Speakers

March 1st, 2021

Keynote Address: Dr. Linda Frizzell (12:00-1:00pm)

Dr. Linda Frizzell, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota

Dr. Frizzell has extensive experience and practice as a provider and administrator with Indian health systems. Her endeavors have included a broad range of professional preparations both in medicine and education, all dedicated to improvement of quality of life across the life span and health and wellness equity. Dr. Frizzell has provided numerous testimonies in regard to health care policy, health issues, gerontology, public health, cultural attunement, and tribal consultation.

Panel: Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics, and Precision Nutrition (3:00-4:00pm)

Kenny Westerman (Moderator), Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital
Kenny Westerman is a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute with a research interest in precision nutrition. Kenny received his PhD in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition from Tufts University, and completed a dissertation focused on the prediction of cardiovascular disease risk by integrating genomics, epigenomics, and dietary data. He is now a part of the Manning Laboratory, where his work involves the development of software and workflows for large-scale gene-environment interaction analysis, including on cloud computing platforms. His current projects aim to apply these tools to uncover novel gene-diet interactions and develop molecular predictors of personalized response to diet.

Dr. Paola Sebastiani (Panelist), Director of the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design Center, Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute 
Paola Sebastiani, PhD, received training in Mathematics and Statistics in Italy and the United Kingdom and held faculty positions in Italy, the UK, and Boston University before joining Tufts Medical Center in 2020, where she is director of BERD, and of the Center on Quantitative Methods and Data Science in the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies. She is also a faculty of the Data Intensive Study Center (DISC). Dr. Sebastiani is a multidisciplinary biostatistician, with a long track record of developing new methodologies in Bayesian statistics, decision theory, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and statistical experimental design, in addition to teaching, mentoring, and leading interdisciplinary research projects.  Paola has introduced innovative Bayesian techniques for the analysis of genomic and genetic data and was a pioneer in using networks to model the genetic and phenotypic basis of the complications of sickle cell anemia. She is also a renowned biostatistician in the fields of the biology and epidemiology of human aging and longevity: she introduced original methods to design observational studies of human longevity, and to discover genetic and non-genetic risk factors that contribute to healthy aging. She is Co-PI of the NIH funded Longevity Consortium, and of the Long Life Family Study. She is also multiple PI of a project to characterize the molecular targets of the protective APOE2 allele, and of a project that will generate multi-omics profiles of humans and other species to discover targets for healthy aging (Integrative longevity Omics). Her current research focuses on the genetics and epidemiology of extreme human longevity, analysis of rare genetic variants, and integrative analysis of multi-omics data using statistical and machine learning methods.

Dr. Jose Ordovas (Panelist), Senior Scientist, Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging
José M. Ordovás, Ph.D. is Professor of Nutrition and a Senior Scientist at the USDA-Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts where he also is the Director of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory. In addition, he is Professor of Genetics and Pharmacology at the School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Ordovas' primary research interests focus on the genetic and epigenetic factors predisposing to age-related chronic diseases (i.e., cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes) and their interaction with environmental and behavioral factors with particular emphasis on diet. He has published over 850 scientific articles and written books related to precision nutrition. In this regard, he is considered a pioneer and one of the most distinguished world experts in gene-diet interactions pertaining to cardiometabolic traits. Throughout his career, Dr. Ordovas has received multiple honors for his scientific achievements including the Secretary’s Award from the USDA, the Centrum, the David Kritchevsky career achievement and Dannon Institute Mentorship awards from the American Society for Nutrition. He has been awarded an honorary degree in Medicine bestowed by the University of Cordoba in Spain, and he is a Member of the Royal Academies of Sciences, Medicine, Nutrition and Pharmacy in Spain.

Dr. Milena Jorge, Vice President of Science, InsideTracker (Segterra)
Milena Jorge, MD/PhD is VP of Science at InsideTracker a personalized nutrition company combining blood, DNA, and physiological markers to give personalized nutritional recommendations based on our proprietary expert system and AI. Throughout her career, Milena has focused on integrating and generating insights from complex multi-‘omics data to identify real world applications for scientific discoveries across multiple uses –diagnostics, targets, predicted biomarkers, digital health applications, n-of-1. She got her PhD at Tufts University and her MD from Brazil.

Presentations: Nutrition Epidemiology and Data Science Research (4:00-5:00pm)

Maria Hershey, PhD ‘21, Universidad de Navarra

  • Abstract Title: Combined Effect of Diet and Physical Activity on Mortality: Relevance of Additive Interactions between Lifestyle Factors for Public Health
  • Biography: Maria is PhD candidate at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Navarra located in Pamplona, Spain. Currently in her third year of her PhD program in nutritional epidemiology, her PhD focuses on the impact of the Mediterranean lifestyle, both in Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean populations. Maria recently completed a research stay at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to study the combination of dietary and lifestyle factors among US career firefighters. Maria is passionate about studying a population's way of living, beyond dietary intake, to holistically assess and target multicomponent lifestyle interventions most efficiently. She conducts statistical analyses using data from large longitudinal cohorts and intervention trials with STATA programming software. After 8 years of studying in Spain, Maria is currently looking for job opportunities in her home country, USA! 

Yanlin Ren, MS ‘21, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy 

  • Abstract Title: Worsening Household Food Insecurity is Associated with Poorer Nutritional Status among Children Aged 6-23 Months in Agago District, Uganda
  • Biography: Yanlin is a second year graduate student and research assistant at Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, pursing a MS in Food and Nutrition Programs and Policy (May 2021). Yanlin is interested in food insecurity reduction through nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific programing in low-middle-income countries. Currently, Yanlin analyzes and visualizes household survey data from Uganda for the One Nutrition in Complex Environment (ONCE) study. Yanlin loves data science and is good at Stata, Tableau, QGIS, ArcMap, ENVI. Yanlin earned a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from University of Pittsburgh. 

