Tufts University Friedman School Professor Beatrice Rogers Named Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition

April 28, 2014

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Andrea Grossman

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Economist Beatrice Rogers, Ph.D., a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, has helped shaped policies around the delivery of food aid to more than a dozen developing countries over the last 35 years. This month, the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) is recognizing Rogers for her significant contributions to the field by electing her as a fellow, the organization’s highest honor.

Founded in 1928, ASN is a 5,000-member, non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together the world's top researchers, clinical nutritionists and industry to advance the knowledge and application of nutrition. Each year, a committee of ASN members selects a class of fellows who have produced distinguished work over the course of their careers. Rogers is one of 10 new fellows from academia, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture being honored today at the annual ASN Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Rogers joined the Friedman School faculty in 1982 after earning her Ph.D. in economics and public health from The Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Her research focuses on the economics of malnutrition, with a focus on the impacts of food pricing, household consumption patterns and food aid programming. Throughout her career, the U.S. federal government and organizations such as the United Nations World Food Programme and the World Bank have sought her leadership on various projects.

More recently, Rogers’ work was reflected in the 2014 Farm Bill, the legislation that sets the U.S. agricultural and food policy agenda for the next five years. With colleague Patrick Webb, Ph.D., dean of academic affairs at the Friedman School, Rogers conducted a two-year review for USAID that provided specific recommendations for enhancing the quality of food aid distributed by the federal government. As a result of their report, published in 2011, the Farm Bill calls for taking a fresh look at the agricultural commodities and products donated as food aid and the effectiveness of the programming used to distribute them.

In collaboration with USAID and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Rogers is leading three research projects in Africa that relate to the effectiveness of international food aid. A recently-launched study in Burkina Faso is comparing the effectiveness of four food aid products to prevent moderate acute malnutrition and stunting of growth in children.

“We want to know which of these food aid products are most effective in maintaining the child’s growth trajectory between the ages of 6 and 24 months. During that time, we’ll be monitoring how the children are growing and whether they are meeting their growth targets,” Rogers said. “We’re also interested in knowing more about how the mothers use and prepare the food aid products they receive.”  A second study, in Sierra Leone is focusing on the use of the food aid products to treat moderate acute malnutrition. “In Sierra Leone, health workers already conduct community outreach to do routine growth monitoring. Children who are identified as at risk will come to local clinics to collect the food aid products every two weeks,” Rogers said.  “We’ll be looking at how many children recover from moderate acute malnutrition and how long that recovery takes, and what factors explain the differences among products.”

Rogers and colleagues are also beginning data analysis of a behavior communication campaign they facilitated in Malawi. The researchers want to know whether the additional education influenced mothers to prepare the food aid products properly so that their children gain the intended nutritional benefits. A key contribution of all these studies will be assessing not only effectiveness, but also the cost-effectiveness of the different products.

Additional Information on Dr. Rogers and the work ASN is recognizing her for can be found at http://www.nutrition.tufts.edu/faculty/Rogers-Beatrice

The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is the only independent school of nutrition in the United States. The school's eight degree programs, which focus on questions relating to famine, hunger, poverty, and communications, are renowned for the application of scientific research to national and international policy.

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