Nutrition Think Tank


Established in 2014, the Global WACh Nutrition Think Tank (NTT) aims to build a community of institutions and people working to improve the nutritional status of people around the world.  UW faculty and global health professionals regularly meet to discuss ongoing projects, lessons learned while identifying synergistic opportunities to collaborate on projects and research in the field of nutrition.

Nutrition specific course offerings

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Technical Symposium on Strengthening the Nutrition Continuum: From Early Research through Implementation to MetricsOctober 15th, 2014

In a world with 7 billion people, nearly 2 billion people on earth are undernourished, and more than 2 billion people are overweight or obese. On October 15th, 2014, leading nutrition experts gathered for a full-day learning symposium focused on emerging research, implementation science and capacity strengthening to combat these statistics. Download their presentations below:

1. Microbiome and growth, including assessment of gut microbiome in relation to nutrition interventions: Judd Walson, MD, MPH. UW Associate Professor, Allergy and Infectious Dis., Global Health, Pediatrics; Adjunct Associate Professor, Epidemiology; Co-Director, Strategic Analysis Research and Training (START) program

2. Neuro-cognitive development and nutrition through the life-cycleSarah Benki-Nugent, PhD. UW Acting Instructor, Global Health

3. Development of field appropriate biomarkers to assess environmental enteric dysfunction: Donna Denno, MD, MPH. UW Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Global Health; Adjunct Associate Professor, Health Services

4. Biomarker development for vitamins and mineralsEleanor Brindle, MA. UW Research Scientist, Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE); Director, Biodemography Core

5. Double-burden of malnutrition: Rachel NugentPhD. UW Clinical Associate Professor, Global Health; Project Director, Disease Control Priorities Network (DCPN)

6. Improved nutrition through the life-cycle, focusing on adolescent girls and interrupting intergenerational cycles of under nutrition: Rachel Katzenellenbogen, MD. Seattle Children’s Hospital Assistant Professor, Pediatrics Section of Adolescent Medicine

7. From Nutrition Research to Policy Implementation: Studies to Inform the Process: Jennifer Otten, PhD, RD. UW Assistant Professor, Health Services; and, Donna Johnson, PhD, RD. UW Professor, Health Services. Associate Director Center for Public Health Nutrition, Nutritional Sciences Program.

8. Advocacy for improving the first 1,000 days: Jennifer Rigg, MPA. Director of Policy & Partnerships, 1,000 days

9. Country EngagementKatharine Kreis, MPH.  PATH Director of Strategic Initiatives for International Development

10. Building Capacity for Monitoring and Evaluation of Large Scale Nutrition ProgramsJonathan Gorstein, PhD. UW Clinical Associate Professor, Global Health; and, Suzinne Pak-Gorstein, MD, MPH, PhD. UW Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics; Attending Physician, Harborview Medical Center; Co-Director – Global Health Pathways, Seattle Children’s Residency Program

11. Costs and cost-effectiveness of nutrition interventionsCarol Levin, MSc, PhD. UW Senior Health Economist, Disease Control Priorities Network; Clinical Associate Professor, Global Health

12. Training opportunities, institution strengthening and bilateral capacity buildingCarey Farquhar, MD, MPH. UW Professor, Departments of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Global Health; Director, International AIDS Research and Training Program (IARTP); Director, Afya Bora Consortium Fellowship in African Global Health Leadership



Dr. Benki-Nugent received her PhD (Microbiology) and MS (Epidemiology) from the University of Washington, and has been involved in HIV research in Kenya since 2000.  Her broad research goals are to improve long-term health and developmental outcomes in HIV-infected children in international settings.  Her study (Impact of HIV on Neurodevelopment in Kenya) will examine the extent and correlates of neurocognitive impairment in HIV-infected school-aged children who either received antiretroviral therapy (ART) from infancy or who were HIV-diagnosed later in childhood.  This study will also examine the relation between immune activation and neurocognitive outcomes in treated HIV-infected children.


For the past several years, she has been a co-investigator for several studies focused on care and management of HIV-infected children receiving ART in Kenya, including the Optimizing Pediatric HIV-1 Therapy 03 study, which examined continued versus interrupted ART in children and the Pediatric Urgent Start of HAART study, which will determine optimal timing of ART in hospitalized children.


