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Tufts University and the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) in the United Arab Emirates have established two endowed professorships at the Friedman School. The RAK gift will create permanent funds, or endowments, whose investment income will support the salary and scholarly activities of the endowed chair appointees, sustaining them in their teaching, research and service.
This gift highlights the growing relationship between the Friedman School and RAK, which will foster the development of relevant knowledge to serve the nutritional needs of RAK, the region and the world. In addition to the endowed professorships, RAK and the Friedman School are developing a master's degree program in nutrition, via distance learning, creating short courses for training physicians and allied health professionals in RAK and creating a health and wellness center in RAK.
José Ordovas has been named president of the scientific advisory board of Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA-Alimentación), a new institute of excellence in research created by the government of Madrid in coordination with universities, research centers and industry. The mission of the institute is to improve public health through nutrition research focused on nutrigenomics and food quality and safety. In addition to serving as president of the scientific advisory board, Ordovas is also serving as president of the board of trustees of the IMDEA Foundation.
Robert Russell will be named a fellow of the American Society for Nutrition at the Experimental Biology meeting later this month in Washington, D.C. A small number of scientists are chosen as fellows each year in recognition of their distinguished careers in nutrition. As we noted in the January Dean's Letter, the April 29 awards program will also honor Sarah Booth, José Ordovas, Ronenn Roubenoff and Allan Taylor.
Enterprising students launched the first-ever student research day at the Friedman School in March. The one-day conference involved more than 150 participants from a dozen universities. Twenty-five Friedman School faculty members contributed to the program. Congratulations to co-chairs Chris Hillbruner and Christine McDonald and steering committee members Elizabeth Bontrager, Rebecca Klein, Jonathan Mein, Meaghan Murphy, Lilly Schofield, Sarah Sliwa and Aliza Wasserman.
Erin Hennessy and Sonya Irish-Hauser led a program called "Finding Balance: Middle Schoolers and Health" at the Hingham Middle School. The program, developed for parents, addressed the particular issues and challenges for adolescent nutrition and physical activity.
Carole Palmer is the editor of a new textbook, Diet and Nutrition in Oral Health (Prentice Hall, second edition). The book is a comprehensive text that encompasses nutritional implications for dental practice.
At the end-of-year picnic on Friday, May 11, we will honor the memory of Rick Bell, whom many of you had the good fortune to know as a teacher, colleague and friend. As part of the celebration of his memory, we are collecting "Rickisms," the special ways that he used to express his opinions with humor and grace. We would like to put some of these together to hang in the study rooms so that future students can share the benefits of his wit and wisdom. If you have such comments, either in memory or on journals that you wrote for him, and would like to share them, please send them to Jeanne Goldberg at firstname.lastname@example.org to share with the Rickfest planning committee.
A terrific crowd came to this year's Reunion festivities on April 21-23. Many thanks to the Reunion Committee for all of their hard work pulling this annual event together: Co-chairs Ann McDermott, N02, and Sarah Ash, N82; Elizabeth Cochary Gross, N82, N88; Haewook Han, N86, N00; Geeta Krishna, N89; Heather Mernitz, N02, N06; and Abby Usen, N03.
Reunion photos will be posted soon on the school website. Be sure to check back to http://nutrition.tufts.edu.
"We've seen a long history of research now that shows these things in high doses are not helpful and, in fact, in very high doses, may produce some harm."
Robert Russell, in The Wall Street Journal, commenting on a JAMA review of antioxidant research
"There are about 20,000 different antioxidants in our diet. There aren't 20,000 different pills to take. One of the reasons dietary supplements can't replace a healthful diet is because we don't know about what's important to put in every pill."
Jeffrey Blumberg, on CNN, explaining that researchers are only beginning to understand the complexity of food
"We really try to talk about the trials' tribulations. Some people don't anticipate ahead of time how much they enjoy their normal food routine."
Alice Lichtenstein, in The Boston Globe, discussing the way HNRCA staffers mentally prepare volunteers for nutrition studies
Migrant workers in Florida live 10 to 15 in a trailer, at a square-foot cost that is higher than that of a Manhattan penthouse. The wages for fruit pickers haven't increased in more than two decades. But the blame doesn't rest entirely with the farm owners who hire them.
"At every step of the supply system, people get paid except the farmer," said Guadalupe Gamboa, an immigration attorney and program officer for workers rights at Oxfam America. He spoke at the Friedman School in April as part of "Power in the Global Food System," the second annual symposium presented by the FOOD student group.
In this case, the clout lies with the supermarket chains, the fast food restaurants and conglomerates in the food-service sector. "At the top, you have an increasingly smaller and smaller number of buyers who are determining things," he said. "And that's a tremendous amount of power. The grower gets squeezed, and the only other person he has to squeeze is the worker."
Gamboa found it was the same story globally. "The Wal-Marts of the world can get produce from everywhere," he said. Washington apple growers, for instance, are competing with growers in Chile.
The bright side, he said, is that big business has to answer to another power. "There's something that's even higher than that," he said. "It's the consumer."
In recent years, he has seen workers take their grievances to the streets through picket lines and media stories, and customers have backed them, pressuring companies—including Campbell's Soup Co. and Taco Bell parent Yum Brands—to encourage labor unions and pay increases for farm workers.
"People see it as a moral issue," said Gamboa, who grew up working the fields with his family in Washington and became the first Chicano to be admitted to the University of Washington Law School in 1968. "The people who pick the fruits should have enough to eat in this country."
The deadline for the next issue of the Dean's Letter for Tufts Nutrition is May 30. Please send your submissions to Julie Flaherty at email@example.com.