About the Team:

Our international research and program development team is led by the clinical founders of MEND: pediatric dietitian and senior research fellow Paul Sacher and child health psychologist Dr. Paul Chadwick.

In the US, we have partnered with leading academic institutions specializing in childhood obesity research, including the Michael & Susan Dell Center for the Advancement of Healthy Living, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, Baylor College of Medicine, RTI International and Duke University.


Teresa Earle, Partnership Development Director and Board Member

Teresa joined MEND in 2008 to help launch the MEND Foundation and MEND 7-13 in the US. With over 20 years experience in international strategic marketing, partnership development and media relations, Teresa has used her extensive knowledge and passion for family wellness to successfully broaden MEND's delivery, funding and research partnerships across the US. She has an international relations degree in political science from UCLA.


Adrienne Forman, Program Developer, North America

Adrienne is a registered dietitian with industry experience in weight-management program development and nutrition and health communications. Adrienne was a senior nutritionist at Weight Watchers International, instrumental in creating their weight-loss programs for North America, including the original Points® plan. She has been the Director of Nutrition Communications for Shape Up America!™ and was the editor of the Shape Up America!™ newsletter, an online publication on healthy weight management. She was a contributing editor of Environmental Nutrition newsletter for 15 years. Adrienne received her master’s degree in nutrition communications from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from the University of Maryland. She has certificates of training in childhood and adolescent weight management and in adult weight management, level 2, from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association).


Elana Needle, Regional Manager

Elana has over 9 years experience working in the public health, environmental, and women's issues fields in a variety of settings in the Northeastern US, from small start-up nonprofits to internationally recognized institutions. She has spent a great deal of time researching women’s issues including welfare reform and the intersection of race, class and gender among domestic violence victims. Elana has a bachelor's degree in women's studies from Tufts University, a master's degree in urban and environmental policy from Tufts University, and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in social welfare with an emphasis on policy analysis from SUNY Stony Brook. Elana's dissertation topic is the nexus of poverty and childhood overweight and obesity.


Jo Ann Yanagimoto-Pinedo, Grants & Development Manager

Jo Ann Yanagimoto-Pinedo has nearly 20 years of experience in health care marketing, strategic development, funding initiatives, grant writing and communications. Prior to her tenure with MEND, she served as strategic consultant for various organizations including the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Aetna, St. Joseph Health Systems and The California Endowment. Jo Ann was the Director of Marketing and Communications for L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest public managed care program. She managed all organizational communications and media relations, was responsible for the P&L for the marketing and communications department, developed all consumer collaterals in Los Angeles County’s ten threshold languages, and oversaw distribution channels and special events. She also created long-term marketing plans to drive strategy, managed agency relations and media placement, and negotiated corporate partnerships. Prior to joining L.A. Care, Jo Ann served as Chief Marketing Officer of the West Coast Region for CIGNA HealthCare, where she was responsible for leading the West Coast Marketing Department, serving on the regional Senior Management Team, the National Marketing Council, and the National Web Site Committee. Jo Ann has also served in management positions at PacifiCare Health Systems and Health Net. She holds a M.S. in Health Care Administration from California State University at Los Angeles and a B.A. in Psychobiology from Occidental College.