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Meet Our Staff

Dr. Robert Rosati
Dr. Robert A. Rosati is the Director of The Rice Diet Program, Associate Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Duke University and is Board Certified in Cardiology and Internal Medicine.

Originally from NYC, he attended Phillips Andover Academy and graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. He attended and interned at Duke Medical School, and joined the faculty in 1971. His early years at Duke were spent developing a medical information system to record the experience of Duke cardiologists with patients undergoing cardiac catheterization or admission to the coronary care unit. Each patient was followed on a regular basis. Using the system, the doctor can say "I've got a patient who has this, this and this"; and, the computer system can tell him what has happened to patients similar to his new patient treated either medically or surgically. This system now contains over 5000 patients. Dr. Rosati achieved international recognition for the medical information system, for the standard that he set in clinical research and for his investigations of the effect of aortocoronary bypass surgery on the course of patients with ischemic heart disease.

He has published more than ninety studies in the medical literature and began a training program to teach doctors to do clinical research that continues today. Dr. Rosati was the Director of Duke's Ischemic Heart Disease Special Center of Research, one of nine multidisciplinary centers funded by the National Heart Institute. He has served as a consultant to the Health Sciences Technology Institute, and has been elected to the prestigious American Society of Clinical Investigation. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr Rosati has successfully worked with thousands of patients at The Rice Diet Program and continues to be the backbone of the Program.

He was made Associate Professor of Medicine in 1977. In 1982, convinced that bypass surgery and angioplasty were not the answer to coronary heart disease, he became Director of DUPAC, Duke's cardiac rehabilitation program. He was quickly convinced that diet was the key to preventing or reversing heart disease and so began to work with Dr. Walter Kempner in 1983. After ten years under Dr. Kempner's tutelage, Dr. Rosati has accumulated a vast experience using the Diet in the prevention and treatment of kidney disease, heart disease, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and obesity. He became Director of the Kempner Clinic and the Rice Diet Program in 1991.

Dr. Francis A. Neelon
Endocrinologist and Associate Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center

Dr. Frank Neelon, the Medical Director of the Rice Diet Program since 1995, is an Associate Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Duke University and is Board Certified in Endocrinology and Internal Medicine.

Dr. Neelon grew up just north of Boston, MA, received a BS from Boston College, and an MD from Harvard Medical School. His clinical training was all at Duke University Medical Center, interspersed with three years in the Laboratory of General and Comparative Biochemistry at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Neelon, who has published more than 100 papers in the scientific and medical literature, served for 10 years as Editor of The North Carolina Medical Journal, five years as Chief of the Division of Endocrinology at Duke University Medical Center, and is an active member of seven medical societies. He is the second Vice-President of the American Osler Society.

Joy Anandi
Joy has practiced and taught all levels of yoga for over 30years. As a survivor of two bouts of cancer, using both traditional and alternative treatments, she has dedicated her life to sharing her experiences and knowledge to awaken the healing powers inside to heal body, mind and spirit. In 1989, Joy took a four year sabbatical study with Kali Ray, living the lifestyle of a yogini, using a vegan diet as medicine for prevention of cancer and other life threatening illnesses. Kali Ray is a world renowned yogini and founder of Kali TriYoga International. Joy has created FLOWING GENTLE PATH YOGA, a healing system for chair bound people, using pranayama (breath regulation) and hatha yoga (physical exercise).

Dr. Larry Burk
Dr. Larry BurkDr. Burk holds classes with patients who have chronic musculoskeletal pain, anxiety or compulsive overeating who are willing to explore a mind-body-spirit approach, to address the core issues of healing and self-empowerment. Dr Burk run Healing Imager, Inc., which offers services in musculoskeletal teleradiology and integrative medicine. He also practices for acupuncture, hypnosis and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) at Oriental Health Solutions. Previously he was an Associate Professor of Radiology and Director of Education at the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine. He completed the UCLA Medical Acupuncture for Physicians Course in 1998 and practiced for 5 years at Duke in the Pain Clinic and the Diet and Fitness Center.

Carolyn Craft
Dr. Carolyn Craft, BA, Div/Ord. draws on her experience as counselor, speaker, corporate executive and spiritual leader to offer heartfelt direction to those in search of living a fuller life. She brings to any coaching or counseling endeavor extensive psychotherapy studies and trainings and relative insights from having ongoing personal conversations with nationally known leaders in the field of human potential. Dr. Wayne Dyer, Gary Zukav, Dr. John Gray, Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, Marianne Williamson, Jean Houston, Dr Joan Borysenko and Neale Donald Walsch represent a few of the visionaries who have shared their wisdom with Carolyn through her years of television and radio experience. She hosts "Waking Up with Carolyn Craft" on Sirius Satellite Radio No. 114 and is currently in private practice and a regular lecturer at the Rice Diet Program.

