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UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, CNS
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Madelyn  Fernstrom, PhD, CNS

​Professor of Psychiatry, Epidemiology, and Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Founding Director of the UPMC Weight Management Center, Director of the Community Pediatric Weight Management Program for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Senior Advisor, Health Management, UPMC Health Plan, Board certified nutrition specialist from the American College of Nutrition

For more than 25 years, Dr. Fernstrom has devoted herself to clinic and laboratory work, studying and treating obesity and eating disorders. As a researcher, she has authored more than 100 research papers related to the biological and psychological factors contributing to weight loss - whether just a few pounds or several hundred. As a clinician, she has treated thousands of patients, maintaining the point of view that obesity is a chronic disease that can be managed - but not cured - through lifestyle change, pharmacotherapy and sometimes, surgery.

A recognized expert in the field of appetite, weight control, and wellness Dr. Fernstrom is a favorite of the media, most notably as the NBC Today Show Diet and Nutrition editor, with more than 100 highly popular segments on nutrition, weight loss, diet trends and healthful eating. In addition, Dr. Fernstrom is the health editor at large for, authoring a blog entitled “Health Journal." She is the health editor for Pittsburgh Magazine, contributing a monthly column on healthy living.

Dr. Fernstrom's work has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times, and she has been featured in magazines including Prevention, Good Housekeeping, Elle, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Self and Fitness. She also has appeared on National Public Radio, Fox News Channel, the BBC, Dr. Phil and on the ABC programs 20/20 and Good Morning America. She is the author of “The Runner's Diet” an easy-to-read guide incorporating walking and running into a structured eating program for long-term weight loss. Dr. Fernstrom is also the author of The Real You Diet (Wiley, 2010), a popular book providing a self-guided, personalized approach to comprehensive weight loss.

Dr. Fernstrom earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Boston University and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied nutritional biochemistry, metabolism, and neuropharmacology. She served a fellowship in endocrinology and behavior at the Harvard Medical School and joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in 1982. Dr. Fernstrom also is a board-certified nutrition specialist from the American College of Nutrition.

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