Each year the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) awards the Helen Denning Ullrich Award for Lifetime Excellence in Nutrition Education to one professional in the nutrition education field who has made outstanding accomplishments throughout their career. This year the Society is pleased to present the award to Linda Bobroff Ph.D., RD, for her impressive contributions to the field of nutrition education taught through Cooperative Extension. Dr. Bobroff will receive this honor virtually during the 2020 SNEB Annual Conference, July 20 – 24.
Dr. Bobroff retired from the University of Florida at the end of 2018 after 33 years as a distinguished Extension Nutrition Specialist. During this time, she amassed a record number of achievements working in all areas of the three-fold mission of a land-grant university: teaching, research, and Extension.
Offering advice for early career nutrition educators, Dr. Bobroff writes, “First I want to congratulate those of you who are beginning a career in nutrition education, whatever the focus of your work will be. It is a career that can be extremely rewarding, as well as challenging and exhausting if you are doing it right! There are so many opportunities in this field that it can be difficult to focus, and that is my first piece of advice: find an area of practice and/or research that you are passionate about and develop that component of your career over time. I also suggest that you identify partners/collaborators, especially early in your career, who can act as mentors as you develop your research and/or practice program.
Continue to develop these relationships over the long term, as they can be rewarding, enriching, and mutually beneficial. I have always found being generous with my ideas, my time, and my energy to be worth the effort, with the right collaborators, so choose wisely. Over more than three decades, the most rewarding part of my job was working closely with colleagues on challenging projects and reaping the fruits of those efforts together, as grants awarded, programs developed, people’s lives changed, papers published, awards received, and much more. Over time, mentoring less experienced faculty and staff, as well as graduate students, to help them achieve their goals, became a primary focus of my career, and I encourage you to move toward that goal. Finally, find your professional home.”
While Dr. Bobroff did not have a formal teaching appointment, she served on over 45 MS and Ph.D. committees from several departments across four colleges and chaired committees for over 20 Master of Science-Dietetic Internship students. Her teaching colleagues recognized her expertise in dietary guidance and curriculum development and asked her to provide guest lectures in several classes.
With a 100% Extension appointment, Dr. Bobroff’s career was dedicated to supporting county Extension faculty by writing educational curricula. She headed an Extension program that focused on health through the lifecycle as well as the prevention and managementof chronic diseases. Her partnership with county faculty led to the creation of many programs including:
- Take Charge of Your Diabetes (TCYD)- The program has received national recognition with the Program of Excellence through Research Award from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences in 2005. Dr. Bobroff also led a team of educators to Antigua to train health care professionals on diabetes management showing the international impact this curriculum has had on health.
- Elder Nutrition and Food Safety Program (ENAFS) – In 2008, Dr. Bobroff received the Award of Excellence Honorable Mention from the Nutrition Education for the Public Dietetics Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
In addition to educational curricula, Dr. Bobroff has published over 300 publications on EDIS – the Electronic Data Information Source, which is an online platform for UF/IFAS Extension publications. Each publication is peer-reviewed and must be reviewed and revised as needed every three years. She has provided content for a variety of other online platforms such as eXtension.org, UF/IFAS blogs, YouTube videos, and newsletters. Her expertise has also been recognized across Florida and nationally through presentations at local, state, regional, and national conferences. She has received numerous Extension-related awards such as the FEAFCS Outstanding Specialist on two different occasions as well as the SNEB Mid-Career Achievement Award and Distinguished Dietitian award from the (then) Florida Dietetic Association
Dr. Bobroff has been a member of SNEB since 1986. During this time, she attended every annual meeting and served the Society in a variety of roles including Member at Large on the Board of Directors, member and chair of the Membership Committee and member of the Nominating Committee. Dr. Bobroff also served as chair of the Healthy Aging and Food and Nutrition Extension Education Divisions. In addition to these official positions, Dr. Bobroff is a strong advocate for SNEB, sharing the SNEB mission and recruiting new members. Her love of the Society is evident as it has been her main professional association since her career began.
She reflects, “SNE, later SNEB, has been my primary professional home since 1986, when my Extension colleague Glenda Warren said, ‘You have to join SNE,’ and I did. I attended my first conference that summer, less than a year after I started my position at the University of Florida, and I have not missed a conference since then. SNE/SNEB gave me opportunities to meet colleagues who were in both similar and vastly different professional positions, all of whom I learned from and shared ideas/ collaborated with over the years. The annual conference provided information, inspiration, professional relationships, a platform to present my work, and opportunities to contribute as a committee member/chair, Division leader, and member of the Board of Directors.
In all of these activities, I was supported and encouraged by my more seasoned colleagues, and over the years I had numerous opportunities to encourage up and coming nutrition educators to join SNEB and become leaders themselves. The Journal is a great outlet for presenting research and practice papers, and in recent years Webinars have provided research and practice updates throughout the year. I encourage all new SNEB members to find your home Division(s) as well as Committees that interest you and begin to volunteer and move toward leadership in this great organization.”
The Helen Denning Ullrich Annual Award recognizes a seasoned professional who has been working in the field for at least 20 years and has been a member of SNEB for 10 years. They also must have made an outstanding achievement in the world of nutrition education, such as teaching, policymaking, nutrition promotion, or a variety of other areas. The recipient must be a very active member of the Society and excel through it.