Samford University’s School of Public Health held its inaugural Nutrition Symposium, Sept. 21, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of nutrition education at Samford. Hosted by the school’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, the day-long symposium boasted a dynamic lineup of speakers who presented on a range of topics relating to nutrition and public health.
Linda Snetselaar, Ph.D., RDN, FAND, LD, professor in the University of Iowa’s Department of Epidemiology, director of the Nutrition Center in the College of Public Health and associate provost of outreach and engagement, provided the keynote address, sharing stories from her career and world travels in pursuit of addressing important community-based health concerns.
“We knew Dr. Snetselaar would be a wonderful keynote speaker for this event because her work spans the spectrum. She is an accomplished and highly respected scientist, practitioner and educator in our field,” said Katie Coate, assistant professor in the School of Public Health. “She has a perspective that bridges the gap between scientific research and the health concerns of communities.”
Her presentation, entitled A Journey through the Field of Nutrition and Dietetics, illustrated the impact of food and its power to bring together cultures, families and communities. In speaking about research, she shared her excitement for the direction the field of nutrition and dietetics is heading.
“Nutrition is very similar to what I see with computers and computer science,” she said. “Almost every day, we see a new gadget or smartphone. With nutrition there are many things that we don’t know, but we’re right on the cusp of learning the effects of foods on disease and health sciences.”
In addition to Snetselaar, the event included six additional speakers: Molly Killman, M.S., RD, LD; Barbara Gower, Ph.D.; Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., RD; Kristi Crowe-White, Ph.D., RD; Katie Snider Novitski, M.D., M.P.H; and Coate.
At midday, the symposium had a break for lunch and its research poster session and competition. Seventeen undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students presented research posters, including students from Samford, University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Auburn University.
“One of our goals in establishing this event was to encourage students to engage in on-going scholarly dialogue by exposing them to current research in the field and providing them with a platform to present their own,” Coate said. “I hope they can now better appreciate the variety of research being conducted in nutrition and public health, and how research impacts community health and vice versa.”