We have a team with expertise in all the areas required for the transformation of your mind and body:
Nutritional – weight loss expert academic MDs
Weight loss/eating disorder psychologist
Athletic trainer/physical therapist
DR. H: Founder, Team Leader, Associate Professor, and Author
PETE KOCH: Fitness Director
ANDREA LEIGH MS: Program Director
JEN EISENBARTH: Weight Loss Motivator
ERIKA WONG: Registered Dietician
JENNIFER KERNS: Physican
DR. HEATHER GIBSON: Psychologist
SHANI VERCHICK: Registered Dietitian
MIKE BUCHER: Yoga Instructor
KARLA BARAHONA: Director of Housekeeping
DR. MARC H. BOFF : Physical Therapist
JERRY "MEAN" FULLMER: Property Technician
Dr. H is the Founder of Aqua Malibu and our team leader. An Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at UCLA and author of numerous scientific abstracts, papers and books on aggressive non-surgical approaches to obesity, Dr. H has championed his cause during the last 15 seasons of The Biggest Loser. He is also the former team physician for the Los Angeles Raiders, and authored a book adapted by Oliver Stone for the movie, Any Given Sunday.
Dr. H grew up in Rochester, New York, and was named valedictorian in high school as well as earning all-county honors in football, wrestling and track. He attended the University of Michigan and Harvard Medical School, earning honors in science and math. Dr. H did his medical residence at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, focusing on internal medicine and sports medicine, and was appointed Chief Medical Resident. He entered a pulmonary fellowship before leaving to serve as the Los Angeles Raiders team physician as well as to be the national medical correspondent for Breakaway (FOX) and later for The Home Show (ABC).
After serving for eight years as Los Angeles Raiders team physician and four years as president and president-elect for the NFL Physician’s Society, he wrote You’re OK, It’s Just a Bruise—A Doctor’s Sideline Secrets about professional football’s most outrageous team, which provoked a national debate on anabolic steroids and other ergogenic (sport enhancing) aids over a decade before the senate ‘steroid’ hearings. He continues to be active in the world of professional sports, being called in 2009 as an expert witness by the House Judiciary Committee looking into repetitive brain injuries (CTE) in football players. Dr. Huizenga has repeatedly been interviewed as a health expert on CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News andABC World News, Nightline and in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other national print media. He has also been called as a medical expert in multiple high profile legal cases including both the criminal and civil OJ Simpson trials. He has recurring roles as writer, correspondent and advisor on numerous TV shows and movies, including The Biggest Loser, Extreme Makeover, Work Out, Thinervention, American Gladiators, Student Body, Dance Your Ass Off, Fourth and Long, Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best, Shedding for the Wedding, Love Handles, Dale Con Ganas and Into the Wild.
In 2008, Dr. Huizenga authored Where Did All the Fat Go? The Wow! Prescription to Reach Your Ideal Weight and Stay There, about the radical exercise-centric obesity treatment he first pioneered with more than 600 overweight TV applicants, resulting in more than 18 published medical abstracts or articles.
Dr. Huizenga has deep sports and science-writer roots; his father, John Robert Huizenga, was an all-star basketball and baseball player before serving as a member of the Manhattan Project and later receiving the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award (the US Nobel prize) for nuclear physics for his nuclear fusion research (including co-discovery of Einsteinium and Fermium, element numbers 99 and 100).
Born on Long Island, New York, Pete began playing contact football at the age of seven and didn’t stop for twenty years. Along the way he captained his winning New Hyde Park High School team, then his University of Maryland team to the ACC Championship and appearance in the prestigious Citrus Bowl. Pete received All ACC and All-American Honorable Mention honors. Pete was a First Round selection (sixteenth overall) in the 1984 NFL Draft; selected by the Cincinnati Bengals. Pete spent four years with the Kansas City Chiefs, notably starting at right defensive end in their playoff run of 1986. Pete wrapped up his six-year NFL run with the Los Angeles Raiders teaming with future Hall of Famers Howie Long, Marcus Allen and Mike Haynes.
