Miriam E. Nelson
Professor Emeritus

  • Founder, StrongWomen Program
  • Co-Founder and Charter Member, ChildObesity180

Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D., is currently the president of Hampshire College, and was formerly the director of the Sustainability Institute and deputy chief Sustainability Officer at the University of New Hampshire. At Tufts University, Dr. Nelson served as associate dean of Tufts University’s Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service and professor of nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. At the Friedman School, she was the founding director of the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention and co-founder of ChildObesity180.

As an international leader in research on nutrition, physical activity, and public health, Dr. Nelson has published extensive scholarly work on food policy, exercise, and civic engagement. Based on her innovative research, Dr. Nelson has written ten books, including Strong Women Stay Young and four other New York Times bestsellers. Together, these books have sold over a million copies in 14 languages. Dr. Nelson is the founder and director of the StrongWomen Program.

In addition to her original scholarship, Dr. Nelson has contributed broadly to public policy initiatives. In 2008 she served as the vice-chair of the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She also served on the 2010 and 2015 respective Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees (DGAC) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Within the 2015 DGAC, Dr. Nelson spearheaded the influential work on dietary guidance and sustainability. From 2011 to 2014 Dr. Nelson served as a member of the Science Board of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (chairing in 2013). 


  • MLE, 2008, Institute for Management and Leadership in Education, Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, Harvard University Graduate School of Education
  • Ph.D., 1987, Nutritional Biochemistry, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University                                    
  • B.S., 1983, Human Nutrition and Food, University of Vermont