Hyomin Lee, MS '22, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

  • Abstract Title: Identifying wasted children: Do MUAC and WHZ identify the same children? Exploratory data analysis from Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso

Siena Mitman, Fogarty Global Health Equity Scholar '20-'21, University of California, Berkeley and la Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador

  • Abstract Title: Risk factors for carriage of antimicrobial resistant Escherichia coli in domestic animals of semi-rural parishes of Quito, Ecuador
  • Biography: Siena is a fourth-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine candidate at Tufts University (May 2022) and a Master of Public Health at the University of Minnesota (May 2023). She is currently taking a gap year from her veterinary studies to complete a 2020-2021 Fogarty Global Health Equity Scholars fellowship with the University of California, Berkeley and la Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. Her research focuses on the relationship between small-scale livestock ownership, antimicrobial resistance, and zoonotic diarrheal diseases. Siena has an undergraduate degree in Biology and Spanish and a strong interest in One Health, particularly the intersection between the human-animal relationship, food systems, and infectious disease transmission. She will be searching for full-time job opportunities in the field upon graduation next year. 
Presentations: Nutrition Information and Communications Research (4:00-5:00pm)

Leah Galitzdorfer, MS '20, RD, Dietitian/Consultant at Head Start Programs

  • Abstract Title: Understanding facilitators and barriers to dietary management among hispanic men with type II diabetes: perceptions of health professionals
  • Biography: Leah received her MS in Nutrition at CUNY Brooklyn College in 2020, and completed the Dietetic Program at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health in 2019, where she contributed to research efforts that target the use of human-centered and culturally sensitive approaches to address the health disparities experienced among New York City’s most underserved populations. As a consultant, Leah provides support to Head Start Programs through the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of nutrition support services and has presented on best practices for increasing parent engagement. Collectively, these experiences have allowed Leah to be well-versed in conducting qualitative research, assessing community needs, and program development and evaluation. Leah looks forward to opportunities to utilize and expand on these skills! 

Holly Paden, PhD ‘23, Ohio State University

  • Abstract Title: Assessing food safety attitudes of current dietetic students in the United States, United Kingdom, and Lebanon
  • Biography: Holly is a third year doctoral student at the Ohio State University in the Department of Human Sciences Nutrition program. Her research concentration is on food safety during cancer treatment. She has a Bachelor's degree in Molecular Genetics with a minor in Microbiology, as well as a Master's degree in Human Nutrition. Her current research interests include crafting food safety education for high risk groups, microbiological analysis of foodborne pathogens on fresh produce, and assessment of the human microbiome. 

Kelly Kogan, PhD ‘22, George Mason University

  • Abstract Title: Measuring Food Preparation Equipment in the Home: Developing and Field Testing an Instrument for Use in a Pediatric Obesity Intervention
  • Biography: Kelly Kogan, JD, MS, is PhD student in Health Services Research at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Her research interests include exploring how public policy can promote healthier food environments, public policy evaluation, and the use of data to understand the relationships between the food environment, dietary decision-making, and health. While studying for her MS in Nutrition at George Mason University, Ms. Kogan worked as a graduate research assistant for VALÉ: A Multidisciplinary Childhood Obesity Treatment Program for Latino Communities, a pediatric obesity weight management program in Woodbridge, Virginia. Her responsibilities included providing nutrition education to program participants, meal planning and preparation, and data cleaning and analysis. Ms. Kogan is a member of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior and the American Society for Nutrition. 

Naveen Sunder, Assistant Professor, Bentley University

  • Abstract Title: Women’s Education and Diet Diversity
Workshop: Statistics Software and Professional Development (5:00-6:00pm)

Kyle Monahan, Senior Data Science Specialist, Tufts University

Kyle Monahan enjoys using statistical and GIS tools to analyze complex systems through data analysis and visualization, map design, code scripting, and environmental sampling. Kyle received a dual B.S. in Environmental Science and Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2012, an M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering from Clarkson University in 2014, and most recently an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tufts University in 2016. His research has taken him from developing contaminant chronologies for the Hudson River, to identifying microfossils in sediment from extreme weather events, to designing low-cost water filters. His most recent work used agent-based models to investigate the role of social and behavioral factors on the feasibility of water filters in South Africa. Kyle has aimed to share these experiences in water and sustainable development by co-teaching various courses at Harvard Extension since 2014. In 2016, he worked as a GIS Analyst for Tufts, providing individualized GIS services to students and faculty. Kyle has been the Senior Data Science Specialist at Tufts University since 2017, providing statistical consulting, data visualization and high-performance computing (HPC) support. He also teaches at the Tufts Gordon Institute in Data Analytics. You can learn more about his work at www.kylemonahan.info.

Workshop: Comparisons Across R (w/RStudio), Stata, and SAS - Part I (6:00-7:00pm)

Emily Sanchez, MS, RD, CNSC, CLC, PhD ’23, Tufts University
Emily is an experienced Registered Dietitian (RD) with 7+ years active duty military service in the United States Army. She is also a Certified Lactation Counselor and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician. Emily was selected to complete the Army’s Long-term Health and Education Training program and is now in her second semester at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in the Nutritional Epidemiology and Data Science program. She aspires to leverage her nutritional knowledge and experience to continue supporting the Defense Health Agency and developing healthier Soldiers and Families.

Kees Schipper, MS '21, Tufts University
Kees is a second year MS student at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy pursuing a degree in Nutritional Epidemiology and Data Science. He is currently researching fluctuations in COVID-19 case, death, and testing data, and how these fluctuations can be quantified and controlled for to improve the accuracy of near-term outbreak forecasting. He is interested in statistical and programming methodologies, having multiple years of experience programming in R, SAS, and exposure to various software including Python, Matlab, and various GIS toolkits. Kees has extensive experience in data management, cleaning, handling data missingness, exploring new data sources, and time series analysis. As a side interest, Kees enjoys teaching data science programming in weekly workshops and tutorials.

Bree Langlois, MPH PhD '23, Tufts University
Breanne is a second year PhD student in Nutrition Epidemiology and Data Science at Tufts. Her research interest is in climate change vulnerability assessment in relation to food security and nutrition. As a data scientist, she integrates spatial and epidemiological data sources to better understand the role of the environment on nutrition outcomes. She has experience working with remote sensing data, publicly available survey data, and large scale field trials evaluating malnutrition outcomes. She has extensive analytic experience across a range of statistical packages. She plans to complete her PhD in 2023.

