Happy 30th Friedman!

by Katie Andrews

A 30th birthday is a momentous celebration, but one often shied away from. Each exciting milestone has come and gone; the first drive on your 16th, the first drink on your 21st, the first rental car on your 25th.  The 30th marks a level of accomplishment in life, but is often the last birthday that we celebrate with such gusto.  For some, it may be feared it’s all downhill after the 30th, but when it comes to celebrating the first 30 years of the Friedman school, I think we would all argue the opposite.

The school has a website dedicated to highlighting the accomplishments of our current students and esteemed alumni, which I recommend you visit. Below is a timeline of the first 30 years of the school, and some thoughts on what the school has accomplished since its inception.

The History of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

1977 – Dr. Jean Mayer, then president of Tufts University, creates the Tufts Nutrition Institute.

1981 – The School of Nutrition, the only graduate school of nutrition in the country, is formally established.

–      The school now has 108 faculty members and more than 75 adjunct and affiliated faculty members.

1982 – The HNRCA (Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University) opens and Dr Hamish Munro is named as director.

–      The HNRCA, the nation’s largest center of its kind, now houses more than 55 scientists and 22 labs.

1983 – The Tufts University Diet and Nutrition Letter is created (now called the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter).

1986 and 1993 – Dr Irwin Rosenberg becomes director of the HNRCA and is then named dean of the school.

1994 – The school is renamed the School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Agriculture, Food and Environment program is introduced.

–      The Agriculture, Food and Environment program remains unique to the nation.

1995 – The Nutrition Communication program is created and remains unique to the nation.

1996 – The Alan Shawn Feinstein International Center (now the Feinstein International Center) is established and in association with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy offers the only combined master’s degree in humanitarian assistance in the United States.

–      Field based research now occurs in over a dozen countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Niger, Uganda, Haiti and the United States.

1999 – The Center for Physical Fitness is founded and renamed the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Prevention in 2003.

2001 – Dr. Robert Russell is named the director of the HNRCA and the School of Nutrition Science and Policy is renamed the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

–      The Friedman School now has over 200 master’s degree and doctoral students and over 1000 alumni worldwide.

2003 – Welcome to Boston! The Friedman school is housed in the Jaharis Family Center for Biomedical and Nutrition Sciences on the Boston campus.

2004 – Dr. Eileen Kennedy becomes the dean of Friedman.

2007 – Friedman partners with the government of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates to create a hybrid learning master’s degree in nutrition, focusing on challenges in the Gulf, Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

2009 – Dr. Simin Meydani becomes director of the HNRCA.

2010 – The Friedman school is awarded two grants by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) totaling $15 million. The school, represented by Dr. Patrick Webb and Dr. William Masters, will serve as the Management Entity for a Nutrition Collaborative Research Support Program in Africa and Asia.

In reading over the accomplishments of Friedman’s faculty, alumni and associated schools and facilities, it is difficult not to be impressed. I certainly was when I considered where I wanted to complete my graduate studies.

But Friedman is more that just a list of accomplishments. It is a family of individuals who have come together to battle some of the most challenging issues our world faces; international food security, the future of worldwide health, and the prevalence of childhood obesity, to name a few. These are the issues that others shy away from, the ones that are pushed aside for other more “pressing” matters. Why? Because there are no easy solutions to these problems. The most common reaction I receive when telling people I am studying Nutrition Communications is that I have my work cut out for me.

Although Friedman as an institution cannot always provide the answers, it acts as an environment that allows students to think, create and dream of solutions for what we see as the most pressing issues of our time. So, Happy Birthday Friedman. Thank you for providing us with a space to make great changes in our world. Here is to 30 more years; I can’t wait to be impressed by everything else we will accomplish.

Katie Andrews is a 1st year Nutrition Communications student also pursuing the DPD credits for her dietetic internship. She loves writing about all things food and nutrition – if you’re looking for a more regular dose of her opinions on recent nutrition news or pictures of her adorable frenchie Hugo, check out her blog at theaspiringrd.com!

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