The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy is housed in the Program in Nutrition at Teachers College Columbia University. The Program in Nutrition, founded in 1909 by Mary Swartz Rose, PhD, is the oldest university based nutrition program in the country, and established the field of nutrition education. The Program has always had a broad, inclusive focus on food and nutrition issues and has been on the forefront of the field by conducting cutting edge research, and promoting policies and practices that support a food system that maintains ecological sustainability and personal health. Joan Gussow, EdD, who was chair of the Program from 1975-1985 added the focus of food system sustainability and continues to emphasize this important aspect in her life-transformative course Nutritional Ecology, which she co-instructs with Pam Koch, EdD, RD. Isobel Contento, PhD, CDN, chair of the Program since 1985, added a focus of behavioral nutrition to the Program that promotes nutrition education to increase awareness, inspiration, skills, knowledge, and environmental supports.
Today, Dr. Pam Koch and the Tisch Food Center’s faculty, staff, and students build on the strong foundation laid by Drs. Swartz Rose, Gussow, and Contento to work at the intersection of food systems, nutrition education, and public health. The Center was initiated in 2006 as the Center for Food & Environment. In 2013 the Center was renamed to recognize a generous gift from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund as part of the Fund’s Healthy Food & Community Change initiative, and to highlight the Center’s new focus on policy.