Dr. Sarah Benki-Nugent, MS, PhD | Co-Chair of NTT

University of Washington Acting Instructor, Department of Global Health


Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn MD is an General Academic Pediatrics fellow at University of Washington and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, where she is also pursuing an MPH in Epidemiology.  Beth received a BS in Human Biology, Health and Society from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY and an MD at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY.  As a medical student and resident, Beth pursued interests in pediatric refugee health screening in Upstate NY, and in the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in Tabarre, Haiti. During her fellowship, Beth is conducting research on the correlates of physical activity in Latino preschool children; and the nutritional status of newly arrived pediatric refugees; and is starting to explore the gut microbiome and nutritional status in children.


Dr. Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn, MD

University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Hospital General Academic Pediatrics Fellow, Acting Instructor of Pediatrics


Dr. Denno’s Research interests include childhood infectious diseases, child and adolescent health in developing countries and health care delivery strategies.


Dr. Donna Denno, MD, MPH

University of Washington Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Global Health; Adjunct Associate Professor, Health Services


Dr. Adam Drewnowski is a world-renowned leader in the prevention and treatment of obesity. He is Professor of Epidemiology and the Director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the School of Public Health. He is also the Director of the University of Washington Center for Obesity Research, which addresses the environmental, social and economic aspects of the obesity epidemic. Dr. Drewnowski is Adjunct Professor of Medicine and is a Joint Member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Dr. Drewnowski’ is the inventor of the Nutrient Rich Foods Index, which rates individual foods based on their overall nutritional value, and the Affordable Nutrition Index, which helps consumers identify affordable healthy foods. He has conducted extensive studies on taste function and food preferences, exploring the role of fat, sugar, and salt on food preferences and food cravings. His studies on genetic taste markers have explored consumer acceptance of bitter phytochemicals in vegetables and fruit. More recent studies have addressed the sustainability of animal and plant foods in terms of carbon dioxide emissions associated with different quality diets. Dr. Drewnowski has advised government and international agencies, foundations and think tanks, both public and private.


Dr. Adam Drewnowski, PhD, MA

University of Washington Professor, Epidemiology; Director, Nutritional Sciences Program


Jonathan Gorstein has been working to support the design and implementation of large-scale nutrition programs in developing countries for over twenty five years with a focus on strengthening capacity and monitoring and evaluation.  He serves on global task forces for the World Health Organization and International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders/Global Network, as well as several editorial boards of international public health nutrition journals. He has worked with international agencies (WHO, UNICEF, World Bank), International NGO’s (Helen Keller International, PATH, Micronutrient Initiative, GAIN) and as a Consultant to several Ministries of Health. He has served extended assignments in Nepal and Indonesia where he provided support to their respective national nutrition programs, helped develop curricula in nutrition and carried out operational research.  He is currently a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington where is lectures on nutrition in developing countries and also serves as the global coordinator for a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant to support national efforts to achieve optimal iodine nutrition in sixteen countries, which is being jointly implemented by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and UNICEF.


Dr. Jonathan Gorstein, PhD

University of Washington Clinical Associate Professor, Global Health;


Dr. John-Stewart trained as an internist and pediatrician prior to specializing in infectious diseases and receiving a PhD in epidemiology. Her research is focused on international HIV-1 studies, primarily based in Kenya. These include studies of transmission, prevention, clinical epidemiology, clinical trials, and molecular epidemiology. Her interests include mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1, pediatric HIV-1 and co-infections (TB, helminths, CMV), HIV-1 acquisition and pathogenesis, and delivery of HIV-1 treatment and prevention services. She has published over 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts. Currently, Dr. John-Stewart’s funding includes support from the NIH, CDC, and the Gates Foundation. Dr. John-Stewart received the Elizabeth Glaser Scientist Award, has mentored over 85 students/fellows, received a K24 Mentorship Award, was nominated for the UW post-doctoral mentorship award and received a UW School of Medicine mentorship award.


