Christine Stewart, PhD, MPH, Professor, UC Davis and Leila Larson, MPH, PhD, Assistant Professor, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health have organized a NUTRITION 2024 session to honor the life and contributions of ASN Member Elizabeth “Beth” Prado, PhD, Associate Professor, UC Davis who recently passed away. 

In this interview, Christine and Leila share how they have been inspired by Beth’s work. 

Pictured: Elizabeth “Beth” Prado, PhD

What do you want people to know about Beth and her contributions to the field? 

Beth, a student of linguistics and psychology, brought a fresh perspective to the field of nutrition. While she did not consider herself a nutrition scientist, her diverse background enriched the research she conducted and the methodologies she employed, allowing her to view issues differently from those primarily trained in nutrition and public health. 

She explored the biological and social foundations of children’s health and development. Much of her work supported a shifting paradigm within the field, emphasizing that improving child development extends beyond nutrition alone. Factors such as parenting, early learning experiences, and conditions associated with poverty also play critical roles, and these need to be addressed in combination with nutrition to improve child development. 

Beth’s contributions have transformed discussions on growth and development, advocating for more holistic approaches that incorporate biological and psychological factors alongside nutritional strategies. 

Tell us about your NUTRITION 2024 session.

We have invited four distinguished investigators to present on topics related to the social, psychological, and biological factors related to child development, inspired by Beth’s work. Our faculty had the immense pleasure of collaborating with and learning from Beth, a testament to her commitment to diversity, international collaborations, and mentorship. We encourage you to explore the list of speakers and their topics in the NUTRITION 2024 schedule planner

Although Beth’s life was tragically cut short, her contributions have left an indelible mark on the field, amounting to a lifetime’s worth of scientific knowledge. We sincerely hope this session will inspire fellow scientists to continue Beth’s legacy and further her impactful work. 

How did Beth influence you and fellow colleagues, students and others?  

Beth had high standards when it came to the quality and rigor of science.  She was meticulous, reflective, ambitious and rigorous, consistently challenging established methods. She held her students and trainees to the same high standards, providing the scaffolding, inspiration, and compassion they needed to excel.  Beth had a favorite quote about the trellis that supports a child’s growth and development. In fact, she named her lab the Trellis Lab. Like a trellis, Beth provided a supportive structure and framework to guide her many students and trainees in their budding research careers. 

Pictured: TRELLIS Lab

Beth prioritized kindness and relationships, possessing a natural gift for making everyone around her feel comfortable. Even during the final days of her illness, she continued mentoring her students, guiding them through their research plans and dissertations. 

She was uplifting and supportive, always eager to celebrate the successes of others. Those fortunate enough to have known her were undoubtedly inspired and acquired lifelong skills. 

We hope to honor her memory by embodying her supportive nature and generous spirit and, of course, carrying on her work. 

Like a vine, children need nurturing care and strong support structures to ensure their healthy growth and development to their full potential. Parents and caregivers are the gardeners that tend and nurture the vine so that it can grow and flourish. Policies and programs, from the national to community level, are the trellis that supports the vine to grow.

Elizabeth “Beth” Prado

Attend this session at NUTRITION 2024
Nutrition and Its Influence on Early Childhood Development: A Symposium Inspired by the Late Dr. Elizabeth L. Prado
Monday, July 1, 2024, 8:00 – 9:30 AM CT

NUTRITION 2024: Where the best in science & health meet

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June 29 – July 2, 2024 · McCormick Place · Chicago, IL

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