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Elizabeth Chinwe Okeke

Elizabeth Chinwe Okeke 130x180Elizabeth Chinwe Okeke died in July 2012. Her profile will remain posted here.

I was born in a low-income country in a rural village. I therefore experienced some measure of poverty and all its ramifications. I also lived at a time of civil war and so I saw children and mothers die. This experience has not left me. I wished we could turn the hands of the clock back, but it was not possible.

My journey started over 33 years ago in the hilly, serene and idyllic community of Nsukka in Enugu state, where I obtained my DPhil degree from the University of Nigeria. My interest in the lives of indigent and malnourished people in Nsukka prompted me into the practice of community and public health nutrition. I started being committed to it in 1976, when I entered Columbia University, New York, to do my Masters degree in community nutrition and public health. I graduated in October 1977.

Since then I have had a serious commitment to public health nutrition, because I came back to my country to meet what I left. I came back in 1978 and since then I have done work in the area. Upon coming back from the United States in 1978; I worked and toured all the health centres in the rural communities of the Nsukka local government area. My philosophy is to see how we can use our traditional foods to improve the nutrition and health of the indigenous groups in our communities. I am happily married to CE Okeke, professor of solid state physics and renewable energy, with children – and many grand children.

Nigerian citizen, Professor of community and public health nutrition, department of home science, nutrition & dietetics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in Enugu State. I am currently working on indigenous peoples food systems for health promotion – Igbo case study 2009. This is an international case study, sponsored by CIHR, CINE, McGill Canada.

Awarded British Council fellowship at the University of London. Also awarded certificate of membership as a foundation member of the United Nations University institute for natural resources in Africa. The first PhD student I supervised got the vice-chancellor’s postgraduate award. Member of the New York Academy of Sciences. I have also served as principal investigator for several projects with the United Nations, and McGill University, Canada. Have been awarded the distinguished academic Noble international award.

Fellow, Nutrition Society of Nigeria. I have served as vice president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, and as member of Council. I have been an external examiner within and outside Nigeria for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Am a member of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences task force on indigenous food systems since 2004. Am a member of over ten learned societies both nationally and internationally.

I have supervised over 100 undergraduate projects in various topics in nutrition with emphasis on community and public health nutrition, traditional foods and child nutrition. I have also graduated over 22 post graduate students, and over 20 postgraduate students are under my supervision right now. I have published over 60 journal articles in national and international journals. I have attended and presented over 90 papers. To mention a few presentations: at the International Congres of Nutrition (International Union of Nutritional Sciences), the Federation of African Nutritional Sciences, the International Nutritional Anemia Consultative Group and the International Vitamin A Consultative Group, the Micronutrient Forum, the African Nutritional Epidemiological Conference, and the International Conference on Dietary Activity Methods.