TOS Past-President Barbara Rolls, PhD, offers generous endowment to create ObesityWeek travel grants

By Tanesia Dwight posted 01-18-2017 13:20


Hello Dr. Rolls,

Thank you again for your generous contribution to The Obesity Society by creating the Rolls-Simons Endowment. Before we get into the endowment can you please give us a little bit of background information on your membership with The Obesity Society?

Dr. Rolls: I became a member of TOS in 1987. I am also a Past President of the association serving from 1996 to 1997. I’ve been involved with many of TOS’s committees as well as advocating for further education and research in obesity.

What made you decide to create the Rolls-Simons Endowment?

Dr. Rolls: My mom married at 19 and she put on the weight almost immediately. My whole life my mother suffered from obesity. It was a driving force behind my passion to work in the field. When my mom died of heart disease, I convinced my dad that we should make a memorable contribution that would support young scientists studying obesity. The fund which originally supported student membership fees became the Pat Simons Travel Grant, which will now be called the Rolls-Simons Endowment.

Who is eligible for the Rolls-Simons Endowment and what do you hope to accomplish through TOS with this gift?

Dr. Rolls: The endowment will provide travel grants for TOS’s students and post-doctoral members. Due to decreased grant support, it is getting harder to fund students to attend ObesityWeek. They need to see what’s going on in the field and to connect with their peers and senior colleagues. The obesity epidemic is at an all-time high and the endowment aims to encourage and educate our graduate students and post-docs, who will lead the next wave of obesity research and practice. As members, we should all think of contributing to TOS’s awards and grants programs.

How is this related to the U.S. News best diets ranking?

Dr. Rolls: This doesn’t directly relate to my books, although the timing does coincide with US News & World Reports’ ranking of Volumetrics as tied for the #2 best weight-loss diet in 2017. It is great to have a research-based strategy ranked and noticed in this field and I hope this encourages our members to find and communicate effective strategies to manage obesity.

Why do you think it’s important to give back to the obesity profession/ contribute to The Obesity Society?

Dr. Rolls: If we don’t acknowledge that obesity is the root cause of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and other disorders then it’s a problem. We have to support what we are doing especially as the general public will not necessarily think of directing their charitable contributions toward obesity. TOS makes good use of donations with 89.6% of the dollars they receive going directly to obesity research and programs.  

Anything else you would like to share as part of this announcement?

Dr. Rolls: Think about the students and post-docs. Any donation amount you can provide is a great way to encourage more researchers and clinicians into the field.

Thank you Dr. Rolls! We look forward to learning more about the benefits the travel grants provide to students. As TOS members, please tell us in the comment section how TOS grants and awards have helped you grow in your careers.