Alison Brown, PhD, RDN 

Program Director, Nutrition and Health Disparities

Job Icon

National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Division of Cardiovascular Sciences (DCVS)

What has had the greatest impact on your career path in nutrition?   

Before entering the nutrition profession, I was originally interested in pursuing a career in bariatric medicine given my childhood experiences and watching my mother’s ongoing struggle with obesity. It wasn’t until I completed the NIH-funded Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Program in The Gambia, West Africa where my perspective shifted. During this summer internship, I conducted research exploring the seasonality of malnutrition in infants. This experience exposed me to the wide-range of diseases and health conditions that are impacted by proper nutrition—from malnutrition, wasting and stunting on one end of the spectrum to overnutrition and issues of non-communicable, chronic diseases on the other. I thereafter changed my mind set to wanting to be a part of the solution to prevent diseases instead of treating and managing them in the traditional healthcare system. If it wasn’t for this formative experience after college (along with amazingly supportive mentors along the way!), I surely would not have landed where I am today.