Weight Management Team


Laurel Sisler, LCSW, LCAS, CTTS 

Laurel Sisler is originally from Ontario, Canada and came to North Carolina to attend Duke University and compete on the Duke Rowing Team. After falling in love with NC, Laurel pursued a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) at UNC Chapel Hill where she focused on gaining behavioral counseling skills in healthcare settings. She enjoys helping patients translate their motivation into action toward leading healthier lives and collaborating with medical staff to provide evidence-based treatment to patients.

Shavonda Thomas, MD 

Shavonda Thomas is a preventive medicine resident, originally from Waynesboro, Ga. After completing her undergraduate and medical degrees in Georgia, she completed internal medicine residency at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Through the preventive medicine residency, she is receiving a master's of public health, where her research interests include chronic disease management through nutrition and physical activity counseling. Additionally, her career interest is working in underserved communities to improve lifestyles and the social determinants of health. 

Laura Higginbotham, MD 

Laura Higginbotham is originally from Buena Vista, VA and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2012. She subsequently completed four years of General Surgery residency training at Emory University in Atlanta, GA where she became interested in the influence of patients’ behaviors and social environments on their health outcomes. Dr. Higginbotham is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology at UNC Gillings School of Public Health and in the UNC Preventive Medicine residency training program with a focus on promoting and maintaining patient health prior to disease development. She enjoys providing patient education grounded in research and helping her patients achieve their goals of a healthier lifestyle.

Liska Lackey, MSN, FNP-BC

Liska Lackey counsels patients in the Wellness@Work program for Chapel Hill employees. As a nurse practitioner, Liska looks forward to working with Town employees to develop - and succeed in - their weight management plan.

Advisory Team:

Carol Ripley-Moffitt, MDiv, CTTS, Director

After 25 years as a pastor, Carol came to the field of public health in 2003, working with the UNC Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program. In 2007, she helped establish the UNC Nicotine Dependence Program and in 2014, she helped create the UNC Weight Management Program. In her current role, she supervises treatment specialists (weight and tobacco) and interns from the school of social work and public health, teaches medical students and resident physicians, manages quality improvement projects, and is responsible for the overall administration of NDP and WMP.

Dr. Adam Goldstein, MD, MPH, Professor, Director of UNC Tobacco Intervention Programs, Director of Departmental Advancement

Dr. Adam Goldstein is a Professor of Family Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine and the medical director of the Weight Management Program and the Tobacco Intervention Programs at UNC. As a leading U.S. expert in primary care, Dr. Goldstein has a 20-year history in clinical practice, teaching, and research. He has published over 150 articles, essays, book chapters, and books. His work has appeared in multiple media, including CNN, the CBS Evening News, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He has also received local, state and national recognition for his record of community service. He is married to Dr. Beth Goldstein and they have three children.

 In addition:

  • Dana Neutze, MD, Family Medicine
  • Linda Myerholtz, PhD, Psychologist, Family Medicine
  • Sam Weir, MD, Family Medicine
  • Susannah Southern, RDN, LDN, Clinical Dietitian
  • Laurie Conteh, MS, RD, LDN, Clinical Nutrition Manager
  • Meredith Duke, MD, MBA, UNC GI Surgery, Bariatric Surgeon
  • Alice Ammerman, PhD, Director, UNC Center for Health Promotion and  Disease Prevention
  • UNC Master of Public Health Capstone Groups (2014-15 and 2015-16)