Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
School of Nutrition Science and Policy, 1981
The Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy was established in 1981 under the leadership of then-president and renowned nutritionist Jean Mayer. The school was founded with the mission of bringing together biomedical, social, political, and behavioral scientists to conduct research, educational, and community service programs to improve the nutritional health and well-being of populations throughout the world.
Tufts' involvement in the field of nutrition began in the early days of the School of Medicine with the establishment of a food clinic at the Boston Dispensary. In 1918, the Frances Stern Nutrition Center was established for the training of nutritionists. The Stern Center also provided nutrition services to the New England Medical Center hospitals. Academic aspects of the program were coordinated through the Department of Education on the Medford campus.
The School of Nutrition began as an Institute established in 1976 in Medford, intended to provide for the interdisciplinary study of nutrition issues. The curriculum drew from the course offerings of Arts and Sciences, Fletcher, and the School of Medicine.
The school opened its doors in 1981 with Stanley N. Gershoff as dean. Gershoff, formerly a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, had served as director of the Institute of Nutrition. From its first class of seventeen students, the School of Nutrition Science and Policy has matured to a student body of 178 students in 2000, representing twenty-seven countries. Master of science and doctoral degree programs are offered in the social and biological sciences. Specialized training programs are available for physicians pursuing doctoral degrees in human nutrition and graduates of bachelor degree nutrition programs who wish to become registered dieticians.
Interdisciplinary programs involve faculty and scientists at all of the other seven schools at Tufts, including specialty concentrations in international food and nutrition; nutrition communications; agriculture, food and environment; and clinical nutrition, health promotion and disease prevention.
Faculty at the school include anthropologists, biomedical scientists, economists, nutritionists, epidemiologists, physicians, political scientists, and psychologists focussingon a myriad of issues with the common thread of nutrition and its role in understanding and fostering the growth and development of human populations.
The school's concern with the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the United States and abroad is reflected in the research and applied work being done by its faculty and students. Areas of specialty include the socioeconomic parameters of malnutrition, nutrition program design and implementation, social marketing and development policy. Graduates of the programs in these areas are employed in government and non-governmental agencies as well as private voluntary organizations throughout the world and in the United States.
The school is closely affiliated with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, located on the Boston campus.
Source: LOH2; BTU [Nutrition] 2000