A Message from the Chair

Deborah O'Connor, PhD, RD
Chair and Earle W. McHenry Professor
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Photo of Department of Nutritional Sciences Chair, Deborah O'Connor

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the Department of Nutritional Sciences. As I write this Chair’s message, we are entering Year 2 of the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic. With new shipments of vaccines being delivered and expansion of criteria of those being vaccinated, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel. In-person human research has been severely impacted this past year in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, however, faculty, staff and students who need to be on-site to conduct their research have been back in the laboratories since last summer, albeit with capacity restrictions. Of the 15 undergraduate and 10 graduate courses the Department of Nutritional Sciences offers, all are currently on-line. While members of the Department have gone above and beyond carrying out our research mission and providing high quality education to our students, we all very much look forward to a gradual and safe return to in-person activities. There is growing optimism we will begin to see more of each other this coming Fall as public health guidance permits.

Despite the pandemic, we successfully completed a new Strategic Plan 2021-2026 for the Department of Nutritional Sciences. I would personally like to thank all those who served as members on the Strategic Plan Steering Committee, members on one of four working groups, participated in one-on-one interviews and all faculty, external reviewers, staff, and students who provided feedback to drafts of the plan. This plan represents continuity with our department’s rich history of success and impact and is a commitment to, over the next five years, improving nutritional health across the life-cycle and striving for equity—locally and globally—through collaborative research, contributions to policy and practice, and teaching that covers the spectrum from –omics to population health. To focus our efforts, we have established “initial priorities” and have introduced a new leadership model within the Department. Over the coming weeks you will see changes to the website highlighting this and other plans. In the meantime, you can find a link to our new 2021-2026 Strategic Plan on this landing page.