by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Obituaries

Sep 19 2016

Farewell Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Rest in peace.

The International Culinary Center announced yesterday that its president and founder, Dorothy Cann Hamilton, died in a car accident.  I’ve heard that the accident was in Nova Scotia, but cannot find details.

Dorothy was a star in New York’s food world.   Her Wikipedia entry tells some of the story.

But I knew her best as someone who dreamed big and made the dreams come true.

I met her in the early days of the French Culinary Institute when we met to work out a partnership—her idea—with NYU’s newly launched food studies programs.

That worked.  So did much else.

She turned ICC into a go-to place for programs as well as culinary arts.  I was privileged to participate in those programs occasionally.

I was even more privileged to be part of her occasional Ladies Who Lunch group at L’Ecole.

I watched her handle ambassadors and dignitaries at Food Expo in Milan.  Back in New York, I saw her receive high honors from the French government.

I have no doubt the press will have much to say about all she accomplished.

To me she will always be the girl from Queens who longed for Manhattan, got there, and made many wonderful things happen.

I cannot believe she is gone.  I will miss her.

Obituaries, September 20

Jul 22 2014

Rest in Peace Mickey Stunkard

The Times’ obituary for Dr. Albert J. (“Mickey”) Stunkard, who died last week at the age of 92, describes his work on the genetics of obesity and quotes Dr. Walter Willett’s comment that genetics accounts for only a small part of the “legions of the obese.”

Stunkard was writing about the lifestyle and environmental determinants of weight gain, long before most of us had a clue.

I learned this in 2000 when Michael Jacobson and I were writing a paper on public health policy approaches to obesity prevention.[i]   We were arguing that policies aimed at preventing weight gain focused almost entirely on personal behavior but needed to focus on fixing the environment of food choice.

A peer reviewer scolded us for missing Stunkard’s work.

At last, we discovered Stunkard’s groundbreaking work.  In the published paper, we wrote:

The most notable exception [to the focus on personal responsibility] was the report of a 1977 conference organized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to review research and develop recommendations for obesity prevention and management.

In one paper, A.J. Stunkard thoroughly reviewed social and environmental influences on obesity.[ii]  As a result, the conference report included an extraordinarily broad list of proposals for federal, community, and private actions to foster dietary improvements and more active lifestyles.

These ranged from coordinated health education and model school programs to changes in regulations for grades of meat, advertising, taxes, and insurance premiums. Some of the proposals cut right to the core of the matter: “Propose that any national health insurance program…recognize obesity as a disease and include within its benefits coverage for the treatment of it.” “Make nutrition counseling reimbursable under Medicare.” And “Fund demonstration projects at the worksite.”[iii]

He was far ahead of his time and will be greatly missed.


[i] Nestle M, Jacobson MF.  Halting the obesity epidemic: A public health policy approach.  Public Health Reports 2000;115:12-24.

[ii] Stunkard AJ. Obesity and the social environment: current status, future

prospects. In: Bray GA, editor. Obesity in America. Washington:

Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (US); 1979. NIH Pub.

No.: 79-359.

[iii] Stunkard A. The social environment and the control of obesity. In:

Stunkard AJ, editor. Obesity. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 1980. p. 438-