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Founding of the HMS Department of Nutrition and formation of the Division of Nutrition




Public Relations

Harvard Medical School
and School of Public Health Activities

The Division of Nutrition at HMS coordinates activities with the Harvard Human Nutrition Program at HSPH and has a close working relationship with executives and research directors of major companies that produce nutritional products for the public. DON continues to sponsor symposia for industrial representatives to inform them of the depth of nutrition research at Harvard and the possibility of joint ventures on clinical projects.

Each year, the Division of Nutrition joins with HSPH to sponsor a Postgraduate Nutrition Symposium on a cutting edge topic. The 2007 symposium, Obesity and Inflammation, organized by Professors Gokhan Hotamisligil and Harry Pothoulakis, experts in the field, examined how a better understanding of the association of obesity with inflammation may help clinicians deal with the severe complications of obesity. A panel of world-renowned physicians and researchers presented knowledge on subjects crucial to the understanding of the critical role of inflammation may play in insulin resistance and development of obesity-related pathologies, and the investigation into whether certain dietary/nutritional components may prevent the development and progression of these complications. All recent symposia are recorded and webcasts are available HERE.

The symposia have been well received by industry and will continue on an annual basis. In addition, several industrial representatives (Wyeth, Con Agra, Slim Fast, Dannon Yogurt, Coca Cola, Abbot Labs, etc.) have expressed an interest in supporting Division of Nutrition educational activities at HMS and to help develop a published curriculum on nutritional education from the Harvard Medical School for medical students throughout the USA. The resources generated from these sources are in an endowed account at Harvard Medical School for the Division of Nutrition.

Harvard Business School Activities

In addition to the DON initiatives to interact with industry, a program at the Harvard Business School overseen by Professor Ray Goldberg, Emeritus, the Moffett Professor of Agriculture and Business, has been established to identify ways for government, industry, business, academics, and nutritional science to work together to provide optimal nutrition for the public through legislation, manufacturing policies, and research. Drs. Walker, Isselbacher, Willett, Bistrian, Lo, and Blackburn are members of this program.

The group meets annually to discuss issues and consider recommendations for legislation on changes in manufacturing that may provide the best possible nutrition for citizens. President Larry Summers has asked that a university-wide committee be established to make recommendations on nutrition at Harvard. Professor Ray Goldberg, who chairs that committee, acts as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Division of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Walker is a member and liaison with the Medical School.

Communication with the Public

In addition to an industry liaison, the Department of Nutrition will establish links with patients and the lay public to communicate important new breakthroughs in nutrition prevention of disease and optimal nutrition for individuals of all ages, from infancy to old age.

We also work closely with Professor Lillian Cheung, Ph.D. in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, an expert in communication to disseminate this information to the lay public. This is a major thrust of the newly established Division of Nutrition - Harvard Faculty & Staff Involved in Nutrition Related Research and Teaching.

Physicians in practice and the lay public can also gain information of nutrition through website links to the DON website.

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Updated 12/4/2016