Nutrition alumna Nilofer Safdar, PhD ’12, appointed assistant professor and director of Nutritional Sciences program
In March 2013, Nutrition alumna Nilofer Safdar, PhD ’12, joined the newly opened School of Public Health at Dow University of Health Sciences in Pakistan as an Assistant Professor and Director of the Nutritional Sciences program. Located in Karachi, Dow University is one of the oldest and largest health sciences universities in Pakistan.
“This is the first university in the entire Sindh region of Pakistan where one can pursue any degree in Nutritional Sciences,” notes Safdar. “I am very excited and challenged to direct this program.”
Safdar, who attended UMass Amherst on an international Fulbright Scholarship, credits what she learned during her four years in the doctoral program in the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, to help her to “plan, develop, and direct this unique degree program in Pakistan.”
“Nutrition-related health statistics are grim, and both under-nutrition and malnutrition are highly prevalent in Pakistan,” states Safdar. “This is due not only to the lack of food and extreme poverty but also because of a lack of nutrition education experts. Currently, the School of Public Health at Dow University is in the formative stage, building the foundation of an educational institution that will ultimately run various undergraduate and graduate degree programs in various disciplines of Public Health, including Nutrition.”
“When I joined the school, I was the only one with nutrition expertise,” says Safdar, who also serves as the President of the Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetic Society. “I was charged with the primary responsibility to coordinate, plan and execute one of the first MSPH degree programs in Nutrition. I took this as an opportunity to prove and convince the higher authorities that this unique program will contribute and accelerate the popularity of Nutritional Sciences.”
In April 2013, Dr. Safdar was inducted into the UMass Amherst Rho Chapter of the Delta Omega Society, the Honorary Society of Public Health. “This award is now dearer to my heart and gives me the confidence to sensitize my professional colleagues in academia and to convince them of the importance of Nutritional Sciences as an important component in Public health programs. As Henry Ford said, ‘Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.’”
Adds Safdar, “I feel my greatest professional strength lies in my passion for Nutrition and my conviction that there is absolutely no alternative to hard work to succeed in life. Therefore, I am confident that I can make this program a success.”