Ryan Simpson, MS PhD '22, Tufts University
Ryan is a second year PhD candidate at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy pursuing a degree in Nutrition Epidemiology and Data Science (May 2022). His research includes numerous published papers on infectious disease time series modeling and near real-time outbreak forecasting of influenza, food/waterborne illnesses, and SARS-CoV-2. He has expertise in all stages of the data lifecycle including data extraction, compilation, harmonization, analysis, visualization, and communications. He also has and continues to serve as a research manager, coordinator, and scientist for numerous ongoing grants awarded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Project's Agency, National Science Foundation, and Tufts Data Intensive Studies Center. Ryan is currently searching for full- or part-time job opportunities in fields related to disease modeling, forecasting, and analytics.

Kyle Monahan, Senior Data Science Specialist, Tufts University
Kyle Monahan enjoys using statistical and GIS tools to analyze complex systems through data analysis and visualization, map design, code scripting, and environmental sampling. Kyle received a dual B.S. in Environmental Science and Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2012, an M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering from Clarkson University in 2014, and most recently an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tufts University in 2016. His research has taken him from developing contaminant chronologies for the Hudson River, to identifying microfossils in sediment from extreme weather events, to designing low-cost water filters. His most recent work used agent-based models to investigate the role of social and behavioral factors on the feasibility of water filters in South Africa. Kyle has aimed to share these experiences in water and sustainable development by co-teaching various courses at Harvard Extension since 2014. In 2016, he worked as a GIS Analyst for Tufts, providing individualized GIS services to students and faculty. Kyle has been the Senior Data Science Specialist at Tufts University since 2017, providing statistical consulting, data visualization and high-performance computing (HPC) support. He also teaches at the Tufts Gordon Institute in Data Analytics. You can learn more about his work at www.kylemonahan.info.

Workshop: Data Quality for Nutrition Data Dashboards (6:00-7:00pm)

Bingjie Zhou, Data Scientist, Tufts University
Bingjie is a research data analyst at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She graduated in 2019 from Friedman school with a mater degree in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition with specialization in Nutrition Epidemiology and data analytics. Her research primary focuses on evaluation and optimization of global nutrition and health dashboards. She has expertise in collecting publicly available nutrition and health data and creating dashboards in Tableau. She is also passionate about data visualization, especially for foodborne disease and she has created a analecta for Foodborne diseases using data from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet).

Shiwei (Echo) Liang, MS '22, Tufts University
Echo is a first year MS student at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy majored in nutrition epidemiology and data science. Her research interests include nutrition data visualization, time series modeling of COVID-19, and influenza surveillance system. Prior to beginning research works at Tufts, she worked as a project associate focusing on virtual second opinion among Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia patients in a pioneer telemedicine company. She earned a M.A. from Emerson College in Communication Management with a graduate internship in Mass General Hospital about health communication and marketing. She also holds a certificate from Boston College in Clinical Research.


March 2nd, 2021

Panel: Careers in Food Policy and Community Nutrition (12:00-1:00pm)

Melissa Palmer (Moderator), Director of Career Services, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
As a globally minded executive coach with 20+ years of experience across higher education, talent acquisition, career development and entrepreneurship, Melissa is passionate about getting the right people in the right places at the right time. She enjoys analyzing talent trends, exploring the future of work and helping innovative models in education and upskilling thrive. Whether by helping leaders better define their authentic career vision and value proposition, or by assisting organizations in attracting and keeping the right talent, her goal is to build the kinds of connections that enable good work and scalable impact to happen. Melissa integrates design thinking principles into her coaching and workshops and encourages people to adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur as they build their way toward their highest calling.

Dr. Alison Brown (Panelist), Program Director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Alison Brown, MS, PhD is a public health nutrition researcher committed to addressing diet-related health disparities through research, community empowerment, and systems change. Dr. Brown’s past research explored immigrant health and diet and cardiovascular disease outcomes. Currently, she serves as a Program Director at the National Heart Lung Blood Institute where her work centers on the social determinants of health and nutrition health disparities. She also serves as the Past Chair of the National Organization of Blacks in Dietetic and Nutrition and Adjunct Faculty at Prince George’s Community College. She is a former AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Diversity Leader, American Society of Nutrition Science Policy Fellow, and Board Chair of a community-owned grocery store in Boston. In 2018, she was honored as a 40 under 40 Leader in Minority Health by the National Minority Quality Forum. She also serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, Journal of Racial Ethnic Health Disparities, Health Psychology, and Translational Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Brown has a PhD from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, received her Master of Science degree from Columbia University, and her Bachelor’s degree from Spelman College.

Laura Carroll (Panelist), Nutrition Policy Analyst, US Food and Drug Administration
Laura is a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Chief Implementation Manager for the agency's Nutrition Innovation Strategy. She is responsible for managing and overseeing the development, coordination, and execution of FDA's high-priority nutrition policy efforts. Prior to FDA, Laura was a Nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service where she led the development and revision of the nutrition policy requirements for the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program. Laura entered the Federal government in 2013 as a Presidential Management Fellow. Laura also served as a Project Coordinator at ChildObesity180 and the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at the City of Somerville's Health Department. She received her B.A. in Sociology from St. Mary's College of Maryland and she completed the dual degree MS-Nutrition/MPH program at Tufts' Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Tufts' School of Medicine in December 2012.

Dr. Jennifer Obadia (Panelist), Director of Healthcare Partnerships, Project Bread
Dr. Jennifer Obadiais currently the Director of Health Care Partnerships at Project Bread. Prior to her work at Project Bread, Dr. Obadia was the Eastern US Director for Health Food in Health Care at Healthcare Without Harm, an Adjunct Faculty Member at the Tufts Friedman School, and an independent food systems consultant. Dr. Obadia received her PhD in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from the Friedman School.

