Each award recognizes the outstanding impact Friedman School alumni have had on the field of nutrition science and policy. Help us recognize our remarkable Friedman School graduates by nominating someone today!
Excellence in Nutrition Award
This award is presented to an individual who has conducted cutting-edge or high-impact work in their field. The recipient will be a strong leader, a respected expert in their profession, and have made outstanding contributions throughout their career.
Leah Horowitz Award - In memory of Leah Horowitz (FPAN ’06)
This award is presented to an individual who demonstrates a substantial commitment to community impact in the United States or internationally. The recipient must strive to bridge cultures and achieve lasting change by empowering individuals in their local communities with skills, leadership opportunities and/or education.
Rising Star Award
This award is presented to an individual who is making a significant impact on the field of nutrition science and policy and has graduated within the past 10 years. The recipient must be making a considerable contribution to their respective career field and demonstrate a continued commitment to effect change in their area(s) of expertise.
2021 Award Recipients
Joshua W. Miller, Ph.D., N90, NG93- Excellence in Nutrition Award
Dr. Miller is a professor and chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the Rutgers University, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Dr. Miller earned his doctorate in Nutrition at the Tufts University School of Nutrition in 1993, and then completed consecutive post-doctoral training experiences at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston, MA, and at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. In 1997 he was recruited to a faculty position in the Dept. of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis. He came to Rutgers in the fall of 2012 and assumed his current position as Dept. Chair in July 2013.
Dr. Miller’s research has focused on the relationships among vitamins (folate, B12, B6, B2, D), homocysteine, and various conditions and disorders, including cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and cancer. His research has also focused on interrelationships between genetic polymorphisms and vitamin B12, as well as novel strategies for assessing vitamin B12 status and absorption. He served as a member of the Working Group on Folic Acid Analysis and Sufficiency for Reproductive Outcomes for the March of Dimes in 1999, the Working Group on Vitamin B12 Fortification for the Second Technical Workshop on Wheat Flour Fortification in 2008, as a member of the Vitamin B12 Working Group on Biomarkers of Nutrition for Development (BOND) from 2011-2018, and as Legislative Ambassador for the California Division of the American Cancer Society from 2006-2012.
He was chosen by his peers to Co-Chair (2012-2014) and Chair (2014-2016) the biennial FASEB Summer Research Conference on Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, and One-Carbon Metabolism. He is a member of the American Society for Nutrition, and a member of the Medical Advisory Board for the Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation. He is Associate Editor of the journal, Nutrition Reviews, and is Past Chair (2017-2018) of the Association of Nutrition Departments and Programs.
Chris Hillbruner, N07- Leah Horowitz Award In memory of Leah Horowitz (FPAN ’06)
Chris currently works as the Division Chief for Analysis and Learning within USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security (RFS). In this role he oversees efforts to assess the impact of agency programming to reduce hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and water insecurity; develop innovative data collection methods and metrics; build the capacity of national data systems; and foster a culture of evidence-based decision making.
Previously, Chris spent more than a decade with the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), first as a food security analyst and eventually as the activity’s Deputy Chief of Party. While with FEWS NET, he designed the activity’s scenario-based approach to early warning, established new methods for the analysis of emergency assessment data, contributed to the development of global food security classification standards, and led the activity’s analyses of key food security crises, including the 2011 famine in Somalia and the 2016 famine in northeast Nigeria. He also served as the project’s primary conduit for communicating food security early warning analysis to relevant U.S. government decision makers and the media and has been featured in The Atlantic, NPR, BBC, and Frontline.
Prior to joining FEWS NET, Chris led an urban food security assessment for Mercy Corps Mongolia, completed an evaluation of food aid exit strategies for Catholic Relief Services, and assessed multisectoral nutrition planning in Malawi for The World Bank. Chris was a water/sanitation Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and received an M.S. in Nutrition (FPAN) from the Friedman School in 2007.
Hassan S. Dashti, Ph.D., R.D., N12, NG15- Rising Star Award
Hassan S Dashti, Ph.D., R.D. is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with expertise in human genetics and chronobiology. He is currently an instructor at the Center for Genomic Medicine and the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Dashti’s current research seeks to understand the role of food timing as a risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases and identify the genetic basis of the timing of food intake. The overall aim of this research is to exploit these insights to prevent and treat diseases resulting from inappropriate times of food intake. Previously, as a postdoctoral research fellow in Dr. Richa Saxena’s laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital, he was involved in identifying genetic variants associated with sleep behaviors including sleep duration and daytime napping. He is an author on over 50 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and serves on the editorial board of Advances in Nutrition.
In 2015, Dr. Dashti completed a PhD at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University under the supervision of Dr. José M Ordovás. His work focused on the relationship between circadian clock genes and food intake. He received a BA in Molecular and Computational Biology at the University of Pennsylvania and completed his dietetics training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
View a list of Alumni Association Award Recipients through the years.
Every year members of the Awards Committee and alumni volunteers review nominations for select awards. Below is a timeline of the process:
- September: Call for nominations
- November: Deadline to submit nominations and express interest in reviewing
- December: Alumni volunteers will receive nomination packets for their assigned awards. Committee members are assigned two award categories and non-committee volunteers are assigned one award category. Assignments are determined by Friedman School staff to limit bias and ensure a fair evaluation process
- For example, a committee member might review both the Leah Horowitz and the Rising Star nominations, while a non-committee volunteer might only review the Excellence in Nutrition nominations
- January: All evaluation forms are due at the beginning of January. Evaluations are to be returned to Jessica Halladay, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations. She will notify you of the exact due date
- Once the evaluation deadline passes, the Awards Committee will have a call to review the nominees with the highest scores based on the evaluation forms. The three recipients are finalized during this call
- Following the call, the Awards Committee Chair notifies the recipients and their nominators of their selection
- February/March: The alumni awards recipients are announced to all alumni
- April: The awards ceremony takes place at Thrive
- Summer: Call for nominations for the next year
- All alumni of the Frances Stern Nutrition Center Dietetic internship/M.S. program
- All alumni of the Friedman School of Nutrition programs (M.S. & Ph.D.)
Nominees can be:
Working domestically or abroad
Engaged in any aspect of the nutrition field (agriculture, applied science, basic science, business and industry, clinical dietetics, communication, community outreach, education, policy, public health, media, non-profit organization, research, sustainability, or other fields)
Yourself! Please feel free to self-nominate for any of these awards