John Courtney, Ph.D., CEO, American Society for Nutrition, answers questions from ASN student member Sabrina Sales Martinez.
Martinez: What are some new directions planned for ASN, and how will student members be involved?
Courtney: Our students are the lifeblood of our society. The ASN leadership values them and invests in their professional education and development through scholarships and awards, targeted programming, and career-development activities. ASN ensures that we are gaining student member perspectives by appointing one to each of our committees that incubate, develop, and execute new programs. We have some excellent networking opportunities planned.
How has social media benefited the association?
ASN recognized early on that if we want to engage younger members, we needed timely communication platforms. By establishing ASN as a source of accurate information, we have grown our membership by over 100 percent! Another benefit is providing last-minute news via social media. For example, this year our Scientific Sessions event occurred in Boston in the aftermath of the tragic bombing. We were able to quickly spread information and alert attendees of the changing conditions there.
What has been your most humbling experience as CEO?
ASN has rapidly transformed from a national society to the leading nutrition society in the world. Traveling to Africa, Asia, and other regions revealed to me global nutrition issues such as undernourishment. In many countries, including the United States, hidden hunger is also a huge issue. It is truly humbling to think of children who get up each morning and try to find food for day-to-day survival. Working to help these children inspires me every day.