Cathy Kapica, PhD

Cathy KapicaDr. Cathy Kapica is a public health expert, food and nutrition scientist, and licensed health professional (RD), with over 25 years of experience providing strategic insights and effective tactics that support both public health and profitability for the food industry. She is adept at bridging the gap between the academic and policy worlds with business needs. Her current position as CEO of The Awegrin Institute, a public health think tank, applies these skills to vital issues.  As Senior Vice President of Global Health & Wellness at Ketchum, she helped multi-national and domestic food makers, commodity groups health think tank, applies these skills to vital issues.  As Senior Vice President of Global Health & Wellness at Ketchum, she helped multi-and organizations achieve business goals using science-based yet consumer-friendly approaches. As the first Global Director of Nutrition at McDonald’s, she led their nutrition effort worldwide, working closely with a multidisciplinary team to develop and promote health and wellness initiatives in 118 countries. At the Quaker Oats Company she developed and implemented science-based programs to promote the health benefits of whole grain oatmeal and breakfast to health professionals and consumers.

Her academic career includes a current appointment as adjunct nutrition faculty at Tufts University, and prior faculty positions at The Chicago Medical School and the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. She is an experienced media spokesperson and international presenter. Her extensive knowledge of health professional organizations began when she worked at the American Medical Association promoting nutrition in medical education.

Dr. Kapica is active in several professional organizations, including the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Society for Nutrition, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her key areas of strength include: up-to-date knowledge of global nutrition and health issues; situation analysis and identification of effective solutions; and influencer relations. She is a sought-after resource for scientific advisory boards. As the current CEO of the non-profit Awegrin Institute, she is using a global perspective to tackle some of the tough issues facing the world today, in particular, the use of ideology over evidence when it comes to food, nutrition and policy.

What do you feel you can contribute to the growth and advancement of IFT?
My contributions offer a unique perspective that includes both academic and industry insights, knowledge of consumer behavior, communications expertise, global experience and a familiarity with the workings of IFT.

What are the three most important strategic issues facing the profession and the industry that align with IFT’s goals and how would you address these as a member of the Board of Directors?

  • Food science as a recognized profession which supports public health goals
  • ’Processed’ food as perceived cause of ill health
  • The credibility and trustworthiness of members employed by for-profit entities

These issues need to be prioritized and collaborative efforts taken to achieve success. IFT has already begun this journey. My role on the Board would be support, refine, and seek continuous improvement on efforts based on feedback and evaluation.

Why do you want to serve on the Board of Directors and how has your work and volunteer experiences prepared you to be a strategic board member?
I have been involved in the Annual Meeting Scientific Program, as well as the Wellness programs for many years. In my career, I am valued for bringing a strategic perspective, as well as insights on tactics to achieve those goals. And, I have previous experience working on Boards (both scientific and local government [public library]). I can bring valued input to issues being faced by food science today, as well as a global perspective.

What defines a successful board and how would you contribute?
A successful board delivers diverse views and expertise coming together to support a common goal.

Formal Education 
PhD, Public Health, University of Illinois
CFCS, Certified in Family & Consumer Science, Am Academy of Family & Consumer Science
RD, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, formerly Am Dietetic Assn
MS, Clinical Nutrition, Rush University
BS, Biology/Chemistry, Loyola University

Career History

The Awegrin Institute CEO 2012-present
Ketchum Senior Vice President 2007- 2012
McDonalds Corporation Director, Global Nutrition 2003-2006
Quaker Oats Senior Scientist; Director, Nutrition Education 1999-2003
The Chicago Medical School Assistant Professor 1994-1999

Leadership Experience

  • IFT Food, Health & Wellness Advisory Panel 2012-2013
  • IFT Education Advisory Panel 2012-2012
  • IFT AMSPAP 2012 Chair 2011-2012
  • Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Food and Beverage Tax Workgroup 2011-2012
  • IFT Food & Nutrition Subpanel Chair 2010-2011
  • Am Society for Nutrition Public Information Committee 2010-2013
  • IFT Nutrition Division Executive Committee 2009-2012
  • IFT Wellness 08 Program Committee 2007-2008
  • Am Heart Assn Industry Nutrition Advisory Panel Chair 2002-2004
  • Am Dietetic Assn National Media Spokesperson 1996-1999