David D. Kilmer, M.D.

May 3, 2024

Distinguished Guest Speaker: Kofi Essel, M.D., M.P.H.

Kofi D. Essel, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., is the inaugural Food as Medicine Program Director at Elevance Health. As a core member of the Health Outcomes Organization team, he works to coordinate with the broader social impact strategy, health equity, and medical policy initiatives throughout the enterprise. He leads efforts in designing innovative approaches to address diet related chronic diseases and social risk using novel food interventions.

Dr. Essel is a board-certified community pediatrician at Children’s National Hospital (CNH) and Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. most recently serving as the Director of the GWU Culinary Medicine Program. Dr. Essel has dedicated his career to advocacy/research around healthcare and public health workforce training, health disparities, and community engagement, with expertise and national recognition in the areas of addressing diet related chronic disease and food insecurity with patients and families.

Dr. Essel sits on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Obesity Solutions’ Lived Experience Innovation Collaborative and was nationally recognized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for helping to create an innovative curriculum to enhance pediatric resident trainee skills on nutrition related disease management. Dr. Essel sits on the board of directors for the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and serves as physician advisor for the Partnership for a Healthier America’s “Veggies Early & Often” campaign. Dr. Essel is a member of the executive committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Obesity. He also co-authored a national toolkit for pediatric providers to address food insecurity in their clinical settings with the AAP and FRAC. Dr. Essel earned a B.S. from Emory University with a focus on human biology/anthropology and earned his M.D. and M.P.H. in Epidemiology from GWU.

About David D. Kilmer, M.D.

David D. Kilmer, M.D.Dr. Kilmer received his bachelor's degree in kinesiology from UCLA, graduating magna cum laude. He received his medical degree from the UC Davis School of Medicine in 1985, graduating with Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor society distinction. Upon completing his PM&R residency at UC Davis in 1989, he joined the faculty of the PM&R department. In 1991, he became the Director of UC Davis Medical Center's Electromyography (EMG) Laboratory and Director of the Adult Prosthetics and Orthotics Clinics. In 1999, he became the Acting Chair of the Department of PM&R and in 2000 was appointed as Chair of the Department, remaining as such until his untimely passing in 2009.

Dr. Kilmer was an internationally renowned clinician, teacher, and researcher. He was known for the state-of-the-art and compassionate rehabilitation care he provided to patients with traumatic neurological conditions, amputations, and neuromuscular diseases. He was a gifted researcher, who published extensively in the medical literature on the effects of exercise in patients with neuromuscular disease, and he made numerous contributions that have influenced the care of these patients worldwide.

He twice won the faculty teaching award and was greatly respected by medical students, residents, and colleagues. In 2005, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UC Davis School of Medicine and the Citation for Excellence from the Cal Aggie Alumni Association.

He served on the board of directors for the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and membership on the editorial board for the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Kilmer was a founding member of the neuromuscular medicine subspecialty board, jointly under the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.