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UAB recognizes clinical nutrition pioneer Weinsier

Roland Weinsier Portrait UnveiledRoland Weinsier Portrait UnveiledRoland L. Weinsier, M.D., Dr.PH., who founded EatRight by UAB and authored the groundbreaking Handbook of Clinical Nutrition, was honored by the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a portrait unveiling on Friday, April 25, 2014.

Weinsier, who was professor and chair of the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences from 1988 to 1999, guided the department to a peak #2 ranking in U.S. News & World Report and then went on to direct the UAB Clinical Nutrition Research Center.

David Allison, Ph.D., distinguished professor and director of the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center, was recruited and mentored by Weinsier. He initially thought there should be a Weinsier Building.

David Allison, Ph.D., director, UAB NORCDavid Allison, Ph.D., director, UAB NORC“But in fact, towers of steel and glass don’t last – they will all be dust eventually,” said Allison, associate dean for science in the UAB School of Public Health. “Nothing lasts except the ideas and the love we pass on to others and they in turn pass on to others and we see that in Roland here.”

The portrait unveiling, hosted in the Susan Mott Webb Nutrition Sciences Building, was well attended by family, friends and former colleagues of Weinsier who passed away in 2002.

“I could tell you about Roland as a scientist and a leader and a mentor or I could tell you how many hundreds of publications he had or millions of dollars in grants he had,” said Allison. “However, this here is deeds. The very fact that we are here is the most powerful thing that I can point out about his legacy. These deeds tell you how people felt about Roland and that he is still here and his presence is still being felt.”

As a clinician, Weinsier was named to the list of Best Doctors in America in 1994, 1998 and 1999. In 1995 he earned the Dannon Institute Award for Excellence in Nutrition Education which is now named in Weinsier’s honor. He authored texts for health professionals like Fundamentals of Clinical Nutrition and the world renowned Handbook of Clinical Nutrition.

In 1975, Weinsier designed a weight loss plan that focused on volume rather than calories for a friend’s wife. When he arrived at UAB he investigated and updated his plan and that led to the formation of EatRight by UAB – one of the most successful weight management programs in the U.S.

“We are proud to honor Dr. Weinsier and the legacy he has established for his department, our school and the entire area of clinical nutrition in the practice of medicine,” said Harold P. Jones, Ph.D., dean of the UAB School of Health Professions which houses the nutrition sciences department.

Weinsier FamilyWeinsier FamilyWe recorded the entire ceremony and posted the video to YouTube (http://youtu.be/DO7z5WxTNR0). Weinsier's son David tells great, funny stories about his father including his love of growing things, “like an eggplant, squash and cantaloupe mutation,” of building things “all by hand” and of fixing things like their 25-year-old clothes dryer much to their “mom’s great dismay.”

The inscription on Dr. Weinsier’s plaque reads:

“Weinsier was a devoted physician who championed excellence in scientific research, patient care and improvements to medical nutrition education. He was a humble leader and caring mentor.”

If you would like to see his portrait please visit the lobby of the Susan Mott Webb Nutrition Sciences Building located at 1675 University Blvd. on the UAB campus.