Upon retirement from the NFL, Pete transitioned into a successful fitness modeling andacting career starring along side Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge, Burt Reynolds inHeat and Evening Shade, Patrick Dempsey in Loverboy and others totaling more than120 Hollywood productions.
Throughout the years, Pete has remained deeply committed to maintaining his strength, flexibility, conditioning and overall health through regular workouts. A natural curiosity and commitment to ongoing education, drives Pete’s continuous research in the field ofAthlete Performance. Self-preservation factors into the zeal Pete brings to his studies and training, initiated by five orthopedic surgeries (due to 20 years of contact football). Pete’s early exposure and relationships with internationally renown strength and conditioning experts Dr. Fred Hatfield and Frank Costello motivated him to continue his exploration of cutting edge training methods and techniques. He successfully rehabilitated from two spine surgeries, which helped him to solidify his ideas on the importance of spinal stability/core conditioning.
In 2004 Pete Developed a system of training that he calls Functional Advanced Sports Training or FAST, a melding of numerous scientifically proven training methodologies to optimize neuromuscular control and maximize athletic performance. Pete was then called on to direct the training of a number of Hollywood luminaries including Tobey Maguire, Joseph Fiennes and Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro. Currently certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Sports Fitness Specialist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
A University of Maryland graduate, Pete remains committed to ongoing education and research in a life long commitment to maximizing human performance and health in people of all ages.
ANDREA LEIGH MS
Business owner, strength, fitness and conditioning professional with 25 years of experience. Founder and CEO of CrossFit APx and Performance Bootcamps. Expert in military fitness/bootcamp training, weight loss, athlete development and total body conditioning. Experienced in ground up development of fitness and sports programing/events and corporate team building. Andrea is a former D1 athlete and has trained US Marines through their Semper Fit training program.
Recovered from thirteen years active bulimic, Andrea is a published author and public speaker/advocate of eating disorders.
Jen has become very accustomed to people not readily remembering her as a contestant onThe Biggest Loser. The show was relatively new and no one, including Jen, would have ever expected that she would have been eliminated in week one and then return to the show, having lost more than 41% of her body weight, rivaling the successes of those who remained on the Ranch nearly three months!
Jen remembers in the midst of her extensive audition for the show and during all of her medical tests, evaluations and interviews, that she felt compelled to convince producers of what she could do if they selected her for the show. You can only imagine her surprise upon meeting TBL’s renowned weight loss expert and behind his closed office doors him saying, “Forget about the show — this show is only momentary, do this for your life!” Dr. H. was that doctor and neither he nor Jen, realized how accurate he would be! Jen was sent home at the first elimination! Yes, her time on the show was momentary, but Dr. H.’s words were lasting and deeply resonated within her as she set off on her journey without the security of weight loss that had been guaranteed to those who remained on the Ranch.
Jen went home feeling overwhelmed, but soon realized this journey was just as much about her family as it was about her — her family was her life! When Jen returned for the finale, producers weren’t quite sure what to do with her. The success of the show at that time, relied heavily (no pun intended) on contestants being completely removed from their lives while being provided the top weight loss resources available, at the Ranch.
Truth is, Dr. H. had provided Jen his knowledge and new tools to accomplish her goals and Jen simply came home and applied them. As a result, she subsequently lost 100 pounds in seven months. Jen’s at-home journey to health has made her an example of how real people can have success taking off weight like they do on NBC’s hit show, without leaving their lives all together! Jen has always credited this possibility to Dr. H.!
Jen was the fat kid who unfortunately had the maiden name of ‘Reher‘ (pronounced like your butt). Today, Jen is a wife and mommy of three, who volunteers in her community. Her life has continued to be filled with many highs and lows — both in her life and on the scale. No, Jen is not one of those contestants who lost it and has kept it off until the last page of the fairytale that reads, ‘THE END.‘
But Jen can tell you she will face each obstacle head on, getting up each time she is knocked down, more determined to live out an absolutely healthy ‘Happily Ever After‘!
