Richard Cleland, a career advocate for making informed decisions about health-related products and services, joined the faculty of the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington (SPH-B) earlier this year. A public servant for more than 40 years, he served as the director of consumer protection in the Iowa Attorney General's Office from 1983 to 1991. During that time he prosecuted cases of health fraud, particularly weight loss fraud. He also collaborated with other states to bring charges against major corporations making deceptive claims about the health benefits of their food products.
Mr. Cleland holds a J.D. from the University of Iowa. When he joined the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 1991, he advanced through several roles including assistant director of the Division of Advertising Practices, assistant director of the Service Industry Practices, and assistant to the director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for Regional Office Operations. Throughout his time at the FTC, he continued to expose and prevent product advertising that falsely claimed to increase healthy outcomes.
"Rich understands the importance of evaluating the research that underpins legal decision making," says fellow SPH-B faculty member Paul Coates, Ph.D. "This proved invaluable—more than once—in dealing with companies that failed to tell the whole truth about their products. I've always been impressed with his depth of knowledge and perseverance in bringing cases against companies that were doing the wrong thing."