Nutrition & policy experts Brown, Scrimshaw, Urban

Nutrition & policy experts Brown, Scrimshaw, Urban

Policy Responses to World Food Scarcity
February 13, 1974
Kresge Auditorium

Lester R. Brown (b. 1934) is an environmental analyst, agricultural economist, and founder of the Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute, a former nonprofit research group based in Washington, DC. He is the author of more than 40 books; perhaps his best known work are Plan 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and A Civilization in Trouble.

Brown started his career as a farmer in southern New Jersey with his younger brother during high school and college. Shortly after earning a degree in agricultural science from Rutgers University in 1955, he spent six months living in rural India where he became familiar with the food and population issue. In 1959, Brown joined the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service as an international agricultural analyst.

Brown earned master’s degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Maryland and in public administration from Harvard. In 1964, he became an adviser to Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman on foreign agricultural policy. In 1966, the Secretary appointed him Administrator of the department’s International Agricultural Development Service. In early 1969, he left government to help establish the Overseas Development Council.

Brown was named a 1986 MacArthur Fellow and was described by the Washington Post as, “one of the world’s most influential thinkers.”

Nevin Scrimshaw (1918–2013) was a food scientist and Institute Professor at MIT. Among his many accomplishments are his work in fighting protein, iodine and iron deficiencies, developing nutritional supplements, educating generations of experts, and building support for continued advances in food quality, all of which have made substantial improvements in the lives of millions throughout the world. Professor Scrimshaw earned a doctorate in physiology from Harvard University in 1941 and a medical degree from the University of Rochester four years later. His contributions to human nutrition began during his medical training with his studies of nutrition and pregnancy in Panama. In recognition of this work, Professor Scrimshaw was asked to establish and lead the Institute of Nutrition of Central American and Panama (INCAP) in Guatemala.

Professor Scrimshaw came to MIT in 1961 as professor of human nutrition and head of a new Department of Nutrition and Food Science. In 1976, he established the International Food and Nutrition Planning Program at MIT, which provided training in nutrition research for scientists in developing countries. In 1980, as Institute Professor, he began research on the functional consequences of iron deficiency and developed methods for getting iron into the diets of people in underdeveloped countries. He remained for many years one of the principal advisors to international and national organizations in the field of food and nutrition, retiring from MIT in 1988.

Glen Urban (b. 1940), now professor emeritus, has been a member of the MIT Sloan School of Management faculty since 1966, serving as dean from 1993 to 1998. Professor Urban is a leading educator, prize-winning researcher specializing in marketing and new product development, entrepreneur, and author.

Professor Urban is credited with launching the field of “trust-based” marketing. He has also published more than 30 articles on pre-market forecasting of new products, test marketing, product line planning, leading-edge users in new product development, and consumer budgeting. His papers have won several prestigious awards, including two O’Dells—in 1983 and 1986—for the best papers published in marketing research in MIT Sloan Management Review. In 1996 he received the American Marketing Association Paul D. Converse Award for outstanding contributions to the development of the science of marketing, and the Journal of Marketing award for best paper in that year. In 1999 he was winner of the American Marketing Association and The Wharton School’s Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for recognition of a body of work in marketing research. In 2000 he presented the Wroe Alderson Lecture at the Wharton School.

Trained initially in engineering and business, Professor Urban earned a BS in mechanical engineering in 1963 and an MBA in 1964, both from the University of Wisconsin. He went on to earn a PhD in marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 1966.