Dear Friedman Community,
My name is Whitney Evans, and I am a first year doctoral student in the Nutritional Epidemiology Program at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. As a collegiate runner and lifelong athlete, nutrition has always been very important to me; however, I never considered it as a career path until news of the pediatric obesity epidemic suggested this generation may be the first to have a shorter life span than their parents. With the intention of working clinically as a Registered Dietitian in the field of pediatric obesity, I completed a master’s of science in Clinical Nutrition and accepted a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston.
In working with overweight and obese teens at Children’s Hospital, it is startling to realize how many of them skip meals, consume sugar-sweetened beverages, binge on convenience foods, and are physically inactive. This realization made me acutely aware of the value of epidemiologic research that identifies which exposures during the life course increase the risk for overweight and obesity. Additionally, considering we only reach a fraction of the overweight and obese population in clinical settings, my experience fostered my desire to do intervention work in schools and communities designed to promote healthy nutrition behaviors and physical activity.
In looking at programs in Nutritional Epidemiology, I was initially attracted to the Friedman School by the work of Dr. Aviva Must, who is a leader in the field of pediatric obesity research and that of the researchers in the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention. Upon starting at the Friedman School last fall and working with Dr. Must as my advisor, I was further inspired by the incredibly intelligent and motivated students at the Friedman School, the vast number of opportunities, both academic and professional, available to Friedman students, and the access I have to the faculty, who are all leaders within the field of nutrition.
I would like to sincerely thank the Friedman School donors who have made this opportunity possible for me. Going back to school for the second time in the midst of an economic downturn would not have been possible without your support. Thank you for your generosity and for helping me in my quest to improve the health of future generations.
Whitney Evans MS, RD, LDN
PhD Candidate, Nutritional Epidemiology
The Gerald J. & Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy