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Championing Nutrition

Hamdi Ulukaya. Certainly not a household name. He was greeted with polite applause when President Gutmann introduced him to the 2018 Commencement audience as he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Once she mentioned that Hamdi was the founder and CEO of Chobani yogurt, though, the crowd went wild. And I was fortunate enough to sit next to him at the Penn Honorary Degree dinner the night before. Yes, I love Chobani yogurt. But being familiar and admiring of Hamdi as an innovator, entrepreneur, humanitarian, advocate for nutritious foods, and champion of refugee and immigrant rights was the reason I was so grateful for the opportunity to hear about his journey.

Hamdi’s road to success is remarkable—and at the center—his unwavering commitment to “do good.” It was Hamdi who I thought of as I was reading this issue of Penn Nursing and our accompanying campaign report, Impact. His life’s work speaks to the University of Pennsylvania founder Ben Franklin’s concept of “doing well by doing good.”

Penn Nursing embraces that idea as well, and you can plainly see that in this issue of our magazine, which features our innovative work in nutrition. The scope of our scientific inquiry in this area ranges from human eating behaviors to understanding and addressing the impact of nutrition on health and disease. Take, for instance, the work of Kimberly Kovach Trout, assistant professor of women’s health and director of the nurse-midwifery graduate program. Her research on in utero food preferences is filtering into the clinical world, making a real difference in maternal diets as a way of understanding (and influencing) infants’ taste preferences and ultimately impacting their nutrition across the lifespan. The next generation of researchers and practitioners must be prepared to respond to critical needs in nutrition—and our cross-disciplinary courses, including a major, in nutrition offer just that.

Penn Nursing has been ranked the #1 nursing school in the world for the third consecutive year. These rankings reflect the research, teaching, practice, and Nutrition policy impact of our students, alumni, and faculty. We prepare students to be innovators and advocates, and to positively influence health.

In this issue of Penn Nursing, the benefits of that education are clear in the story of our alumni, Carrie Tompkins Stricker PHD RN AOCN® and Madelyn Trupkin Herzfeld RN BSN OCN®. Stricker and Herzfeld launched a cancer care management and patient engagement platform that provides patients, cancer care teams, and life sciences companies with access to data and insights to improve the quality of care. Pairing a desire to improve patient care with innovation is making a difference.

Penn Nursing and Hamdi share a humanitarian spirit. And it is precisely that spirit that precipitated the launch of our $60 million campaign, Innovating for Life and Living, in April. Our faculty, students, staff, and alumni have long pioneered solutions to some of society’s most vexing issues—thus, “doing well by doing good.” This campaign will ensure we have the resources to continue to be a positive force for the future through innovative science, education, and practice. I hope you will invest in that future with us.

Thank you for your continued commitment to Penn Nursing. I hope you read with pride about our latest efforts to transform health and health care, and I look forward to hearing from you.