Memo from MFJ

Behind the Scenes

December 2011

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I feel a little guilty every time a new issue of Nutrition Action comes off the presses. There’s my picture and my thoughts on page 2, providing sort of a conversation (one-sided though it might be) between readers and Nutrition Action. In fact, it is my colleagues who do the great bulk of the work in putting together this publication. I thought I’d bring you backstage to meet some key, but unsung, staff members.

Next to me, Bonnie Liebman has worked at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (Nutrition Action’s publisher) longer than anyone. She joined us in 1977 after earning a master’s degree in nutrition science at Cornell University. For 30+ years, while raising three daughters, Bonnie has written most of our major articles on diet and disease, our Quick Studies page, and (with Jayne Hurley) our brand-name ratings.

Nutrition Action’s Jayne Hurley (left), David Schardt (seated), Stephen Schmidt, and Bonnie Liebman.

When we want to delve into a new topic, we often turn to David Schardt (another Cornell alumnus). He's been terrific at getting to the bottom of scientific controversies. He has written especially about dietary supplements—giving them credit when evidence supports their effectiveness, but, more often than not, skewering them because their advertising hype is based on lousy or no research. His three kids and interest in refereeing basketball and playing baseball have kept him very busy in the nearly 20 years he has written for us.

Our "food maven" since 1988 has been dietitian Jayne Hurley. She first gained fame in the 1990s when she conducted our groundbreaking studies of Chinese, Italian, and other restaurant foods, which led to our book Restaurant Confidential. That work eventually led to our campaign for the federal law that should put calories on menus and menu boards at chain restaurants next year. Jayne brings her encyclopedic knowledge of fresh, processed, and restaurant foods to our brand-name ratings, Right Stuffs, and Food Porns.

Pulling everything together is editor-in-chief Stephen Schmidt. Since 1988, he has added sparkle and humor to the publication. Though he's not a scientist, he has a knack for ensuring that articles are clear and accurate. As a proofreader and grammarian, he is unsurpassed. (Have you ever seen a typo in Nutrition Action?)

Along with those staffers, we rely on Kate Sherwood to create healthy and exquisite recipes and on Jorge Bach to expertly design and illustrate each issue. We also couldn’t do without Deane Edelman, who has ably answered readers' inquiries for 15 years, or Emily Caras and Paige Einstein, who help gather information for articles and ensure the accuracy of our brand-name ratings.

We also thank our prestigious Scientific Advisory Board and other researchers who offer their time and expertise. For us all, it’s a privilege to bring you each issue of Nutrition Action.

Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Center for Science in the Public Interest

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The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is the nonprofit health-advocacy group that publishes Nutrition Action Healthletter. CSPI mounts educational programs and presses for changes in government and corporate policies.

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