Barbara Patterson, Vice President of Government Affairs, Michael Torrey Associates
As Vice President of Government Affairs for Michael Torrey Associates, Barbara Patterson advises clients on a wide range of legislative and regulatory issues impacting the food and agriculture sector. A Michigan native, Patterson joined Michael Torrey Associates in February 2018. Before joining Michael Torrey Associates, Patterson worked as Government Relations Director for National Farmers Union where she advocated for family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in Congress and the executive branch. She focused on trade, livestock, competition, nutrition, and food safety. Patterson also managed a cooperative agreement with the Food and Drug Administration to provide education and outreach to local food producers and processors on implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Prior to her employment with NFU, Patterson worked as a policy associate for New England Farmers Union. Patterson advocated on behalf of small and mid-size farmers on food safety and environmental issues. Patterson has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Science degree in Agriculture and Nutrition Policy from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Panel: Careers in Food Business and Innovation (3:00-4:00pm)

Melissa Palmer (Moderator), Director of Career Services, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
As a globally minded executive coach with 20+ years of experience across higher education, talent acquisition, career development and entrepreneurship, Melissa is passionate about getting the right people in the right places at the right time. She enjoys analyzing talent trends, exploring the future of work and helping innovative models in education and upskilling thrive. Whether by helping leaders better define their authentic career vision and value proposition, or by assisting organizations in attracting and keeping the right talent, her goal is to build the kinds of connections that enable good work and scalable impact to happen. Melissa integrates design thinking principles into her coaching and workshops and encourages people to adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur as they build their way toward their highest calling.

Dr. Rachel Cheatham, Founder and CEO, Foodscape Group
Dr. Rachel Cheatham is Founder & CEO of Foodscape Group, LLC, a nutrition strategy consultancy based in Chicago, IL, USA. Serving as a navigation partner, Rachel helps companies and brands successfully conceptualize & position healthier foods and beverages in the global marketplace. Rachel holds a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry from Tufts University, where she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Food Marketing.  She has been a TV producer, Director at the International Food Information Council, and Senior Vice President at the global PR firm Weber Shandwick. She is a Professional Member of the Institute of Food Technologists and a member of both the American Society of Nutrition and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is active on LinkedIn as well as blogging at Foodscape Finds.

Carla Curle, Account Executive, FoodMinds
Carla brings diverse expertise in food-systems sustainability, global issues forecasting, public affairs strategies, content creation and event coordination to clients of FoodMinds, a strategic food and nutrition affairs agency. Based in the SF Bay Area, Carla supports food and agriculture clients, helping them navigate a complex food system to grow their business and meet public health and sustainability objectives. Prior to joining FoodMinds, Carla worked for several agriculture-focused associations, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and Beyond Pesticides. In these roles, she drafted policy briefs, regulatory comments and presentations on behalf of the organizations. Previously, she worked as a research assistant at Tufts University where she investigated behavioral responses of consumers to climate-induced changes in tea production and quality. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studied environmental science, and her master’s degree from Tufts University in agriculture and food policy.

Ravdeep Jaidka, Vice President and Sourcing Manager, Equal Exchange Producer
Ravdeep is the Vice President & Sourcing Manager at the fresh produce division of Equal Exchange. Ravdeep manages the banana and avocado programs sourced directly from small farmer cooperatives in Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. Ravdeep started at Equal Exchange in 2015, after receiving her Master's degree in the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program at the Friedman School, and continues to remain challenged, fascinated and inspired by the fast paced world of small farmer produce.

Kate Schaffner, Manager of Global Sustainability, Kellogg
Kate, Global Sustainability Manager for Kellogg Company, advocates for sustainable agriculture and climate resilience in ingredient supply chains. She joined Kellogg in 2018 and develops global strategies to meet Kellogg’s responsible sourcing commitments for its priority ingredients. She also supports Kellogg’s® Better Days commitment to create Better Days for 3 billion people, including 1 million farmers and workers, by the end of 2030. Prior to joining Kellogg, Kate worked with the World Wildlife Fund, where she focused on conservation agriculture, often in partnership with consumer packaged good companies and farmer associations. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and her Master of Science degree in Agriculture, Food and Environment from Tufts University’s Friedman School.

Presentations: Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition Research (4:00-5:00pm)

Danielle Cahoon, PhD ‘22, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy 

  • Abstract Title: Effects of Blueberry Administered Before and/or After Stressor-induced Neuroinflammation and Oxidative Stress in vitro
  • Biography: More information coming soon!

Lauren Louck, MS ‘21, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy 

  • Abstract Title: Food-Based Compounds with Potential Drug-Like Activity to Mitigate Hedonic Overeating Using An Exploratory Machine Learning Approach
  • Biography: Lauren Louck is second year graduate student at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She will graduate with her M.S. in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition, with a concentration in Data Science in May 2021. Lauren’s research focuses on nutritional genomics, precision nutrition, and systems biology. She is skilled in utilizing statistical techniques and programming languages including R, Python and MySQL to analyze, manage and create large databases. Lauren is a dedicated individual and creative thinker, who hopes to combine the fields of biochemical nutrition and data science in her research. 

Jack Rockhold, BS ‘22, Merrimack College 

  • Abstract Title: Mitochondria-Targeted Curcuminoid Alleviates Aging-Associated Inflammation
  • Biography: Jack Rockhold is from Winchester, Massachusetts and is currently a Junior at Merrimack College, where he is majoring in Health Science. He enjoys attending Merrimack because of the tight knight community and the endless learning opportunities the college provides. He is currently a Research Assistant at Merrimack College and is primarily doing research on understanding the role of Mitochondrial STAT3 in aging-associated inflammation. Jack aspires to become a Physician Assistant after graduating from Merrimack College. He strongly believes that he can make a difference in people’s lives and the community by serving as a Physician Assistant.  

Julie Gervis, PhD ‘21, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy 

  • Abstract Title: Taste Perception Profiles are Associated with Patterns but Not Degree of Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet Among Older Adults with Metabolic Syndrome 
Presentations: Food Policy and Programming Research (4:00-5:00pm)

Nick Rose, PhD ‘22, University of Vermont 

  • Abstract Title: How does the public define “healthy” food?
  • Biography: Nick is a graduate student at the University of Vermont, pursuing a PhD in Food Systems, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Public Health. Nick’s research focuses on how food policy can help create healthier food environments, and he uses mixed methods to explore the “clean labeling” trend, and how food labels can help and hinder consumer food choices for personal and planetary health. Nick earned his MS in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech, and he worked as a community nutrition educator for 10 years, teaching free nutrition classes in a variety of community settings. After completing his PhD, Nick hopes to teach nutrition and food systems courses, and to continue advocating for a sustainable food system that that supports healthy eating patterns for all. 

 Tung-Lin LiuPhD ‘23, University of Vermont 

  • Abstract Title: How does the public define “healthy” food? 
  • Biography: Tung-Lin is a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of Vermont’s Food Systems program. He has a background in Computational Social Science. His interest in Food Systems began during his time studying Gastronomy at Boston University. There he had the opportunity to apply systems thinking and computational tools to understand food production and consumption. He is currently working toward combining choice experiments, applied games, and simulation to study food choice and its collective impacts. 

Kayla Halvey, MS '20, RD, CUNY Brooklyn College

  • Abstract Title: Exploring the Relationship between the Restaurant Nutrition Environment & Menu Pricing at NYC Hispanic-Caribbean Restaurants: A Cross-Sectional Quantitative Analysis
  • Biography: Kayla Halvey is a newly registered dietitian from Queens, New York with a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Science from Cornell University and Master's degree in Nutrition from Brooklyn College. She completed her dietetic internship at Brooklyn College while completing her master's thesis, gaining an interest in functional & integrative medicine, as well as nutrition research & interventions related to microbiome health. She has a strong food service background that has stemmed during her undergraduate time, and has also explored clinical dietetics since completing her internship last year. She's currently searching for full-time job opportunities where she's able to further explore research and strengthen her clinical and counseling skills. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, tennis, dancing, and reading. 

Charuta Parkhi, PhD ‘21, Michigan State University 

  • Abstract Title: The role of time preferences in the demand for safer food products: Evidence from Nigeria 
Workshop: Comparisons Across R (w/RStudio), Stata, and SAS - Part II (5:00-7:00pm)

Emily Sanchez, MS, RD, CNSC, CLC, PhD ’23, Tufts University
Emily is an experienced Registered Dietitian (RD) with 7+ years active duty military service in the United States Army. She is also a Certified Lactation Counselor and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician. Emily was selected to complete the Army’s Long-term Health and Education Training program and is now in her second semester at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in the Nutritional Epidemiology and Data Science program. She aspires to leverage her nutritional knowledge and experience to continue supporting the Defense Health Agency and developing healthier Soldiers and Families.

Kees Schipper, MS '21, Tufts University
Kees is a second year MS student at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy pursuing a degree in Nutritional Epidemiology and Data Science. He is currently researching fluctuations in COVID-19 case, death, and testing data, and how these fluctuations can be quantified and controlled for to improve the accuracy of near-term outbreak forecasting. He is interested in statistical and programming methodologies, having multiple years of experience programming in R, SAS, and exposure to various software including Python, Matlab, and various GIS toolkits. Kees has extensive experience in data management, cleaning, handling data missingness, exploring new data sources, and time series analysis. As a side interest, Kees enjoys teaching data science programming in weekly workshops and tutorials.

Bree Langlois, MPH PhD '23, Tufts University
Breanne is a second year PhD student in Nutrition Epidemiology and Data Science at Tufts. Her research interest is in climate change vulnerability assessment in relation to food security and nutrition. As a data scientist, she integrates spatial and epidemiological data sources to better understand the role of the environment on nutrition outcomes. She has experience working with remote sensing data, publicly available survey data, and large scale field trials evaluating malnutrition outcomes. She has extensive analytic experience across a range of statistical packages. She plans to complete her PhD in 2023.

Ryan Simpson, MS PhD '22, Tufts University
Ryan is a second year PhD candidate at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy pursuing a degree in Nutrition Epidemiology and Data Science (May 2022). His research includes numerous published papers on infectious disease time series modeling and near real-time outbreak forecasting of influenza, food/waterborne illnesses, and SARS-CoV-2. He has expertise in all stages of the data lifecycle including data extraction, compilation, harmonization, analysis, visualization, and communications. He also has and continues to serve as a research manager, coordinator, and scientist for numerous ongoing grants awarded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Project's Agency, National Science Foundation, and Tufts Data Intensive Studies Center. Ryan is currently searching for full- or part-time job opportunities in fields related to disease modeling, forecasting, and analytics.

Kyle Monahan, Senior Data Science Specialist, Tufts University
Kyle Monahan enjoys using statistical and GIS tools to analyze complex systems through data analysis and visualization, map design, code scripting, and environmental sampling. Kyle received a dual B.S. in Environmental Science and Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2012, an M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering from Clarkson University in 2014, and most recently an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tufts University in 2016. His research has taken him from developing contaminant chronologies for the Hudson River, to identifying microfossils in sediment from extreme weather events, to designing low-cost water filters. His most recent work used agent-based models to investigate the role of social and behavioral factors on the feasibility of water filters in South Africa. Kyle has aimed to share these experiences in water and sustainable development by co-teaching various courses at Harvard Extension since 2014. In 2016, he worked as a GIS Analyst for Tufts, providing individualized GIS services to students and faculty. Kyle has been the Senior Data Science Specialist at Tufts University since 2017, providing statistical consulting, data visualization and high-performance computing (HPC) support. He also teaches at the Tufts Gordon Institute in Data Analytics. You can learn more about his work at www.kylemonahan.info.

Workshop: Sustainability Metrics to Assess Diet Quality (5:00-6:00pm)

Dr. Naglaa El-Abbadi, Adjunct Lecturer, Tufts University Friedman School

Naglaa Hani El-Abbadi is an Adjunct Lecturer in the Division of Nutrition Epidemiology and Data Science at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.  The focus of her postdoctoral work was the development of the Tufts Food Compass, a novel nutrient profiling system which involved an expansive and in-depth analysis of nutritional quality of foods while also incorporating relevant non-nutrient considerations and health outcomes.  Her primary research interests focus on environmental sustainability of food and dietary patterns - specifically, identifying and examining food intake patterns that enhance overall diet quality and health outcomes within ecologically viable parameters - as well as the role of nutrition and dietary intake in immune function and inflammation.  Complimentary to this, she engages in program building for the promotion of planetary health and education.

Workshop: Data Visuals: Past, Present, and Future (6:00-7:00pm)

Dr. Elena N. Naumova, Chair of Nutrition Epidemiology and Data Science Division, Tufts University Friedman School

Elena N. Naumova is the Chair of the Division of Nutrition Data Science, as well as a Professor at the Friedman School. Her research activities span a broad range of research programs in emerging and re-emerging diseases, environmental epidemiology, molecular biology, nutrition, and growth. Her primary expertise is in development of analytical tools for spatio-temporal and longitudinal data analysis applied to disease surveillance, exposure assessment, and studies of growth; creation and application of statistical tools to evaluate the influence of an extreme and/or intermediate event on spatial and temporal patterns.


