Alison Brown

Dear Friedman School Donors,

I am grateful to be a part of the Friedman School community and see my upcoming experiences at Tufts as one more step in my path to join the efforts to alleviate health disparities in this country.  When I was greeted by the memorably warm smile and positivity of Stacey Herman, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, I knew that Tufts was a community that I could see myself being a part of.  After speaking with Stacey about my long-term interests and previous work experiences, she encouraged me to research the work of Miriam Nelson and Christina Economos.  I quickly learned of the great work done at the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention and was eager to become a part of a team of revolutionaries in the field of obesity prevention. 

One semester in, and I have gotten just a small taste of what the Friedman School has to offer.  The broad range of expertise of my professors is surely a reflection of the interdisciplinary nature and complexities within the nutrition field.  From the economic principles of food consumption and the intricacies of nutrition public policy development to the racial and cultural considerations in elucidating health disparities in this country, my Tufts experience is further opening my eyes to the challenges that lie ahead. 

I am truly excited about being on a team with Sara Folta and Miriam Nelson (among many others) in the adaptation of the Strong Women–Healthy Hearts for African American women.  Beginning this semester and continuing throughout my doctoral studies, through focus groups and key informant interviews, we are delving into the perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes that African American women have about heart disease in order to appropriately adapt the curriculum to better suit this demographic.  To say the least, the upcoming years at Tufts will be a tremendous growing experience that will add on to my previous background and strengthen my skillset and knowledge.

I am particularly appreciative of the flexibility of developing my own specialization here at Tufts:  Minority-focused nutrition interventions--design, cultural considerations, management, and implementation.  As an African American woman, I am passionate about reducing chronic diseases among minority populations. The interdisciplinary nature of nutrition requires a broad scope of practice and expertise and the courses offered at the various schools at Tufts provide a great opportunity to explore relevant areas of study.  I am truly excited and blessed for the opportunity to continue my studies at such an appraised institution.  I am grateful and honored for the financial support of my education and look forward to contributing to the reduction of health-related inequities in America.

All the Best,

Alison Brown, MS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   PhD candidate, Food Policy & Applied Nutrition