Message from the Director

A reflection on our progress and a look forward

Dr. Thornburg

Spring 2018

Since the Institute's founding, a primary goal of the Moore Institute has been to educate the public and professional communities regarding newly discovered science that explains the origins of diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease. It is now known that two stressors, malnutrition and toxic social stress are behind the epidemic of chronic diseases in Oregon and across the country. We are using every available method to get our message to Oregonians.

Recently we completed a nutrition curriculum for grades four to eight. The Nutrition in a Box curriculum was an idea we had from the very beginnings of the Moore Institute. We're excited that the hard work of so many has resulted in a finished product for which we are very proud. This interactive, self-contained curriculum is designed for 10-14 year old students and aligns with the most current USDA Dietary Guidelines. Our Education and Outreach Committee Chair, Susan Bagby, M.D. is currently working to get the curriculum placed in schools, camps and other programs for adolescents.

We are close to completing an online continuing education module for health care providers exploring the basic tenets of epigenetics and the transgenerational causes of chronic disease. This information has not been an integral part of training for providers and much more effort needs to made to include it in curricula. It is relevant for all health care providers in improving their understanding of their patients' chronic disease risk, how to treat some conditions with nutritional therapy, and how to change the risk for the next generation.

This year, we joined forces with the OSU Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods & Preventive Health to combine our annual nutrition conferences. The newly combined event is 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. 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.

Despite our work, we know that most people remain unaware of how chronic disease risk is established and passed from one generation to the next and the role that stress and nutrition plays in this process. 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. I look forward to what we can accomplish by joining forces with other institutions in Oregon and beyond in working toward a similar vision of building healthier communities free of chronic disease.

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