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Leadership Bios

Meet Our Leadership

The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center is led by an interdisciplinary team internationally recognized for their work in the wellness field.

  • Martha Van Gelder, MBA

    Martha Van Gelder, MBA

    Martha Van Gelder, MBA - Executive Director for Operations and Commercialization

    Martha Van Gelder has over 20 years in executive management leading global business development strategies and P&L management in both the profit and non-profit sectors. Martha’s expertise covers media, educational programming, consumer products, fitness and wellness fields, working for companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Sesame Workshop, Gaiam and L’Oréal.

    Her responsibilities lie in the development and commercialization and of the center’s core products and services as developed by the center’s research and wellness experts.

  • John C. Peters, PhD

    John C. Peters, PhD

    John C. Peters, PhD - Professor & Chief of Strategy and Innovation

    John Peters, a leading researcher and strategist in nutrition, obesity and diabetes, is charged with developing groundbreaking research and programming in nutrition, exercise and healthy behavior.

    Prior to joining CU, he spent 26 years in food and beverage, health care, and corporate new business research and development for Procter & Gamble Company.

    He is also involved in public health initiatives promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors. He is co-founder and chief executive officer of America on the Move and past president of the International Life Science Institute Center for Health Promotion. Peters has published over 130 scientific papers and reviews and co-authored The Step Diet book.

  • Daniel Bessesen, MD

    Daniel Bessesen, MD

    Daniel Bessesen, MD - Associate Director & Professor

    Daniel Bessesen, MD, associate director of the Center, is professor of medicine of endocrinology, metabolism and diabetes at CU, the director of fellowship training in endocrinology and the director of the Clinical Intervention and Translation Core of the NIH-funded Nutrition Obesity Research Center.

    Dan received his MD with honors from CU. He completed residency and fellowship training at CU and has been on CU’s faculty since 1991.

    Dan, who conducts studies in dietary fat metabolism, appetite and the clinical problem of obesity, has published more than 90 scientific articles and book chapters and is the coauthor of three books, including Treatment of the Obese Patient published in 2014.

  • Holly Wyatt, MD

    Holly Wyatt, MD

    Holly Wyatt, MD - Medical Director & Associate Professor

    A physician and clinical researcher, Holly has extensive experience in weight loss using medications and behavioral, dietary, physical activity and surgical treatments.

    Holly is co-author of State of Slim, revealing how Coloradans get and stay slender. As medical director of Extreme Weight Loss, she uses these principles to guide cast-member journeys.

    Her research interests include resting and total energy expenditure, fat oxidation and activity levels in weight-reduced populations. She studies the effect of diet on long-term success, as well as weight loss with Atkins’ vs. low fat-high carb diets and diet composition, exercise patterns and breakfast consumption in the National Weight Control Registry.

  • Erin Cunningham, MA

    Erin Cunningham, MA

    Erin Cunningham, MA - Director of Wellness Programs, Training and Leadership Development

    Education & Certifications

    • PhD Candidate/MA/BS, Colorado State University
    • Certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach, Certified Facilitator, Leader as Coach, Institute for Social and Emotional Intelligence
    • Certified Master Career Coach, Manager as Coach Leadership Series, Certified Facilitator, Career Partners International

    Areas of Specialization

    • Health, wellness, athletics coach
    • Leadership development
    • Social and emotional intelligence coach
    • Career and executive coach
    • State of Slim Instructor


    • “Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed possible.” – Dale Carnegie

    Personal Notables

    • NCAA Division I Cross-Country Track and Field, Colorado State University
    • Completed 10 marathons

  • David Basler

    David Basler

    David Basler - Director, Marketing and Communications

    David Basler has more than 15 years of experience in brand marketing and content management, working in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. He began his career as an entrepreneur, launching a successful publishing start-up and later co-founding a marketing agency focused on helping non-profits and small businesses.

    His passion for health and wellness began in 2008 when a health issue became the catalyst for a personal transformation. Since then, he has competed in a myriad of 5K, 10K and half marathon events, and enjoys staying active on a daily basis.

    Born in Ohio, David currently lives in Centennial, Colo., with his wife, two daughters and two dogs. A lover of art, music and travel, he also enjoys gardening and being outdoors, and can often be found hiking, biking, kayaking and fly-fishing (especially in the San Juan Mountains around Creede, Colo.).

  • Jeanne Paradeis, MBA

    Jeanne Paradeis, MBA

    Jeanne Paradeis, MBA - Director of Finance & Administration

    Jeanne Paradeis joined the Center in 2015 as the director of finance and administration, overseeing the fiscal management of funds as well as human resources, IT, grant administration, facilities and general operations.

    Jeanne has been with CU more than 20 years. Before joining the Center, she served as the assistant dean of administration in the School of Public Affairs for eight years and was with the campus Finance department before that.

    Jeanne has an MBA and a BS from CU Denver. She was born in Mitchell, South Dakota—home of the world’s only Corn Palace—and has one son who lives in San Francisco. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing and basically anything outdoors.

  • Luciana Smith, MS

    Luciana Smith, MS

    Luciana Smith, MS - Clinic Director

    Luciana joined the Center in 2015 as clinic director, overseeing all operational, clinical and research deliverables in the Wellness Clinic.

    Luciana managed research awards at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, served as division manager within the Department of Surgery’s GI, tumor and endocrine division and as program director for that division as well as multi-disciplinary surgical oncology programs. In 2014 she joined the University of Colorado Hospital as director of innovation in Ambulatory Services, focusing on management and strategy of clinical and financial operations and integration of business processes and analytics to drive program development and growth.

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Fitness Center: 303-724-WELL (9355)

Wellness Clinic: 303-724-9030


12348 E Montview Blvd.
Aurora, CO 80045