March 3rd, 2021

Panel: Mitigating Disparities in Nutrition and Public Health (12:00-1:00pm)

Angelica Valdes Valderrama (Moderator), MS PhD '22, Tufts University Friedman School 

Dr. Maria Carlota Dao (Panelist), Assistant Professor, University of New Hampshire
Dr. Maria Carlota Dao is an Assistant Professor of Human Nutrition in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems at the University of New Hampshire. As an interdisciplinary scientist focused on obesity research, she investigates the interplay of cardiometabolic risks, dietary and psychosocial factors, and the gut microbiota. Through this work she seeks to address obesity in health disparity populations. Prior to becoming a faculty member at UNH, Dr. Dao worked as a scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. Her training includes a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sorbonne University / INSERM in France, and a PhD in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition from the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University.

Dr. Sara Folta (Panelist), Associate Professor, Tufts University Friedman School
Sara Folta's research interests focus on public health nutrition, or the utilization of community-based strategies for improving dietary intake, physical activity, and body composition. She has particular expertise in behavioral psychology, communications, and qualitative methods. A major line of Folta's research involves community-based interventions to improve heart health among women. A second area of research includes behavioral strategies to improve health and well-being among older adults, particularly through the development of physical activity interventions. Folta's third line of research involves community-based interventions for obesity prevention among children. These studies, in which theory-based communications strategies were a major component, are notable for the use of the eco-social model in which multiple levels (individual-organization-community-policy) are targeted.

Dr. Pablo Mendez Lazaro, Associate Professor, University of Puerto Rico - Medical Science Campus
Dr. Pablo Méndez-Lázaro is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Health of the University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Health. He studied in Puerto Rico, Spain and USA (Geography, Marine Sciences, Environmental Sciences-Water Resources and; Climate Change, Extreme Events and Remote Sensing). He has been involved in multiple researches analyzing climate and weather extreme events impacts on public health and resilience. Dr. Méndez is an active Member of the Puerto Rico Climate Change Council, San Juan ULTRA (Urban Long Term Research Area) and a City Co-Lead in UREx-SRN (Urban Resilience to Extreme weather events-Sustainability Research Network). He is also a Co-author of the US Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) for the Caribbean Region (Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands).

Dr. Josiemer Mattei, Donald and Sue Pritzker Associate Professor of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Dr. Mattei is the Donald and Sue Pritzker Associate Professor of Nutrition at the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She investigates genetic, dietary, and psychosocial determinants of cardiometabolic diseases in racial/ethnic groups and underserved populations, as a framework to explain health disparities. Dr. Mattei combines epidemiological research with culturally-tailored interventions, both through original studies and collaborations in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Latin America. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader and received the Mark Bieber Award for Outstanding Nutrition-related Research by the American Heart Association. Her ultimate goal is to help Latinos and minority and underserved populations eat healthier and be healthy.

Dr. Jenny Zhen-Duan, Researcher, Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Zhen Duan is currently a faculty member and researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Her research interests fall into two main areas: 1) the use of community-engaged and community based participatory research to achieve health equity and 2) examining the biological influences (endocrine, epigenetic) in addiction and health disparities among Latinxs. She is particularly committed to closing the gap on health disparities through academic-community partnerships, as this approach allows communities to become the principal drivers of social change. Dr. Zhen Duan received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras and her PhD in clinical health psychology from the University of Cincinnati. She is a multicultural and multilingual (Spanish, English, Chinese) psychologist  primarily working with racial/ethnic minority and low-income individuals and families in both clinical and research settings.

Panel: Using Food as Medicine (3:00-4:00pm)

Kurt Hager (Moderator), MS PhD '23, Tufts University Friedman School
Kurt Hager received his masters in Food Policy and Nutritional Epidemiology from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in 2019. He is currently studying the effectiveness of nutritional interventions and policies on chronic disease in the US. He previously worked on research with Children’s HealthWatch, a national network of pediatricians and researchers, focusing on social determinants of health for young children in urban pediatric clinics.

Carmen George (Panelist), MEQ Manager, Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE)
Carmen George, MS [Navajo] is from a small community on the Navajo Reservation near the four corners of the US called Beclabito, NM.  Carmen has been the Research & MEQ manager for COPE/BWH for the past 6 ½ years.  COPE is a non-profit out of Gallup, NM that works in close partnership with Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Partners in Health.  Together, the organizations are committed to improving the health of Native people through programs such as Water First, Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program, and Healthy Navajo Stores Initiatives.  Working for the past 14 years on the Navajo Reservation has been rewarding and Carmen has seen small changes in the communities like children choosing infused fruit drinks over soda, which makes the public health initiatives worthwhile.

Kymie Thomas (Panelist), FVRx Specialist, Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE)
Kymie Thomas is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, she currently resides in the Gallup area. Kymie received her degree in Health Sciences from Sheridan College, where she then decided to come back to her community to serve her people. She is currently employed with the COPE Program, a non-profit organization that serves the indigenous community through patient empowerment. Ms. Thomas’ work involves addressing health issues in communities that are affected by diet related diseases by way of education and prevention through the Navajo Fruit & Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Program, in collaboration with Healthcare professionals who serve the Navajo communities.

Dr. Chris Esguerra (Panelist), Chief Medical Officer, DME Consulting Group
An experienced healthcare leader, Chris Esguerra, MD, MBA, FAPA, CHCQM has led systems transformation, program evolution,  and public/private partnerships leading to outcomes meeting the quadruple aim of improving health, cost effectiveness, enhancing patient experience, and supporting provider well-being.  He is currently Chief Medical Officer for DME Consulting Group, which identifies appropriate equipment, supports, and services to help individuals stay safe, healthy, and functional in their home.  He also advises nonprofits partnering in healthcare delivery, healthcare startups, and provider groups.