Since appearing on the finale, Jen has celebrated the birth of her third child (although disappointed he didn’t weigh the 92 lbs. Jen gained during her pregnancy!); succeeded in losing that baby weight; deeply mourned the loss of her fourth pregnancy; nearly drowned in debt while suing numerous diet drug companies to stop them from using her before and after images to sell their gimmick products; been diagnosed with a birth defect in both ankles requiring surgery with extensive recovery time (see, there is a reason Jen has always hated running!); and most recently, trying to find peace in learning of her father’s rare and incurable stage IV cancer.
As if maintaining her weight in the day-to-day wasn’t challenging enough, these experiences have certainly tested her resilience. Jen is strong, but human. She feels blessed to be able to continue to assist people in their journeys to better health not as an expert, but rather a vital source of knowledge and inspiration of having ‘been there‘ and ‘still fighting the good fight‘ for what Dr. H. once told her that she would — for the rest of her life!
Thank you Dr. H.!
Erika earned a Masters Degree in Clinical Nutrition from Tufts University while completing her dietetic training at the Tufts-New England Medical Center. Her graduate work included a review of dietary antioxidants and related anti-cancer benefits. She has experience in both pediatric and adult weight management and obesity from the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center.
Erika has spent the past five years working as a dietitian-chef at California Health & Longevity Institute at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village. She has since started her private practice and works closely with physicians to provide individual nutrition counseling for weight loss, diabetes, heart disease, and pediatric care. Erika provides small group workshops, on-site nutrition presentations, and nutrition-based grocery store tours. She also teaches healthy, hands-on cooking classes that promote plant-based eating for disease prevention and optimal health.
Erika is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Food and Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group, and Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group.
Dr. Kerns is an accomplished physician, who also understands weight-related issues better than anyone, having struggled with her own obesity since childhood. In 2006, Jen made the decision to transform her life and became one of the 50 contestants on Season Three of The Biggest Loser, where she managed to loose an astounding 108 pounds in eight months as an at-home contestant. Dr. Kerns has successfully maintained her weight loss (actually losing an additional 15 pounds!) and relocated to Los Angeles, where she joined the busy medical practice of Dr. Rob Huizenga in order to focus her career on the treatment of obesity and obesity-related illness.
As a teenager, she attended weight loss camps and tried formal diet plans, but nothing seemed to work, and she continued to gain weight. The ‘freshman 15‘ was more like the ‘freshman 50‘ for Jen! She grew into a smart, confident woman and knew what she needed to do (does “eat less, exercise more” ring a bell?) but still struggled with losing the weight. Finally, she became determined enough to dedicate herself to drastically changing her lifestyle during her first year in medical school. She lost about 120 lbs. over the course of two years, but then regained it entirely during the next five years as she dealt with significant stress, including her divorce.
She realized how unhappy she was back at her heaviest weight, but knew she could change her life again and was inspired to apply to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser in 2006. Since losing her excess weight for the second (and last!) time as a contestant on season three of The Biggest Loser, she has lost an additional 15 lbs. and successfully maintained her 120 lbs. weight loss for more than six years through diet and exercise alone (and she still enjoys a cocktail or an indulgent dessert on a regular basis!). Dr. Kerns has never been happier to have transformed from that fat camp-going teenager she used to be, and is living proof that even the smartest, most successful people might have the knowledge they need to lose weight but can still struggle with actually accomplishing the task. She has picked up many tricks and key strategies during the past 15 years that have enabled her to maintain her massive weight loss. She is passionate about using her own personal experience, combined with cutting-edge scientific knowledge, to help support patients through their own battle against obesity, and to help them with perhaps the most difficult task of all: maintaining the weight loss forever.
