CHHS Outstanding Alumna Award: Honoree travels globe improving health outcomes for women and children

October 20, 2014

Laura Caulfield

After Laura Caulfield received her undergraduate degree from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition in 1981, she took her drive to improve the health of mothers and children across the globe. Caulfield embarked on a number of research projects and outreach initiatives from improving the nutrition of mothers during pregnancy in Peru, to promoting breastfeeding in urban WIC clinics in the U.S., to identifying better ways for programs to help mothers feed their children in developing countries around the world. Caulfield went on to earn her Ph.D. at Cornell University before joining the faculty at The John Hopkins University in 1990.

At the 2014 Homecoming and Donor Recognition Breakfast, she was awarded the CHHS Outstanding Alumna Award for her many contributions to the field of nutritional epidemiology and her profound impact on global health initiatives. The Outstanding Alumni Award honors outstanding alumni from the College who, through their distinguished careers and/or service to the university, state, nation, or world, have brought honor to Colorado State University and to themselves.

Before impacting new leaders in nutritional epidemiology through the training of more than 20 doctoral students and 50 master's students at The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Caulfield's interest in international nutrition was sparked during her undergraduate tenure at CSU.

"I enjoyed my classes at CSU because it was my first opportunity to study what I really wanted to study, and I was thirsty," shares Caulfield.

As she focused in on her career interests, Caulfield found that her courses at CSU were very influential to her future career goals, as they prepared her for a variety of career options.

"What I found out my first year of my Ph.D. program at Cornell was how respected my CSU degree program was by the professors," explains Caulfield. "Others with a similar degree background didn't have the research methods courses or the statistics course that I had taken at CSU. I had chosen CSU because it was the in-state university that offered a degree program in nutrition; it was great to figure out that choosing my state's school was choosing a strong program."

Caulfield is currently a professor in the Department of International Health at The John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Internationally known for her work in understanding the epidemiology of poor pregnancy outcomes, Caulfield has held a number of leadership positions including director of the program in human nutrition and chair of the International Nutrition Council of the American Society for Nutrition, and is associate editor for Community and International Nutrition at the Journal of Nutrition. In June, Caulfield was the keynote speaker at CSU's Lillian Fountain Smith Nutrition Conference, presenting "Protecting and Promoting Maternal and Child Nutrition and Health: The Role of Nutrition Education."

"What makes Dr. Caulfield so deserving of the Outstanding Alumna Award is that her work has not only guided best practices for populations in dire need of help, but also has been translated into active programs around the world," shares Mike Pagliassotti, head of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Upon learning that she would be receiving the Outstanding Alumna Award, Caulfield said, "This award means everything to me. CSU is where it started for me, and to know that the department is proud of what I have done with that training, where I have gone, and what I have tried to accomplish -- is very gratifying."

Contact:  Kim Winger

Telephone:  (970) 491-2797