After studying medicine at Tulane University and completing his Emergency Medicine residency at Los Angeles County/USC, Dr. Neal Priest has worked as an emergency physician, chief of his department, and chief of staff at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens, Georgia.
Relying on the latest scientific research, Neal devotes many hours of his professional time promoting heart-strong diets. He has received continuing medical education credits from Food=Medicine and the Institute of Functional Medicine nutritional conferences.
Neal is the former host of the long-running local radio show “The Classic Clinic,” which addressed a variety of health issues. Neal has served as singer or Master of Ceremonies to benefit the Athens Nurses Clinic, the Tourette Syndrome Association, AIDS Athens, and the local battered women’s shelter Project Safe.
Christine Smith, MD
Dr. Christine Smith has been a practicing pediatrician since 1995. She received her Bachelor of Science degree and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of South Florida. Her Residency in Pediatrics was completed at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Saint Petersburg, Florida. She is a Fellow of American Academy of Pediatrics and a Member of the American Board of Pediatrics.
As a pediatrician, Christine discusses nutrition and lifestyle choices with her patients and their families. She promotes food as medicine. Christine educates her patients and parents about the benefits of a healthy diet in treating and preventing disease, as well as to improve the issues related to ADHD and other challenges. Her efforts have empowered many families to make better nutritional choices and have improved the health outcomes and wellness of children and adolescents into the future.
Along with volunteering for several related organizations, Christine is also a member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She also participates in the annual International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine, in Washington DC.
Emory Hsu, MD
Scientific and Medical Advisor
Dr. Emory Hsu is a board-certified physician. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemical Sciences with honors from Harvard University, completed a research year fellowship through Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health near Washington DC, and received his Doctorate of Medicine degree from Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Hsu completed his internship and residency training in Internal Medicine with emphasis on endocrine research at Emory University, followed by a fellowship in Endocrinology, Lipids, and Metabolism there. As a clinician and scientist, he is a co-author on several peer-reviewed publications in the scientific and medical literature, and has presented work at conferences such as the Endocrine Society.
As a practicing physician, Dr. Hsu believes in the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle as foundational to health.
Iraina Rosenthal-Tawil, MS, RD
Iraina holds a Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences from Brooklyn College and completed her dietetic internship at Hunter College. Iraina studied Environmental Design in college, giving her a strong foundation to speak about the intersections between environmental issues and the health sciences.
As a nutritionist, Iraina focuses her work on chronic disease prevention. She approaches health from a holistic and functional perspective, utilizing the latest research to promote foods that are proven to prevent, manage, and even reverse chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Iraina has worked for numerous health companies and organizations that help individuals manage their chronic health conditions. Iraina started her career as the executive nutrition consultant of a plant-based health company. She then went on to manage the nutrition focused diabetes program at a Brooklyn-based home health agency.
Iraina works and resides in New York City.
Jairo Garcia, PhD
Dr. Jairo Garcia is an expert in sustainability, climate change, and renewables. He performs sustainability analysis and studies and develops innovative policies and educational programs to track and implement community-wide energy, water, waste, and food systems. He also evaluates worldwide sustainability best practices, and provides recommendations to local governments.
Jairo has held positions with the City of Atlanta, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Concordia University, and the UCLA-Extension program in Global Sustainability.
Jairo holds an engineering degree, an MSc in Management of Information Technologies from Syracuse University, an MSc in Sustainability Management from Columbia University, and a Doctoral degree in Educational Technology and Sustainability from Pepperdine University.
Paul Waldau, PhD
Animal Ethics Advisor
Dr. Paul Waldau holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from University of Oxford, a Juris Doctor degree from UCLA Law School, and a Master of Arts degree from Stanford University in Religious Studies.
As the the Barker Visiting Professor of Animal Law, Paul taught "Animal Law" at Harvard Law School and presently teaches Harvard's online course "Animals: Religion and Ethics." He was also the Director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and directed the Center’s Master of Science graduate program in human-animal studies. Paul has directed the Yale Law School “Animal Law Reading Group”, and taught courses at Boston College Law School and Suffolk University Law School. Paul has also offered lectures in the summer term for Yale’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. Paul currently serves as the President of the Religion and Animals Institute.
Paul's first book, The Specter of Speciesism: Buddhist and Christian Views of Animals, was published by Oxford University Press in 2001. A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics, on which Paul is co-editor, was published by Columbia University Press in 2006. Paul also co-edited An Elephant in the Room: The Science and Well-being of Elephants in Captivity, which was published by the Center for Animals and Public Policy in 2008. In 2011, Animal Rights was published by Oxford University Press in its "What Everyone Needs to Know" series, and in 2013 Animal Studies - An Introduction was also published by Oxford University Press.
Paul is also the co-founder of the Animals and Religion Group at the American Academy of Religion and a consultant for many varied institutes and groups.
Mary Beth Polek, DVM, CVA
Mary Beth Polek, DVM, CVA, has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1997. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in large animal science from Delaware Valley University. Mary Beth's Doctoral degree is from Ross University, with the final year of rotations at the University of Missouri. In 2014, Mary Beth became a certified veterinary acupuncturist at the Chi Institute in Reddick, Florida. Currently she works at a small animal practice in Northport, NY and is also a staff veterinarian and volunteer at the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and Vet Dog Program in Smithtown, NY. She also volunteers on an as-needed basis at Suffolk County SPCA and is a member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.