Dr. Preyanka Makadia (Panelist), Medical Officer, Indian Health Services
Dr. Preyanka Makadia is a board-certified family medicine physician and director of the FVRx (Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program) at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, NM. She received her medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and completed her residency at Duke University Medical Center. She is also a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Dr. Makadia has been a full-time clinician at NNMC since 2018, and has led the FVRx program since December 2019.

Sarah Downer (Panelist), Senior Clinical Instructor, Harvard Law School

Presentations: Food Access and Security Research (4:00-5:00pm)

Cara Santino, MS ‘21, Syracuse University 

  • Abstract Title: The Interrelationship between Food Insecurity, Race, and Past Incarceration: A Community Needs Assessment in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Biography: Cara is a second year graduate student at Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics at Syracuse University pursuing a M.S. in Food Studies (May 2021). She has an undergraduate degree in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management and a strong background in food-focused social enterprises. Her current research includes farm-institution programs and policies with an emphasis on cultural foodways and food security. She is an adept, self-motivated learner interested in the linkage of intersectionality, participatory research, prevention science, and food justice. For the past year, Cara has been developing a restorative food justice program with returning citizens in New Haven, CT. 

Allison Wainer, MS ‘21, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy 

  • Abstract Title: Developing testable models to improve access to healthy food among transit-dependent residents: A multidisciplinary investigation of Somerville, Massachusetts
  • Biography: Allie Wainer is pursuing dual masters’ degrees in Urban and Environmental Planning and Food and Nutrition Policy and Programs from Tufts University. She holds a bachelor’s of science in Quantitative Economics and has extensive research experience including data analysis, coordinating research teams, and conducting independent research. During her first year at the Friedman School, she created the curriculum for a new class exploring the intersection of culinary arts, sustainability, affordability, and nutrition through the study of grains. She worked as a research assistant for a community-based participatory research project with the City of Somerville exploring innovative ways to address transportation barriers to food access in the City. Expanding on this research project, she is writing her thesis on strategies transportation planners can use to increase food access. She is currently the TA for the Climate Change Policy and Planning course where she is facilitating weekly, hour-long discussion groups for undergraduate students. She hopes to work on improving local and regional food systems when she graduates in May 2021. 

Jessica Wallingford, PhD ‘24, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy 

  • Abstract Title: Retail food price levels across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Biography: Jess is a first year doctoral student at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University pursuing a PhD in Agriculture, Food and Environment. She has a BSc in Neuroscience & Biochemistry, a MSc in Neuroscience, and a MSc in Agriculture, Food and Environment. She is currently part of the Food Prices for Nutrition project at Tufts University. 

Abiodun AtoloyePostdoctoral Research Associate, University of Connecticut 

  • Abstract Title: Developing an Audit Tool for Food Swamp Environments Audit (FS-EAT) Tool: Pilot Test and Spatial Pattern of Food Swamp Environment
  • Biography: Abiodun is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, University of Connecticut. She holds a Ph.D. in Nutrition Science from Utah State University. Her research focuses on addressing nutrition disparity through improved access to affordable and nutritious foods. She explores the determinants of and solutions to poor nutrition outcomes using a mixed-method research approach, geo-narratives, and innovative measurement tools. 
Workshop: Effective Data Visualizations (5:00-6:00pm)

Dr. Tania M. Alarcon-Falconi, Senior Scientist at Environmental Health and Engineering

Tania Alarcon Falconi is a Senior Scientist in the Advanced Analytics division at Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Tania has extensive experience in analysis and visualization of time-referenced data. Her current projects include time series analysis of energy consumption in hospitals; assessment of the impacts of renewable fuels on greenhouse gases, air quality, and public health; and collection, analysis, and visualization of COVID-19 data for schools in the Northeast, USA.

Workshop: How to Construct Data Visualizations in R Using ggplot (6:00-7:00pm)

Dr. Meghan Hartwick, Data Science Fellow, The National Institutes of Health

Dr. Hartwick completed her Ph.D. in 2019 in Molecular and Evolutionary Systems Biology (MESB). Her research integrated population genomics and statistical modeling to develop predictive models for water and foodborne human pathogens. She was introduced to the field of data science during collaborative work at Tufts University in Conservation Medicine in 2012. She has also worked with infectious and non-infectious disease data modeling in human and wildlife populations with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), The Northeast Loon Mortality Project (NLMP), and as a Fellow at the Tufts Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases (InForMID). Dr. Hartwick currently serves as a Fellow in Data Science through ORISE at the NIH where she is continuing her training to develop quantitative solutions for public health challenges from emerging infectious disease.


March 4th, 2021

Keynote Address: Dr. Kim Nguyen (12:00-1:00pm)

Dr. Kimberly Nguyen, Epidemiologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Nguyen's research focus is on vaccine hesitancy, vaccination coverage, disparities, as well as survey design and methodology. Current projects explore COVID-19 vaccination coverage and intention to vaccinate, trends in childhood vaccination delay and population attributable risk of vaccine hesitancy on non-vaccination. Recent efforts have been directed toward developing and potentially adding questions to national surveys on intent, knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs related to COVID-19 vaccination, and COVID-19 vaccination coverage among groups prioritized for early vaccination and persons at high-risk for severe health outcomes from COVID-19 illness.

Panel: Mitigating the Effects of Weight Bias in Nutrition and Public Health (3:00-4:00pm)

Bree Wilhite (Moderator), PhD '23, Tufts University Friedman School

Kelsey L. Rose (Panelist), Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Nutrition Fellow, Boston Children's Hospital
Kelsey L. Rose MPH, RDN, LDN is a Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Nutrition fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital. She recently graduated with a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan and completed her dietetic training in the treatment of eating disorders at Simmons University. Kelsey strives to be both an eating disorder clinician and prevention researcher. She is passionate about deconstructing norms around traditional ideas of health and wellness so that all individuals may find a space to care for their mind and body, if they desire. Kelsey’s work focuses on promoting body diversity and challenging the SWAG (Skinny White Affluent Girls) stereotype that limits recognition and treatment of eating disorders. During her free time, you can find her outside with her dog Abeline or reading a good book.

Hannah Cory (Panelist), PhD Candidate, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health 
Hannah Cory is a registered dietitian and PhD candidate in Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Her work focuses on the experiences of young people of color and aims to tease apart the links between stigma and discrimination, eating behaviors and chronic disease risk. Hannah is a Health Policy Research Scholar with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a Prajna Chair’s Public Health Nutrition Fellow.

