New dean

Nutrition policy expert named Friedman School dean

Eileen Kennedy, who has spent her career championing nutrition re-search and its application to policy, has been appointed dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

eileen kennedy

Eileen Kennedy

A former deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kennedy was a leading voice for nutrition for seven years at the USDA, directing agencies that provided policy advice, analysis and research on agriculture, biotechnology, nutrition, environment, food safety, economics and agricultural extension.

“Dr. Kennedy will bring bold leadership to the Friedman School, maintaining the steep trajectory of distinction that has characterized the school since its founding,” said Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow.

Kennedy, who will become dean on July 1, succeeds Dr. Irwin H. Rosenberg, who has headed the Friedman School since 1995. Rosenberg, one of only four faculty members at Tufts to hold the title of University Professor, is an expert in folate metabolism and nutritional factors involved in maintaining cognitive function. He will continue to conduct research and teach at Tufts.

During Rosenberg’s tenure, Friedman School faculty made groundbreaking discoveries, served on policy-making panels throughout the world and used their research and scholarship to address global problems and improve people’s lives—from helping prevent famine and disease to creating the first Food Guide Pyramid for people age 70 and older.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Friedman School because its greatest strength is in the diversity of its curriculum and research,” Kennedy said. “No other school has the wealth of expertise in such a wide range of intersecting disciplines—from basic science to applied nutrition and policy research and development. The challenges we face in a world of abundant food and the loss of health that comes from both over-consumption and under-consumption of food call for nutrition leaders who can work across the entire spectrum of nutrition represented here at Tufts.”

Kennedy has taught and conducted research at Tufts, Columbia University, Cornell University and Johns Hopkins University. While serving as deputy undersecretary and then acting undersecretary at the USDA, Kennedy created the “Healthy Eating Index,” which measures the overall quality of people’s diets.

“Eileen tirelessly helped push the nutrition agenda at USDA. She is a true leader,” said Dan Glickman, former U.S. secretary of agriculture. “She has always been a strong advocate for the view that nutrition issues are global, and the solutions must be supported by research and pursued both locally and globally.”

Recently, Kennedy was president of the Global Nutrition Institute, which links science-based nutrition research to action through public/private partnerships. Kennedy holds an undergraduate degree from Hunter College, master’s degrees from Penn State and Harvard and a D.Sc. in nutrition from Harvard School of Public Health.