Dr. Grace John-Stewart, MD, MPH, PhD

Univeristy of Washington Professor, Allergy and Infectious Dis, Epidemiology, Global Health, Pediatrics; Director, Global WACh; Director, CFAR International Core; Director, Kenya Research Program


Dr. Levin has a background in agricultural economics; has worked at PATH as a health economist w ith strong interest in food consumption, nutrition and health outcomes. She joined the University of Washington’s Global Health Dept in January, 2014. She is a co-PI at PATH and the International Potato Center involved in project looking at mother’s health and infants associated with voucher programs for vitamin A ripe sweet potatoes and growth looking at food consumption and food security. She is also working with economics group on interventions in first 1000 days.


Dr. Carol Levin, MSc, PhD

Senior Health Economist, Disease Control Priorities Network; University of Washington Clinical Associate Professor, Global Health


Dr. Mendoza is a Principal Investigator in the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. He leads global health research on the influence of household food insecurity on HIV+ children and young adults in the US and Sub-Saharan Africa. His US-based research seeks to address disparities in childhood physical activity and nutrition through innovative behavioral interventions and policies. His studies have been funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NCI and NHLBI) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Active Living Research Program).


Dr. Jason A Mendoza, MD, MPH | Co-Chair of NTT

University of Washington Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Adjunct Associate Professor of Health Services; Core Faculty for the UW Nutritional Sciences Program; Affiliate Member, Cancer Prevention Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center


Suzinne Pak-Gorstein’s area of interest is strengthening the delivery of nutrition and child health services through evidence-based quality improvement and process monitoring, program evaluation, and building local capacity. She is also involved with GH education for students and physicians. Her current international activities include collaborating with UNICEF to support government monitoring and evaluation of young child and infant feeding programs in Nepal, Laos, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. She provides support in the assessment of food security and undernutrition in these countries, and in the evaluation of the Nepal child cash grant program.  Suzinne co-directs the Global Health Pathways Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital through which she partners with the University of Nairobi to train Seattle and Kenyan pediatric residents in community child health projects. She is also medical director of the Harborview Pediatric clinics where she provides care for refugee immigrant children in the community. She is assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine and is leading the development of global child health educational curriculum for distance-based teaching of GH topics for residents. Finally she is the chair of the Academic Pediatric Association Global Health special interest group.


Dr. Suzinne Pak-Gorstein, MD, MPH, PhD

University of Washington Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics; Attending Physician, Harborview Medical Center; Co-Director – Global Health Pathways, Seattle Children’s Residency Program


Megan Parker, MSc, PhD is a Nutrition Research Officer within PATH’s Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) Global Program. Her research is focused micronutrient malnutrition, nutritional status, behavior change, and infectious disease within East Africa and South East Asia. Megan currently serves as the principal investigator and co-investigator for randomized clinical trials in Burundi and Cambodia, respectively, examining the impact of fortified rice on the health of schoolchildren receiving midday meals from the World Food Program; this research is funded by the USDA and is conducted in close collaboration with local NGOs and governments to foster sustainability. Between 2010 and 2012, Megan’s postdoctoral work focused on the maternal and child health outcomes and practices in communities receiving a USAID funded PM2A program which provided food rations, behavior change communication classes, and improved medical care in rural Burundi. Her previous research included the growth monitoring of children born to HIV-positive women within the CDC-UNC-Malawi BAN Study, and the feasibility of implementing the HIV and infant feeding guidelines using LNS as a breast milk substitute; as well as documenting the indigenous Maasai child diet and evaluating dietary medicinal plants for potent antiretroviral compounds in association with Kenya Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (KENRIK), Montreal General Hospital, and McGill University.


Dr. Megan Parker, MSc, PhD

Nutrition Research Officer, PATH


Dr. Waite, MD completed pediatrics residency at Seattle Children’s and was a member of the Global Health Pathway. She is now at Seattle Children’s Research Institute as General Academic Pediatrics fellow, and has developed an interest in breastfeeding and the important role of nutrition and development during work in Kenya. She is working with Dimitri Christakis looking at workplace support of breast feeding, and also on formula impact and breastfeeding. Working with Jim Taylor on project looking at treatment of hyperbilirubinemia and breastfeeding.


