Dr. Kevin Fontaine, professor and chair in the department of health behavior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and adjunct faculty in the division of rheumatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and in the department of health, behavior & society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Antoine Lavoisier Endowed Professorship of Energetics and Healthy Lifestyles, in recognition of his notable research in such areas as the effects of obesity on quality of life, the obesity-mortality association in Hispanic persons, health-seeking behaviors among obese individuals, and the effects of various exercise modalities on body composition and function in children and adults with rheumatic disease. This endowment—which commemorates Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier’s vital work that contributed to the understanding of exercise, nutrition, sustainable cities, and public health—was established to support the advancement of the public health profession and to help create and develop scientific inquiry into energetics and active and healthy living, with the purpose of having a positive impact on not only the lives and careers of the faculty who will benefit from it, such as Dr. Fontaine, but also on those touched by these exceptional researchers throughout their careers.
In the spirit of Lavoisier who stood up for scientific evidence and rigor, applying his findings to advocate for better public health, Dr. Fontaine has been a staunch advocate of questioning conventional thinking related to dietary and exercise approaches to treat obesity and chronic disease. His primary research goal is to improve public health related to obesity, its related diseases, and psychological co-morbidities. Dr. Fontaine’s current research activities include studying the effects of resistance exercise on health, function, and markers of inflammation in arthritis sufferers; the effects of low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets on body composition, fatigue, and disease activity in women with recurrent ovarian cancer; and evaluating whether aspects of the clinical encounter (e.g., expectancies, warmth, empathy, use of non-deceptive placebos) can improve patient-reported outcomes and objective indices of disease activity, health, and function.
Dr. Fontaine received his doctorate in experimental psychology from Victoria University, in Manchester, England, UK, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore. He has previously been honored with such distinctions as the Women’s Health Investigator Award (2001) from the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the Fibromyalgia Young Investigator Award (2004) from the National Institutes of Health; and a Creativity is a Decision Award (2012) and Back of the Envelope Award (2013) from UAB.