2015 Distinguished Alumni: Aaron Kelly

Following graduation from King’s High School in 1994, Aaron Kelly attended Seattle Pacific University where he earned dual degrees in physical education and exercise science. After working for a year as an EKG cardiology technician at the Polyclinic in Seattle, he spent two years completing a master’s degree in exercise physiology at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT.

In 2000, Aaron married Gretchen Field and shortly after moved to Minneapolis, MN to begin working on his PhD at the University of Minnesota. After completing his degree in 2004, Aaron spent four years as a research scientist at St. Paul Heart Clinic where he conducted clinical research in patients with obesity and diabetes. In 2008, he joined the faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2013. His primary research focus is pediatric obesity medicine, which includes clinical trials evaluating obesity medications and surgical treatment in adolescents with severe obesity.

Aaron is the chair of the Minnesota Pediatric Obesity Consortium, has held various leadership committee appointments for the American Heart Association and The Obesity Society, serves as an advisor to multiple pharmaceutical companies that are developing obesity medications for children and adolescents, and was recently named as the international principal investigator for a large FDA trial of a new weight loss medication for adolescents. He has published over 70 research articles and received approximately $7 million in grant funding for his work. In addition to lecturing in the United States, Aaron has been invited to give international presentations on childhood obesity in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and Italy. Over the last 10 years, he has mentored over 40 trainees and junior faculty members.

Aaron currently resides in Woodbury, MN with his wife Gretchen and their daughters Maggie (10) and Maya (8). Gretchen is a coach and program director at Rising Stars Gymnastics Academy, where Maggie and Maya are gymnasts in the team program.