International award to Otago nutritionist

Rosalind Gibson.
Rosalind Gibson.
A Univeristy of Otago human nutritionist, Prof Rosalind Gibson, has been awarded the 2013 Kellogg International Prize in Nutrition.

The award is given by the American Society of Nutrition to a member of its Global Nutrition Council actively engaged in scientific research to ''benefit populations in non-industrialised countries''.

Award winners are also involved in training new scientists for international nutrition research.

Prof Gibson, a research professor in the Otago human nutrition department, was recognised for her research on micronutrient malnutrition, and her teaching, in both Africa and Southeast Asia, of short courses in nutritional assessment.

Also recognised was her book, Principles of Nutritional Assessment, a widely used reference work that has been in print for more than 20 years.

She was ''particularly pleased'' to receive this international recognition for her translational research.

She was also ''especially delighted'' that the importance of ''capacity strengthening in nutrition'' in developing countries had also been recognised.

Born in England, she gained a BSc in human nutrition, and a later PhD, from the University of London, having also gained a master of science degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. Prof Gibson's later interest in Africa was initiated by three years spent in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, at the Ethio-Swedish Children's Nutrition Unit.

Her more recent research has emphasised sustainable strategies to combat micronutrient deficiencies, and has included studies with her students in Thailand, Cambodia, Mongolia, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Brazil. At Otago University, she co-directs the regional WHO collaborating Centres for Nutrition. To help counter a desperate shortage of experienced nutrition professionals in many low-income countries, Prof Gibson began giving intensive short courses on nutritional assessment to small groups of senior students and health professionals, in several developing countries.

In June, she will teach a short intensive course at the University of Hawassa, in Southern Ethiopia.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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