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Movers and Shakers

Merrigan Tapped as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

Kathleen Merrigan, a professor at Tufts University who helped develop US organic food labeling rules, has been chosen for the Agriculture Department's number 2 job by President Barack Obama. Merrigan was head of the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Agricultural Marketing Service from 1999 to 2001 during the Clinton presidency and helped to develop the USDA's rules on what can be sold as organic food. As a Senate aide, she worked on the 1990 law that recognized organic farming. Merrigan, who went to work at Tufts in Boston after serving at the USDA, has worked at the Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture and as a consultant for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization from 1994 to 1999. She worked on the Senate Agriculture Committee from 1987 to 1992. She has a doctoral degree in environmental planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Congratulations, Kathleen!


Kretsch Named Deputy US Department of Agriculture Administrator

Dr Molly Kretsch has been appointed deputy administrator of Nutrition, Food Safety, and Quality at the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and is assigned at the ARS headquarters in Beltsville, Maryland. The position provides national scientific and technical leadership for program planning, coordination, review, and evaluation of ARS intramural research programs in Human Nutrition, Food Safety, and Quality and Utilization of Agricultural Products. This includes the network of ARS Human Nutrition Research Centers located across the United States. She succeeds Dr Joseph Spence, who became the US Department of Agriculture ARS Beltsville area director, Beltsville, Maryland, in 2008. Congratulations, Molly!


Thornton Named as Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services

Janey Thornton has been named as the Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. In this position, Dr Thornton will provide policy direction for the Food and Nutrition Service and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.


Thornton was president of the 55,000-member School Nutrition Association during the 2006-2007 school year. She also served as president of the School Nutrition Foundation and was an active member of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation. She has held leadership roles in the Kentucky School Nutrition Association and was chairwoman of the School Nutrition Association Public Policy and Legislative Committee.


Thornton has a BS in home economics from Western Kentucky University and MS in vocational education and school administration from the University of Kentucky. She received her PhD in hotel and restaurant management from Iowa State University in 2007.


Regina Benjamin Receives AMA Award

Regina Benjamin, founder of the Bayou Le Batre Rural Health Clinic in Alabama, was awarded one of the 2009 AMA Foundation Excellence in Medicine Awards, recognizing those who exemplify the highest values of altruism, compassion, leadership, and dedication to patient care. Despite scarce resources, Benjamin has painstakingly rebuilt her clinic after each disaster and set up networks to maintain contact with patients scattered across multiple evacuation sites. She established a family practice that allows her to treat all incoming patients, many of whom are uninsured, and frequently travels by pickup truck to care for the most isolated and immobile patients in her region. Benjamin is skilled, as well, in translating research on preventive health measures into accessible, community-based interventions to decrease the disease burdens of her diverse patient base, which includes immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, who comprise a third of Bayou La Batre's population. A committed local physician, she also plays key roles statewide and nationally, helping others establish clinics in remote areas of the country. Regina is also a recipient of the MacArthur "genius" Fellowship. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor, Regina!


American Dietetic Association Elects New Leaders

The American Dietetic Association recently elected the following slate of leaders for the 2009 Board of Directors and delegates. Congratulations to all!


President-elect: Judith C. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, FADA (Florida)


Director at-large: Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD (Georgia)


House of Delegates


Speaker-elect: Glenna McCollum-Cloud, PhD, MPH, RD (Arizona)


Directors: Pamela Charney, PhD, RD (Washington), and Mary Pat Raimondi, MS, RD (Minnesota)


Professional Issues Delegates


Clinical Nutrition: Leslie Schilling, MS, RD (Tennessee)


Community: Aida Miles, MMSc, RD, CSP (Minnesota)


Consultation and Business Practice: Felicia D. Stoler, DCN, MS, RD (New Jersey)


Education: Marcie Kemnitz, MS, RD (South Dakota)


Food and Nutrition Management: Sharon Cox, MA, RD (New York)


Research: Carol Ireton-Jones, PhD, RD (Texas)


At-large Delegate Dietetic Technician: Alberta Scruggs, DTR (Ohio)


At-large Delegates: Catherine Christie, PhD, RD, FADA (Florida); Beatriz Dykes, PhD, RD, FADA (Ohio); and Ainsley Malone, MS, RD (Ohio)


New Leadership at Jean Meyer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and Tufts

Professor Simin Nikbin Meydani, DVM, PhD, is the new director of the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts. A senior scientist and director of the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory at the HNRCA, Meydani had served as associate director of the HNRCA for the last 4 years.


Meydani came to Tufts in 1984 and began researching the effects of nutrients on aging, the immune system response, and infection at the HNRCA and teaching at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

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Dr Sarah Booth has been named as associate director of the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture HNRCA. Dr Booth is a senior scientist and director of vitamin K laboratory at the HNRCA, as well as professor of nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is well known for her research on vitamin K, with her laboratory recognized as one of the leading research groups on this subject. Her accomplishments in this area were recently recognized by the American Society of Nutrition through her selection for the ERL Stokstad award. Dr Edward Saltzman has been named as chair of the Friedman School's Department of Nutrition Sciences. Dr Saltzman is currently an associate professor of nutrition in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and associate professor of medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine. He is also a scientist in the Energy Metabolism Laboratory of the Jean Mayer HNRCA at Tufts, where his research has focused on the role of diet composition in the regulation of energy metabolism. He is also chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Medicine at Tufts Medical Center.

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Congratulations to Simin, Sarah, and Ed on the new leadership at Tufts!



The 7th International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods

June 5-7, 2009


Washington, District of Columbia


For more information, contact Amy F. Subar;;


Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo 2009

June 6-10, 2009


Anaheim, California


For more information, go to


Food and Function 2009-International Scientific Conference on Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods

June 9-11, 2009


Zilina, Slovakia


For more information, go to


Food Dialogs: Moving the Discussion Beyond the Pyramid

June 9-13, 2009


Montgomery Village, Vermont


For more information, go to


19th International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics

July 5-9, 2009


Paris, France


For more information, go to