National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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D. Lee Alekel, Ph.D.

D. Lee Alekel, Ph.D.
Program Director

Division of Extramural Research
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
6707 Democracy Boulevard II, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892
(Courier Service - 20817)

(301) 443-8374

D. Lee Alekel, Ph.D., is program director of women’s health at NCCAM overseeing a broad-based portfolio that includes women’s health and aging, focused on mind and body approaches (e.g., yoga, tai chi) and a variety of natural products (e.g., polyphenols, omega-3 fatty acids, melatonin) that might provide evidence of efficacy in symptom relief for various conditions (e.g., sleep disturbances/insomnia), diseases (e.g., CVD, diabetes), and aging. Prior to joining NCCAM, Dr. Alekel was a professor of nutrition and interim associate director of the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center at Iowa State University. Her prior faculty appointment was as assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Dr. Alekel has numerous peer-reviewed publications in the areas of exercise/physical activity and bone/body composition, soy isoflavones and bone and endometrial thickness, isoflavone-rich soy and menopausal symptoms, inflammatory markers and central adiposity, ethnicity and bone, ethnicity and CVD risk & breast cancer risk, iron status in women, and nutritional status. She has provided more than 80 invited talks nationally and internationally to professional audiences and more than 40 invited talks to lay audiences.

Dr. Alekel was twice the recipient of the NCCAM Director’s Merit Award (December 2011 and November 2012) for outstanding leadership of the Clinical Studies Working Group at NCCAM and for outstanding teamwork to develop the NCCAM web-based Clinical Research Toolbox. She has led a trans-NIH effort to promote the concept of “Arts-Based Approaches in Palliative Care for Symptom Management,” has spear-headed a trans-NIH effort for a Sleep/Pain Workshop (May 2014), and has participated in the NIH 2013 Senior Leadership Program. She plays a leadership role in the North American Menopause Society, has been active in the American Society for Nutrition, and is becoming involved in SLEEP meetings (joint meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society). She was also the recipient of the Ruth L. Pike Lecture Series Frontiers in Nutrition Research Award (April 2008) from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, as well as the winner of the prestigious Mead Johnson Award (2003) through the American Society for Nutritional Sciences.

Dr. Alekel received her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences with an emphasis in statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana, her M.S. in Human Nutrition with a physiology minor from the Pennsylvania State University, her B.S. in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University, and completed an internship in Clinical Dietetics at Kansas University Medical Center.