AICR Honors Ritva Butrum, PhD

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During the lunch session on the first day of the 20th Annual AICR Research Conference on Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity, the American Institute for Cancer Research honored Dr. Ritva Butrum, who served for many years as AICR’s Vice-President for Research and is now its Senior Scientific Advisor.

At the most recent International Congress of Nutrition, the International Union of Nutritional Sciences named Dr. Butrum a Living Legend. It was only the latest honor in Dr. Butrum’s long and illustrious career. In front of the AICR Research Conference’s 410 attendees, AICR CFO/Executive Vice-President Kelly Browning gave Dr. Butrum a small gift to commemorate her many years of leadership.

Butrum and Browning

Watch a video in which Dr. Butrum talks about her career, and gives advice to young researchers.

After the jump, read a transcript of Browning’s speech honoring Dr. Butrum’s many contributions to AICR, and to the field of nutrition science.

Good afternoon. I’m Kelly Browning, Executive Vice President of AICR. Thank you all for coming to AICR’s 20th Annual Research Conference.

I’d like to take a moment to offer my personal thanks, and the thanks of the entire AICR staff, to Ritva Butrum. Recently, the International Congress of Nutrition dubbed Ritva a Living Legend, but that’s something we at AICR have known for some time.

Under Ritva’s leadership, this conference grew from an event where a few forward-thinking researchers would meet to share their work into the world’s premier forum on diet, nutrition, physical activity and cancer.  She guided AICR’s research grant program through a period of remarkable growth. Ritva Butrum is one of this organization’s most trusted advisors and truest friends.

When Ritva joined us back in 1993, the first thing that struck us was how many people she knew, and how many people knew her. But it wasn’t simply a matter of having a big rolodex – we very quickly came to learn how highly regarded she was, how warmly she was thought of by the research community.  As many of you in this room know, the force of Ritva’s personality – her warm, sunny, approachable manner – makes her a very tough lady to say no to. This was a huge asset to us back in 1993, when we were still a relatively young organization and needed all the friends we could get.

We at AICR – and many of you in this room – owe a great deal to Ritva. Her work standardizing nutrient databases helped establish the common language that today’s scientists use to talk to one another. During her tenures at USDA and at AICR, she funneled much-needed resources to areas of investigation that demanded more and better study.

But when you talk to those who’ve known Ritva the longest, they’ll tell you that she’s always been passionate about getting scientists to talk to one another.  During her time with the government, she’d go on site visits and meet with the people whose work she’d helped fund.  She would encourage them to talk others she’d met at different organizations, who were working on the same thing.

That commitment to communication is what this conference is all about.  It’s what AICR remains dedicated to, as we continue to fund research, interpret the global science, and educate the public about the results.

Thank you, Ritva, on behalf of all of us at AICR.


Author: Glen

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