By applying effective interventions, advancing nutritional truths through research, and building global collaborations, The Mathile Institute is able to have a tremendous impact while maintaining a lean and efficient organization. Guided by a small but intensely dedicated leadership team, the institute is able to advance its mission worldwide while growing capacity for the future.
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Former CEO and owner of The Iams Company, Clay Mathile, is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition®.
Born into a hard-working family, Clay is an Ohio native who worked as an assistant purchasing agent for the Campbell Soup Company. He joined Iams in the 1970s where he went on to become CEO, owner and Chairman of the Board over the following few decades. In 1999, the Mathile family sold Iams to international conglomerate Procter & Gamble.
Clay’s passion for teaching and his belief that no child should suffer from the lack of quality food, inspired him to develop The Mathile Institute. Clay’s idea was fueled by the notion that the expertise, energy and dedication he and his team put toward creating world-class quality pet food, could be redirected to finding sustainable, practical and evidence-based solutions to help children and families around the world.
Clay’s long-time friendship with Nobel Laureate and father of the Green Revolution, Dr. Norman Borlaug reinforced the urgency with which to look at combating hunger and malnutrition in a new way. As such, The Mathile Institute is committed to exploring nutrition interventions through different, yet culturally-relevant approaches that would build upon and strengthen existing food and nutrition insights.
Clay’s ultimate vision for The Mathile Institute is that its outputs help the human condition by reducing suffering, improving quality of life, and empowering people to reach their full potential.
Still active in several business ventures, Clay devotes most of his time to philanthropic interests. In addition to The Mathile Institute, Clay is involved in the following ventures:
Clay also serves as a trustee on a select group of nonprofit boards focused on education, medical innovation, and social justice. Clay and MaryAnn, live in Dayton, Ohio. Clay insists his most important roles are that of husband, father of five, and grandfather of 15.
Diane Hirakawa, M.S., Ph.D., became President of the Mathile Institute in 2006. During a career devoted to global nutrition, Diane gained extensive experience in combining unique ingredients to provide value-added nutrients for optimal growth, reproduction, physical development, endurance, and overall health. This experience and knowledge guides the Mathile Institute’s efforts to advance research and intervention projects based on sound nutritional principles and evidence-based science. Diane received her Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry from the University of Illinois. In addition to her passion for nutrition, Diane is a strong advocate of preventive health care and serves as president of Collaborative Medical Research, an organization supporting collaborative research to develop a cure for ependymoma brain cancer. An active community leader and volunteer, Diane also serves on the board of the Dayton YMCA, Miami Valley School, and other organizations.
Program Director, Research
Ana M. Palacios, M.D. joined the Mathile Institute in January, 2014. Ana has great passion to create change and enrich the nutritional health of young children in Central and South America as she has seen many children suffering from malnutrition in her home country of Colombia, South America
Before joining the Mathile Institute, Ana’s initial studies in anthropology provided her with a social perspective that latter blossomed into a passionate interest in getting involved in health related projects with high social impact. This encouraged her to go to medical school at the Javeriana University School of Medicine in Bogota, where she graduated in 2007. During her medical training she was actively involved in organizing health and educational campaigns principally targeted to improve children’s nutrition and health. When she graduated, she worked as a primary care physician in a small town with very limited resources. Her increasing interest in maternal and child’s health motivated her to join the Institute of Human Genetics in Bogota where she conducted several clinical research projects related to maternal nutrition, pregnancy outcomes and birth defects, and trained residents and interns in the physical examination of newborns for the detection of birth defects.
These efforts resulted in the creation of a DNA bank, and the consolidation of a surveillance program of birth defects. After realizing that there were still a lot of questions to be answered, Ana decided to complete a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M Health Science Center in 2011, and earned her Master’s in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Texas in 2013. Most recently, Ana was appointed Visiting Faculty at Georgia Southern University with lecture and laboratory responsibilities in the areas of genetics, microbiology and molecular genetics.
Program Manager, Finance & Development
In her role as Program Manager, Finance & Development, Hope E. Beemer, helps manage documentation and financial strategy for the Institute’s many research and intervention programs and multi-national collaborative projects. In addition to preparing financial statements, managing budgets and payments, Hope manages general ledger accounting and budget management for the Institute. She earned her B.S. in business and finance from Wright State University and held roles in corporate accounting, financial services, and mutual fund accounting before joining the Institute in 2012.