Dr. Amy Farrell (Panelist), Faculty Chair of Liberal Arts, Dickinson College
Amy Erdman Farrell is the John and Ann Curley Faculty Chair of Liberal Arts and Professor of American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  She is the author of Yours in Sisterhood: Ms. Magazine and the Promise of Popular Feminism (University of North Carolina Press, 1998) and Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture (New York University Press, 2011).  She has shared her research on national popular media, including Bitch, the New Yorker, Psychology Today, NPR, CNN, and The Colbert Report, and from 2019-2020 served as an American Council of Learned Societies fellow. She is currently working on a project focusing on key moments in the history of the Girl Scouts of the USA, ones that illuminate struggles over the meanings of girlhood, feminism, racial equality, empire, and nationalism.

Dr. Lesley Williams (Panelist), Family Medicine Physician
Dr. Lesley Williams is a Family Medicine physician and health equity advocate. After years of working in the eating disorder field, she noted that many of the body issues she was seeing in her patients, were linked to negative messages they internalized since early childhood regarding their appearance. She discovered that it was difficult to combat these ingrained messages after so many years of programming. Dr. Williams decided to switch gears and focus her energy from eating disorder treatment to prevention. She determined that the best way to address these concerns was to become an advocate for positive body image and size diversity in young children. In doing so, she authored a children’s book, Free to Be Me: self love for all sizes. Her hope is that advocating for Health At Every Size (HAES) will ultimately improve the physical and mental well-being of ALL children as well as adults.

Presentations: Agriculture, Food, and Environment Research (4:00-5:00pm)

Caitlin Herrington, PhD ‘23, Michigan State University 

  • Abstract Title: Bangladeshi Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Rice with Improved Nutrition via Biofortified Zinc Rice and Decreased Milling Practices
  • Biography: Caitlin Herrington joined the Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics PhD program in the fall of 2019. Her research is focused in international development and food and agricultural economics. Prior to joining AFRE, Caitlin spent five years working as a research analyst with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), based in Washington, DC, in the HarvestPlus Program carrying out economic analyses related to biofortification. Caitlin’s professional experience also includes working as a research and evaluation associate in agricultural finance at Opportunity International, a global microfinance institution based in Chicago, IL. She holds an M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University and B.S. degrees in Plant Biology and Agricultural Business Management from North Carolina State University. Caitlin has field experience in several African and Asian countries. 

Ashley McCarthy, PhD ‘20, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy 

  • Abstract Title: A geospatial approach to identifying biophysically suitable areas for fruit and vegetable production in the United States
  • Biography: Ashley McCarthy is a recent PhD graduate of the Agriculture, Food, and Environment program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Her interdisciplinary research examines strategies to meet the food and nutrition needs of the growing population while improving sustainability and resiliency in the food system. Ashley’s dissertation research analyzed the feasibility and environmental implications of expanding and geographically diversifying fruit and vegetable production in the United States. She uses a variety of methodological approaches in her work, including geospatial analysis, quantitative food systems modeling, and statistical analysis. 

Nicole Kling, MS ‘21, Iowa State University 

  • Abstract Title: Protein foods in Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) accordant diets are associated with lower environmental impacts
  • Biography: Nicole is a second-year graduate student in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at Iowa State University. She is in her fifth year of a concurrent B.S./M.S. degree in Diet and Exercise (May 2021). Over the last five years, Nicole has had research experience with focus groups, metabolic carts, nutrition education, and life cycle assessments. For her graduate research, Nicole managed a large data set with R and developed a novel methodology to evaluate food's environmental impacts. After graduation, Nicole plans to pursue a doctorate degree to continue her work with life cycle assessments. 

Sarah Hamilton, BS ‘21, Carnegie Mellon University 

  • Abstract Title: Carbon Footprint and Energy Needs of a Metropolitan Food System: A Comparison of National and Local Food Consumption Data Sources
  • Biography: Sarah is a fourth year undergraduate student in the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a B.S. in Civil Engineering with an additional major in Engineering and Public Policy. She has worked on research projects related to structural vibrations, material defects, and food policy, and has experience with data analysis and modeling. She is a quick and adaptable learner who is passionate about working on environmental issues at the intersection of engineering and policy. She is currently looking for full time job opportunities in fields related to environmental engineering and policy. 

Schuchen Cong, PhD ‘23, Carnegie Mellon University 

  • Abstract Title: Carbon Footprint and Energy Needs of a Metropolitan Food System: A Comparison of National and Local Food Consumption Data Sources 
Workshop: Effective Oral Communication in Data-Driven Research (5:00-6:00pm)

Dr. Patrick Webb, Professor, Tufts University Friedman School

Patrick Webb is engaged in research and policy guidance around the globe as Director for USAID’s Feed the Future Nutrition Innovation Lab (fieldwork ongoing in Nepal, Uganda, Malawi, Bangladesh, Egypt and Cambodia), and leads the US government’s Food Aid Quality Review (cost-effectiveness trials in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Malawi).  Until 2005, he worked for the United Nations' World Food Programme as Chief of Nutrition. During that time he was a first-responder to the Asian tsumani disaster in Aceh. He was also part of the MDG Hunger Task Force reporting to Secretary General Kofi Annan, and a member of the steering committee of the UN's Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN). Earlier, Dr. Webb spent 9 years with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). His high-level interactions with governments and donor organizations globally include work at ministerial levels in countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, North Korea, Kenya, Haiti, Cambodia and Timor Leste and Ethiopia.

Workshop: Effective Writing for Scientific and Media Audiences (6:00-7:00pm)

Corby Kummer, Senior Lecturer, Tufts University Friedman School

Corby Kummer is the author of The Joy of Coffee and The Pleasures of Slow Food, the first book in English on the Slow Food movement. He has been restaurant critic of New York, Boston, and Atlanta Magazines and food and food policy columnist for The New Republic. He is a senior editor at The Atlantic, to which he has long contributed articles on food and food policy, and is the editor-in-chief of Ideas: The Magazine of the Aspen Institute. Every week he is a featured commentator on food and food policy on WGBH's Boston Public Radio. He has received five James Beard Journalism Awards.

Recent Posts