DR. HEATHER GIBSON
Dr. Gibson has worked with hundreds of patients for healthful weight management that starts with changes in thinking regarding one’s self and attitude toward food, as well as a host of behavioral changes that are necessary for a healthful lifestyle. Dr. Gibson uses proven, empirically-validated treatments to guide her work and your weight management. All of the changes she will work on with you have been proven to be effective for real, long-term weight loss and maintenance, and will be tailored to your particular background and circumstances — no one size fits all here. She will work with you to develop an effective weight loss program specifically tailored to your life, needs, strengths, and behavior patterns. Dr. Gibson is one of a few license clinical psychologists that have specialized in eating disorders and obesity her entire career. She has worked in a variety of settings, has published empirical research studies and book chapters in the field, and is truly passionate about the work she does. Dr. Gibson received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Texas Tech University, and completed her internship and training at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute.
Shani is a registered dietitian nutritionist passionate about helping individuals understand how to feed themselves in a simplified way to lose weight, increase energy and vitality and feel good overall for optimal health. When the foundational nutrition elements are in place, people have an opportunity to naturally live healthier lives. Shani has worked in four departments at Cedars Sinai Medical Center as a clinical dietitian, including acute care, cardiac rehabilitation, outpatient counseling and bariatric surgery. Shani has a deep understanding of all aspects of medical nutrition therapy including obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, renal and liver disease, gastrointestinal disorders and disordered eating.
In addition to working at Cedars, Shani was the chief dietitian at the California Center for Health Living. She helped families and individuals of all ages with weight issues and disordered eating. She enjoys helping people navigate challenges around food. She has also worked in private practice for the past 5 years and most values the personalized counseling and relationships with her clients.
Shani’s philosophy is to teach clients how to nourish their bodies for optimal health and gain a healthy relationship with food. As a culinary school graduate, chef and former owner of a catering company, she understands the important role that food plays in our lives. With a background in psychology, she uses a client-centered approach along with motivational interviewing to gently guide clients to their nutrition goals. She helps individuals implement Dr. Huizenga’s dietary plan in a simple and effective way that can be incorporated into any lifestyle.
Shani is excited to be part of Aqua Malibu and help teach and inspire individuals to lose weight and feel great!
Practicing yoga has changed my life and healed my body, (Specifically a neck injury/surgery and a torn ACL). I am grateful to say that through this practice, I am healthier now then ever! In addition to this, practicing Yoga has calmed my mind, bringing greater peace and joy into my life. I am now blessed to share the healing power of yoga with you and others! I teach Hatha yoga with an emphasis on deep alignment and mindful movement. I also teach restorative, yin, and chair yoga with emphasis on breath work. I'm looking forward to seeing you in my class! Namaste!
Mike Bucher is Yoga Alliance 200 hours Certified.
Born in El Salvador, Karla has been a key member of Dr. H's Team for more than two years. Her interests include international politics and dancing.
DR. MARC H. BOFF
Marc has a Doctorate of Physical Therapy, is a Functional Trainer and a Licensed and Certified Athletic Trainer. He is the Owner of MHB Fitness (Manage your Health & Body) that specializes in providing a diverse array of training and orthopedic services including functional and core training, movement analysis, injury prevention and management, rehabilitation, and weight management services in order to attain sport and body specific as well as fitness and wellness training goals. His client base includes professional, collegiate and amateur athletes, celebrities preparing for roles and campaigns and individuals with specific fitness and wellness training goals
Marc has been the Athletic Trainer onset for The Biggest Loser from Season 15 to current season. His 20 years of NBA experience spans 4 teams: Milwaukee Bucks: (5 years) Head Athletic Trainer and Physical Therapist, 2008-2013, Chicago Bulls: (4 years) Assistant Athletic Trainer and Physical Therapist, 2004-2008, New Orleans Hornets: (2 years) Head Strength Coach and Physical Therapist, 2002-2004 and Boston Celtics: (8 Year) Assistant to Head Athletic Trainer and Strength Coach.
JERRY "MEAN" FULLMER
Jerry was born on the Mean Streets of Los Angeles and is an original member of the Dr H Clinic Crew. Jerry is a passionate music producer and aspiring artist.