Long Wharf Theatre To Hold 5th Annual Global Health and the Arts Symposium, Focusing on Obesity Issues

NEW HAVEN – According to national statistics, 69 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese. One out of every three children also falls into the same categories. Obesity factors into five of the top ten leading causes of death – heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-three percent of Connecticut adults are considered obese.

Some leading thinkers on the subject of obesity and its related consequences will gather at Long Wharf Theatre in January 24-25 to discuss this health epidemic at its 5th annual Global Health and the Arts Symposium, led by Event Chair David Scheer, president of Scheer & Company and a member of Long Wharf Theatre’s Board of Trustees, and Co-Chair Kelly Brownell, director of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

The conference is presented in conjunction with the world premiere of January Joiner: A Weight Loss Horror Comedy by Laura Jacqmin, directed by Associate Artistic Director Eric Ting. The play runs through February 10.

The Global Health and the Arts initiative, a unique offering in the theatre industry, is built on the premise that in our attempt to understand the working of our own bodies and minds, as well as to address the policies surrounding the key health issues of our time, we need both science and the arts. Over the course of the two day panel experts will discuss obesity’s causes, both genetics and environmental, the consequences, and possible treatments.

Among those speaking at the event will be  Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-New Haven; Peter Salovey, Provost, Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology, President-Elect of Yale University; Kelly D. Brownell, Director of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity; Margaret Grey, Dean, Annie Goodrich Professor, Yale University School of Nursingp; Oklahoma City Mayor Mike Cornett; Jeanette R. Ickovics, Professor of Epidemiology and Psychology, Yale School of Public Health; and Long Wharf Theatre Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein. Dozens of other speakers from all aspects of academia, public health research, and the pharmaceutical industry will be in attendance as well.

Art as a response to the issues of obesity will be featured as well. Scenes from the plays The Whale, by Sam Hunter, Fat Pig by Neil LaBute, and Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, by Luis Alfaro will be presented, serving to bring the emotional realities of the illness to the scientific discourse.

The event is sponsored by Covidien, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Leerink Swann; Nektar Therapeutics; Aetna; Celgene Corporation; Clarus Ventures; Connecticut Innovations; EDC of New Haven; GI Dynamics, Inc.; Goldman, Sachs & Company; Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc.; Korn/Ferry International; Lazard Freres & Co. LLC; Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management; Robinson/Butler Recruiters; Sills, Cummis & Gross, PC; SurgiQuest, Inc.; and Yale-New Haven Hospital.

For more information about the event or to register, contact Kathy Cihi, Special Events Manager at Kathy.cihi@longwharf.org or by calling 203-772-8234.