Message from the Director

A reflection on our progress and a look forward

Dr. Thornburg

Winter 2017

As another year draws to a close, I've been reflecting on the progress we've made in our brief existence. This year we have continued to build on our commitment to share the message of the importance of early life nutrition in preventing chronic disease risk.

We've made great headway in curriculum development this year. We are very close to being able to share the innovative Nutrition In A Box curriculum with schools. This interactive, self-contained curriculum is designed for 10-14 year old students and aligns with the most current USDA Dietary Guidelines. We have also made progress on our online continuing education nutrition module for physicians. This will serve as a pilot project for OHSU and pave the way for additional maternal nutrition modules. We also joined forces with Familias en Accion to develop continuing education for Latina Community Health Workers. We just learned that our assistance with Familias helped them get a grant to begin work on the project.

We recently made a decision to join forces with the OSU Moore Family Center to combine our annual nutrition conferences. The newly combined event will be called the Oregon Nutrition Update and will be held on the OHSU campus May 18. The subsequent annual event will rotate between Corvallis and Portland. We think our combined efforts will allow us to reach an even broader audience with our message about the importance of nutrition as a foundation for healthy Oregon communities.

Beyond Oregon, we have an exciting maternal health study in Alaska to see how a rapid change from traditional diets to a more "westernized" diet has affected chronic disease in multiple generations of women.  And we have successfully attracted professor Bert Boyer, Ph.D., and his team from University of Alaska Fairbanks to join the Moore Institute team.

We're planning a conference and collaboration with Uzbekistan to include nutrition and developmental origins research into education and policy decisions in this former Soviet country. We also just found out we received funding to host a maternal nutrition conference. At present there is no consensus on what constitutes a healthy diet for pregnant women. The National Institutes of Health has shown interest in our conference so it can have national influence. Speaking of which, this year the New York Academy of Science published the findings of our previous meeting, the International Summit on the Nutrition of Adolescent Girls and Young Women. The document is now being read worldwide.

In spite of our successes, we know that most people in the general population remain unaware of the important role nutrition plays in lifelong chronic disease risk. As I read media stories about big westernized food companies moving into developing nations, updated nutrition labels being delayed and budgets of social service programs being cut, I know that the work we do is more important than ever. That is why we are taking our program on the road. Our Nutrition Oregon Campaign will bring the Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness to communities across the state.

I want to thank the many dedicated volunteers, committee chairs and staff that support the work of the Moore Institute. Without them, none of this would be possible. I would also be remiss if I did not mention the generous gift from Bob and Charlee Moore, without their commitment and vision of a healthier Oregon for all, we wouldn't be where we are today. I'm excited about what the future holds for our organization and the progress we will be able to make together.


Kent L. Thornburg, Ph.D.
Director, OHSU Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness