AMES, Iowa – An Iowa State University Distinguished Professor of statistics, whose work has advanced the understanding of nutrition and dietary assessment, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
Alicia Carriquiry is one of two Iowa State faculty among the 70 new members and nine international members the academy announced on Monday. During her 26-year career, Carriquiry has developed statistical methods to better measure food consumption, specifically, nutrient intake. Her work has also focused on mental health issues, which includes leading an ongoing effort by NAM to evaluate Veterans Affairs mental health services. Carriquiry says she was stunned to be recognized by the academy for her contributions to the field.
“I’m so honored, flattered and humbled. It’s very rewarding,” Carriquiry said. “In life you have successes and failures, and to receive a recognition like this makes you realize that all the hard work throughout your career was worth it.”
Carriquiry and James Roth, a Distinguished Professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine at Iowa State, were both selected for induction. Iowa State President Steven Leath says this is one of the highest honors researchers can receive.
“To have two Iowa State faculty elected to the National Academy of Medicine is an outstanding achievement. It is a well-deserved recognition of Dr. Carriquiry’s and Dr. Roth’s commitment to service and advancing research in their fields,” Leath said.
Carriquiry has worked with various government and health agencies around the world to improve health and nutrition. She says nutrient and food consumption data is often collected over a period of a few days. Since our diet varies daily, it is challenging for statisticians to develop models that can make long-term health recommendations. Carriquiry says finding ways to overcome those statistical challenges is important for creating effective policy and programs.
“It’s work that has a very direct impact on the well-being of various populations,” Carriquiry said. “For example, low vitamin A levels are associated with high incidence of night blindness, which affects many people in the developing world. We want to identify those needs so that we can do something about it, and with this data we can target assistance, education and supplementation programs.”
Carriquiry joined the Iowa State faculty in 1990, and leads the National Institute of Standards and Technology Forensic Science Center of Excellence based at Iowa State. She served as associate provost from 2000 to 2004. Carriquiry is also an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.
Carriquiry and Roth join two previous ISU selections to the National Academy of Medicine: Catherine Woteki, former dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who was inducted in 1998; and Diane Birt, a Distinguished Professor of food science and human nutrition inducted in 2015.
About the National Academy of Medicine
The National Academy of Medicine, formerly known as the Institute of Medicine, addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine and related policy. NAM works alongside the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions.
The academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering and medicine. With their election, members make a commitment to volunteer their service in the academies’ activities.