Dr. Jay Dunbar
Dr. Jay Dunbar is Director of the Magic Tortoise School in the Research Triangle area. The school offers classes, workshops, private tutoring and teacher training in taijiquan, qigong, and related studies. Jay's dissertation (Ph.D., Education, UNC-1991) was on taijiquan instruction in America. He has served as chief judge of forms and push-hands in many tournaments. He is a senior student of the late Grandmaster Jou, Tsung Hwa.


Patricia Esperon
Patricia Esperon is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Duke University. She received a Masters in Social Work from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991, where she received the Katherine Banham scholarship for her work in the area of mental health. Ms. Esperon was a therapist and lecturer at Duke from 1995 to 2002 and continues to address numerous topics associated with weight management such as Perfectionism, Weight and Sexuality, and Binge Eating. She continues to work with those who are struggling with weight disorders, as well as depression, anxiety and trauma. In addition, Ms. Esperon has provided psychological evaluations for patients considering gastric bypass surgery at the Duke University's Bariatric Clinic. Ms. Esperon has been quoted in such national magazines as Good Housekeeping, Shape, My Generation and Real Simple, and she has appeared on the television program 60 Minutes. She is currently in private practice and is a regular lecturer at the Rice Diet Program.


Betsy Hamilton
Administrative Assistant.




Ronnie Kolotkin, Ph.D.
Dr. Ronnie KolotkinDr. Ronette "Ronnie" Kolotkin is a psychologist specializing in weight and eating issues, particularly as they relate to quality of life. Ronnie's interest in obesity began in childhood when, as a fat kid, she experienced teasing and ridicule from others. In addition to working with clients individually and in groups for over 20 years, she is an internationally recognized obesity researcher who has published over 50 scientific articles and several book chapters (including two recent ones on quality of life in obesity in the "Handbook of Assessment Methods for Eating Behaviors and Weight Related Problems, 2nd edition," and the "Handbook of Obesity Surgery"). She has also given numerous talks on obesity and quality of life at national and international meetings. For over 15 years, Ronnie directed the psychological component (Behavioral Health Program) at Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center. Dr. Kolotkin also developed the most widely used weight-related questionnaire used in clinical trials for overweight persons (IWQOL-Lite), translated into over 60 languages. She both practices and teaches a wide array of emotional/behavioral skills that facilitate maintenance of a healthy weight and lifestyle. Her company is called "Obesity and Quality of Life Consulting."

Anna LaBarre
Anna F. LaBarre, MS, RD, LDN obtained her degrees in Foods and Nutrition and completed her dietetic internship at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Prior to working at the Rice Diet Program, Anna worked with Personalized Nutrition, Inc., a private practice of dietitians, teaching classes and counseling individual patients primarily in weight management and heart health, as well as providing nutrition education for health fairs. She has been a fitness instructor, teaching Spinning classes for more than six years. Her graduate work includes research in sustainable food systems, local and organic foods. As a passionate nutrition educator, Anna wishes to impart sound nutrition knowledge, inspire mindful eating and conscious consumerism, thus empowering individuals to make sustainable lifestyle changes.

Jayne Levey-Charles
As Program Coordinator for the Rice Diet Program for over a decade, Jayne conducts Dr. Rosati's research study, following 1,500 patients over a 10-year period. She also works closely with the medical staff to ensure patients attending the Program in Durham have an easy transition as to optimize their overall experience and long-term success. In addition, Jayne oversees media relations, the Rice Diet website, the "Rice Paper" newsletter and staff computer support.

Judy Rivers
Staff Assistant. Judy has been with The Rice Diet Program for over 45 years.



Kitty Gurkin Rosati
Kitty Gurkin Rosati, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., has specialized in the prevention and reversal of heart disease and other chronic diseases, with over 13 years of professional experience with cardiac and drug rehabilitation. Her work experiences also include teaching nutrition to dental students at the U.N.C. at Chapel Hill, to IBM executives in the NC Research Triangle, and to patients in private practice. After years in cardiac rehabilitation, she published her successful consulting nutrition efforts in implementing a reversal cardiac diet in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation. She is a Registered Dietitian involved in preventing and reversing heart disease through a healing of not only the physical, but of the emotional and spiritual self as well. Kitty is author of the book HEAL YOUR HEART: "The New Rice Diet Program for Reversing Heart Disease Through Nutrition, Exercise, and Spiritual Renewal" and THE RICE DIET COOKBOOK and along with Dr. Rosati is co-author of THE RICE DIET SOLUTION: The World-Famous Low-Sodium, Good-Carb, Detox Diet for Quick and Lasting Weight Loss. Her newest book RICE DIET RENEWAL: A Healing 30-Day Program for Lasting Weight Loss Now, details how to heal underlying food and health issues.

Live Webcast Reversing Diabetes: Power of Lifestyle Choices

Wed., July 13 at 6 p.m. EDT

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Over 70 Years — 1939–2010
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