Newswise — The Helen Denning Ullrich Annual Award of Excellence in Nutrition Education recognizes an outstanding member of SNEB who has significantly contributed to the field of nutrition education and promotion throughout their career including a record of service to the Society. Joan Dye Gussow, EdD has been instrumental in shaping the field of nutrition education, deeming her a worthy recipient of the 2017 SNEB Helen Denning Ullrich Award.

Currently, Gussow is Mary Swartz Rose Professor emerita at Teachers College Columbia University where each fall, she continues to teach the Nutrition Ecology course she developed almost 50 years ago.  Before joining the Program in Nutrition in 1970, served as an editorial and research associate, a free-lance writer, and researcher at Time Magazine. Gussow has published many articles, one written with Dr. Kate Clancy, appeared in the Journal of Nutrition Education in 1986 and is often cited for having introduced the idea of Sustainable Dietary Guidelines.

“This landmark article expanded critical thinking and research within nutrition practice and the profession,” said Angela M. Tagtow, MS, RD, LD of Gussow’s work. “It provided inspiration to SNEB’s Public Health Nutrition and the Sustainable Food Systems Divisions.”

Additionally, Gussow has published several books, her first being “Disadvantaged Children: Health Nutrition and School Failure” in 1970, and her last in 2011, Growing, Older:  A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables. Active within the Society, Gussow served as SNEB President from 1979–1980 and inspired the formation of the Sustainable Food Systems Division.

“Joan has been a pioneer in the field of nutrition and nutrition education – being ahead of all others and then speaking up through various media till others followed, and till what seemed too revolutionary became mainstream,” colleague Isobel R. Contento, PhD commented. “It is astonishing to me, and ironic, that so many of the positions that she took which seemed so extreme at the time have now gone mainstream.”

Asked for what advice she would give to emerging nutrition education professionals, Gussow said she would urge them to learn as much as they can about the whole food system and how it affects not merely the health of individuals but the health of the planet.  And always be true to what you know.


The Helen Denning Ullrich Annual Award of Excellence in Nutrition Education is named in honor of Helen Denning Ullrich, a loyal member of the Society and the first editor of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. The award is given to acknowledge outstanding career achievement in the field of nutrition education. It recognizes the culmination (or near culmination) of a member’s career. Candidate must have breadth and quality of accomplishments of nutrition education and a leader that fosters SNEB’s mission. Photos and information on past award recipients is online at