Alice Ammerman, DrPH, professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, has been named the inaugural Mildred Kaufman Professor of nutrition.
The professorship was announced at the Gillings School’s 49th annual Fred T. Foard Jr. Memorial Lecture on April 27, pending final approval by UNC’s Board of Trustees.
Ammerman, who joined the UNC faculty in 1991, has strong research and practice collaborations across North Carolina, especially in the area of childhood obesity. She serves on the statewide Childhood Obesity Study Committee, charged with recommending legislative action related to children’s nutrition and physical activity.
She is principal investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation, charged with identification, translation and dissemination of evidence-based interventions for obesity and cardiovascular disease control and prevention.
Her research interests also include sustainable agriculture as it relates to improved nutrition, school nutrition policy in relation to childhood obesity, and social entrepreneurship as a sustainable approach for addressing public health concerns.
Mildred Kaufman, MPH, who died in 2016, was a former nutrition department chair (1987-1990) and faculty member (1977-1990) at the Gillings School and was a lifelong advocate for public health nutrition.
During a decade of work with the U.S. Public Health Service, she was involved with issues of chronic disease control, standard of food service and nutrition care for nursing homes.
Kaufman’s 12 years working with the State of Florida involved groundbreaking activities, including expanding the number of state nutritionists from 14 to 75 and advocating for the health needs of the migrant population in Florida. She became a national leader in the area of migrant health.
At UNC’s public health school, she was instrumental in developing the Master of Public Health (MPH) program as a means of interdisciplinary training. She developed an innovative MPH program, the first of its kind globally to combine registered dietitian (RD) training with obtaining an MPH degree.
The Mildred Kaufman Professorship was established in recognition of Kaufman’s contributions to practice, training, research and professional service in the field of public health nutrition. The holder of the distinguished professorship is one who honors the goals that guided Kaufman’s career, namely the development of a strong, active nutrition component as a vital element in comprehensive, life-cycle public health programs and services.
“As a student here at UNC, Alice was mentored by Mildred Kaufman,” said Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD, Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of nutrition and medicine and chair of the Gillings School’s Department of Nutrition. “Since those incredibly important formative years, Alice has been a true champion of public health nutrition, working to improve health and reduce health inequities through public health nutrition research, practice and policy, both here in North Carolina and nationally. I’m sure that Mildred would be as proud of Alice’s accomplishments as we are; it’s a true testament to Mildred’s legacy that Alice has had such a successful career to advance public health nutrition.”
Ammerman noted that Kaufman was chair of the nutrition department when she [Ammerman] was a master’s student at UNC.
“Mildred set a high standard for community engagement among public health nutrition professionals and addressing health disparities,” Ammerman said. “I continue to be inspired by her and strive to incorporate her vision into my own work. I’m therefore very pleased to be awarded a professorship named in her honor.”
Reposted from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health