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TV has the Emmy Awards, movies have the Oscar’s, Broadway, the Tony’s and music, the Grammy’s. But, in Oldways’ world of food and nutrition, there are other honors and accolades, including two recent awards, which both recognize the contribution of Oldways’ founder, K. Dun Gifford

On June 17, 2016, at a new event in Boston’s food scene, The Readable Feast, Frances Moore Lappé received the inaugural K. Dun Gifford Local Hero Award. The organizers of The Readable Feast, Annie Copps and Louisa Kasdon, recognized Dun’s contributions to New England and beyond, and created the K. Dun Gifford Local Hero Award. This award honors “a New Englander who through some medium of food (author, writer, educator, chef, grower, producer, activist, nutritionist) has positively affected our local food ways.”

Frances Moore Lappé is a true visionary, pioneer and hero – both locally and globally. More than forty years ago, Lappé revolutionized the way Americans think about food and hunger with the publication of Diet for a Small Planet in 1971. It was the first major book to note the environmental impact of food production and offer solutions, and it’s a classic reference for people who follow a plant-based diet.

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Since then, Lappé’s written and co-authored 17 more books about world hunger, living democracy and the environment. With her daughter, Anna, she founded the Small Planet Institute, a nonprofit which focuses on evidence based solutions to hunger, democracy, and other global issues.

This is certainly not her first award — but we hope this one is as meaningful for her as it is for Oldways. As a huge admirer of Frances and the impact her books and work have made, Dun would have been thrilled to know Frances was the first awardee of an award with his name.

And, similarly, Dun would be so very pleased to know he himself had won an award in the name of a world-class nutrition expert, epidemiologist and friend — Dimitros Trichopoulos.

Dimitrios was a towering figure in the world of nutrition and epidemiology.  When he died on December 1, 2014, the Harvard School of Public Health wrote the following. 

“Dimitrios was an outstanding scientist and teacher for more than four decades in the field of cancer epidemiology and prevention. He published more than 1,000 scientific papers, continually staking out scientific frontiers—from seminal research linking secondhand smoke from cigarettes with an increased risk of lung cancer, and hepatitis B virus and tobacco smoking to an increased risk of primary liver cancer, to findings documenting that surgically induced and early natural menopause reduced breast cancer risk.

A native of Greece, Dimitrios studied at the University of Athens Medical School, where he earned an M.D. in 1963 and a Ph.D. in 1971. He earned a S.M. at Harvard School of Public Health in 1968 and held several teaching appointments at the School over the next two decades (lecturer, 1969–1970; visiting professor, 1981–1985; adjunct, 1988–1989).  Dimitrios was appointed a full professor in the Department of Epidemiology in 1989. He took on the role of chair that same year, serving until 1996.”

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This is when Oldways and Dun were fortunate enough to cross paths with Dimitrios.  In the early 1990s, just after Oldways was founded and we were working on the first International Conference on the Diets of the Mediterranean (to be held in January 1993 in Cambridge, MA), we forged an agreement with the Harvard School of Public Health to co-organize the Conference.  We worked with Dimitrios, and also Walter Willett, Marion Nestle from NYU, Elisabet Helsing from WHO, and Dimitros’ wife, Antonia Trichopoulou from the University of Athens Medical School, on the organization of the Conference, and the development of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.

Over the years, at almost every Mediterranean Diet Conference Oldways organized, Dimitrios and Antonia have been important speakers.  In addition to their groundbreaking research on the Mediterranean Diet, as Greeks they have always been passionate about the healthfulness and the cultural heritage of a traditional Mediterranean Diet. 

Fast forward to July 2016, when Oldways President Sara Baer-Sinnott was invited to speak at a Mediterranean Diet Conference in Milan, organized by the International Foundation for the Mediterranean Diet (IFMED).  IFMED was founded by an old friend of Oldways, Spanish scientist Llluis Serra Majem, and Sandro Dernini, an FAO expert; Antonia is the Honorary Chairperson. 

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At the start of the third and final day, Lluis and Antonia made a surprise, special announcement – that the very first Dimitrios Trichopoulos Award for the promotion of the Mediterranean Diet was awarded to Dun Gifford, in memoriam. In presenting the award, Lluis said, “we might not be meeting today about the Mediterranean Diet without the work of Dun and Oldways in promoting the benefits of following a Mediterranean Diet.”

At Oldways we are very proud. We are sure Dun would be smiling.

Sara Baer-Sinnott, President


Mary and Bud Enright
Dun will always be with us. And thanks to you, Sara, for moving his journey along in such a dynamic way. OXXOXO

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