Dr. Whitney Waite, MD, MPH

Seattle Children’s Hostpital, Pediatrics-Inpatient, Hospital Medicine; General Academic Pediatrics fellow


Judd Walson, MD, MPH is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Global Health, Medicine (Allergy and Infectious Disease), Pediatrics and Epidemiology.  He has an extensive history of conducting large observational studies and clinical trials in Kenya, funded by NIH, CDC, private foundations and industry. Dr. Walson’s research focuses on studies of infectious disease in Africa, including enteric and diarrheal disease, tuberculosis HIV and endemic co-infections. Dr. Walson is the Project PI of a large ongoing study of enteric disease and acute illness in Kenyan children at multiple sites in Western Kenya. He has extensive experience in the design and implementation of observational research and clinical trials in Africa, and works closely with numerous government and non-governmental organizations across Kenya. He has strong relationships with stakeholders in the country, and a history of effective partnerships and collaborations with the Kenya Medical Research Unit, CDC- Kenya, the Department of Defense and others. He has established a solid research infrastructure with administrative and operations systems to support expanded scope and additional research projects in Kenya.


Dr. Judd Walson, MD, MPH

University of Washington Associate Professor, Allergy and Infectious Dis., Global Health, Pediatrics; Adjunct Associate Professor, Epidemiology; Co-Director, START program


Jennifer Rigg is Director of Policy & Partnerships at 1,000 Days. Previously, Jennifer worked at Save the Children on public policy and advocacy, where she led advocacy on nutrition and food security, livelihoods, foreign aid reform, early childhood development and education. As an InterAction Food Security Working Group Co-Chair at that time, she helped organize the 1,000 Days launch in 2010. Jennifer serves on the Roadmap to End Global Hunger Steering Group. She has also worked with CARE, United Way Worldwide, Agros International and the American Friends Service Committee. Earlier in her career, Jennifer served as an Americorps*VISTA with TeamTECH, an innovative public-private partnership to build the technology capacity of nonprofit organizations.

Jennifer holds a Master in Public Administration and graduate certificate in International Development Policy and Management from the University of Washington, certificate in Leadership and Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington/Learning Institute for Nonprofits, and a B.A. in International Studies/Political Science from Emory University.

Jennifer Rigg

Director of Policy & Partnerships
1,000 Days


Rebecca Olson is the Nutrition Policy Analyst at 1,000 Days. Rebecca previously worked with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and CARE in Mozambique, where she conducted nutrition and HIV/AIDS program implementation and monitoring. Rebecca has spent significant time living and working in Brazil, Kenya and India, including working as Program Director for a non-profit in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, aimed at improving the health and educational performance of impoverished youth and Bolsa Familia beneficiaries. She also worked for Minneapolis based non-profit Project for Pride in Living on public policy and advocacy in the areas of health, housing and immigration.

Rebecca holds a Master in Public Policy and graduate certificate in Human Rights and Health from the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Iowa. She is currently enrolled in the Delivery Science for International Nutrition online certificate program at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Rebecca Olson

Nutrition Policy Analyst
1,000 Days


Adrianna Logalbo is spearheading 1,000 Days’ efforts to build a public constituency for maternal and child nutrition. Adrianna brings nearly a decade of experience in engaging communities “outside the beltway” on some of the world’s most pressing global challenges, from malaria to malnutrition.

Prior to joining 1,000 Days, Adrianna led the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, serving as the Executive Director of the global, grassroots campaign to raise awareness and mobilize resources to prevent malaria in Africa. Adrianna led the successful campaign to over $35 million dollars raised, managing over 20 national partners and more than 100,000 supporters. Most recently, Adrianna built the Future Fortified campaign at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to provide innovative and easy ways for individuals, businesses and organizations to take action to address the global nutrition challenge. In its first year, the Future Fortified campaign built a community of over 35,000 supporters.

Adrianna is a graduate from Middlebury College with a joint degree in Sociology-Anthropology and Geography. Her international experience includes living in both East and West Africa and traveling throughout the continent with high-level partner and celebrity missions.

Adrianna Logalbo

Campaign Director
1,000 Days


Yesenia is the Communications Manager at 1,000 Days. Previously, she worked as a Program Associate for the Alliance to End Hunger, an organization that engages diverse institutions in building the public and political will to end hunger. Yesenia first entered the communications field during the 2004 presidential election cycle when she helped run a boutique Hispanic political-communications firm. From 2003-2004, she served as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow at the Children’s Alliance in Seattle, WA and the National Council of La Raza in Washington, DC.

Yesenia holds a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College. She serves on the board of Bread for the World.

Yesenia Garcia

Communications Manager
1,000 Days