Keynote & Expert Panel

Keynote Speaker

We are pleased to announce that Helena Bottemiller Evich, senior food and agriculture reporter at POLITICO, will be delivering the keynote address this year. The title of her talk is “Nutrition Policy in the Trump Era and Beyond.”

Before joining POLITICO, Helena spent four years reporting on food politics and policy at Food Safety News, where she covered Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Helena’s work has also appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review and on NBC News. Her reporting has taken her to the Louisiana coast during the Gulf oil spill, Arizona lettuce fields, North Carolina hog farms and the occasional presidential turkey pardoning.

A native of Washington state and an alumna of Claremont McKenna College, she now lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband.


Expert Panelists

This year’s panel discussion will consider the future of the food and nutrition agenda, with a special emphasis on the importance and relevance of evidence in multisectoral work. The discussion will feature a terrific panel of experts with diverse backgrounds.

Julian Agyeman Ph.D. FRSA FRGS is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, USA. He is the originator of the concept of ‘just sustainabilities,‘ the full integration of social justice and sustainability.

As an ecologist/biogeographer turned environmental social scientist, he has both a science and social science background which helps frame his perspectives, research and scholarship. He thrives at the borders and intersections of a wide range of knowledges, disciplines and methodologies which he utilizes in creative and original ways in his research.


Sylvia Rowe is currently president of SR Strategy, which addresses the science to communications to policy continuum on a broad range of global health, nutrition, food safety and risk issues.  She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Previously, Rowe served as president and chief executive officer of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and IFIC Foundation, in Washington, DC. Under her leadership, national public-private partnerships and coalitions between IFIC and preeminent government agencies and health organizations committed to developing science-based communications and programs.
Rowe’s background in media and expertise in issues management are reflected in her professional history as a producer and on-air host of several television and radio talk shows covering social, political, and economic and consumer issues.  She also previously held positions in public relations, marketing, and membership development for several diverse associations.


Richard Black has worked in the field of Nutrition for over 25 years, bridging science and marketing to develop compelling and captivating consumer products and messages. With a Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology from McMaster University, Canada, he has had roles of increasing responsibility and impact in the food industry, most recently as the VP of Global R&D Nutrition Sciences PepsiCo. Richard began his career as an Assist. Professor in Nutrition Sciences at the University of Toronto, and subsequently worked for The Kellogg Company, Nestlé, Novartis, the International Life Sciences Institute North America, Kraft Foods Global, and Mondelēz International. Recently appointed as an Adjunct Professor of the Practice at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Richard has authored or co-authored over 50 scientific articles and book chapters. In 2014 the United States Department of Agriculture awarded Richard the John A Milner Lectureship, “In recognition of outstanding contributions to nutrition science,” and in 2012 the Institute of Food Technologists awarded him the Babcock-Hart Award. Richard is a Principal of Quadrant D Consulting, and Executive Partner, R&D CPG, at Pilot Lite Ventures, and Chief Scientific Officer of Care4ward, a Boston based startup seeking to improve the nutritional health of people undergoing chemo or radiation therapy for cancer.


Anne McHugh is the Director of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Division at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), the City of Boston’s health department.  Anne has many years experience in healthcare administration and community public health.  At BPHC, she has directed five major grants from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address obesity and chronic disease prevention in Boston.  Anne holds a BA from Harvard College and an MS in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.





Parke Wilde is a food economist at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Previously, he worked USDA’s Economic Research Service. He received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Cornell University. At Tufts, Parke teaches graduate-level courses in statistics and U.S. food policy. His research addresses food security and hunger measurement, the economics of food assistance programs, and federal dietary guidance policy. He has been a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Food Forum and a member of the research committee advising AGree, a national food policy initiative, and currently is on the scientific and technical advisory committee for Menus of Change, an initiative to advance the health and sustainability of the restaurant industry. Parke keeps a blog at and has a book from Routledge/Earthscan in 2013, titled Food Policy in the United States: An Introduction. Beginning in 2016, he directs a grants program for research on nutrition assistance, titled Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE).


Past Keynote Speakers and Panelists

In 2015, Ms. Angela Tagtow, Executive Director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, served as our keynote speaker. The title of her talk was “Nutrition Policy at a Crossroads: Application and Evolution of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans increasingly influence all sectors of society. Ms. Tagtow shared how the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion works in cooperation with Health and Human Services to develop the document and the multifaceted approaches used to implement policy across the food system.

In 2015, the conference also featured a panel discussion focused on “Sustainable Diets and the Implications for Dietary Guidance in the United States”. Featured panelists were:

  • Dr. Miriam Nelson: Member of the 2015 DGAC and chair of the Food Sustainability and Safety Sub-Committee
  • Dr. Andrew Rosenberg: Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Skye Cornell: VP of Programs at Wholesome Wave