The Friedman School pursues cutting-edge research and education from cell to society, including in molecular nutrition, human metabolism, population studies, clinical trials, nutrition interventions and behavior change, communication, food systems and sustainability, global food insecurity, humanitarian crises, and food economics and policy.
Miriam E. Nelson is President and CEO of Newman’s Own Foundation. An international leader, scientist, and social entrepreneur renowned for her extensive research, policy work, and civic action in public health, children’s wellness, sustainability, and food systems, Dr. Nelson leads the Foundation’s efforts to fulfill their mission of making and sustaining impactful change in the world through its philanthropy.
Prior to assuming the presidency of Newman’s Own Foundation, Dr. Nelson held leadership roles at academic institutions, including serving as President of Hampshire College, Director of the Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire, and Associate Dean at the Tisch College of Civic Life. Known for her leadership in higher education, Dr. Nelson is also a highly regarded scientist and researcher who founded—and for fifteen years directed—the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention at the Friedman School. The Center’s research, policy, and civic engagement contributed to the reduction of childhood obesity and improvements in women’s health in the United States for over two decades, directly reaching over 11 million women and children. Dr. Nelson also co-founded ChildObesity180, and through that organization, worked with First Lady Michelle Obama on her Let’s Move campaign.
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).
Dr. Nelson is author of the bestselling Strong Women books, a series of ten—five of which were New York Times bestsellers—that have sold more than one million copies in 14 languages. She also authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific studies, research papers, and policy reports, many of them introducing groundbreaking findings. Dr. Nelson has been quoted extensively and included as a featured expert in the press, including on The Today Show, Nova, and National Public Radio, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico.
Dr. Nelson has received more than a dozen honors and awards over her career.
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