disease in which normally round red blood cells become sickle-shaped due to an abnormality in their hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood, leading to blockage of small blood vessels; thalassemia, a genetic disorder characterized by a deficiency of hemoglobin in red blood cells; and red cell enzymopathies, hereditary disorders caused by an abnormality of one of the red blood cell enzymes, or proteins. Dr. Rodgers also is interested in clinical evaluation of disease severity and novel gene therapies.
His own research contributed to the development of the first effective therapy for sickle cell anemia, now approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Rodgers continues to be involved in clinical trials to develop therapies for the disease and in research to understand how certain drugs increase fetal hemoglobin in the blood, helping to treat sickle cell anemia. Recently, Dr. Rodgers and his collaborators reported on a modified blood stem cell transplant regimen that is highly effective in reversing sickle cell disease in adults and is associated with relatively low toxicity.
He has been honored for his research with numerous awards, including the 1998 Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, the 2000 Arthur S. Flemming Award, the Legacy of Leadership Award in 2002, and a Mastership from the American College of Physicians in 2005.
He has been an invited professor at medical schools and hospitals in France, Italy, China, Japan and Korea. He has been honored with many named lectureships at American medical centers and has published more than 150 original research articles, reviews and book chapters and has edited four books and monographs.
Dr. Rodgers received undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees from Brown University in Providence, R.I. He performed his residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital, the teaching hospital for the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. His fellowship training in hematology/oncology was in a joint program of the NIH with George Washington University and the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In addition, he earned a master’s degree in business administration, with a focus on the business of medicine, from Johns Hopkins University in 2005.
About the Donald K. Buffmire Visiting Lectureship in Medicine
Initiated in 1997, the Donald K. Buffmire Visiting Lectureship in Medicine series continues the Flinn Foundation’s commitment to bring to Arizona leading practitioners and thinkers in the medical field. The lectureship offers physicians, students and community members opportunities to hear from distinguished leaders in the field of medicine and medical education. In 2008, the annual lecture was expanded to a biannual basis and includes presentations in both Phoenix and Tucson.
The lectureship is named for the late Donald K. Buffmire, MD, in recognition of his distinguished career as a medical practitioner in Arizona and his leadership role with the Flinn Foundation in supporting the UA College of Medicine. Dr. Buffmire, who died in July 2008 at age 85, served as a board director for the Flinn Foundation for 36 years, from 1965 to 2001, including 14 years as president and chairman.
The Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation is a privately endowed organization that awards grants to non-profit organizations in Arizona, primarily to improve the competitiveness of the state’s biomedical research enterprise.
About the UA College of Medicine
The UA College of Medicine is the only allopathic medical college in Arizona. Beginning in 1967 with a class of 32 students on its Tucson campus, the college today encompasses full, four-year medical-education programs in Tucson and in Phoenix.
UA College of Medicine and Research Means Hope
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