Dr. Kelly Tappenden to Receive ASPEN Champion Award

Kelly A. Tappenden, PhD, RD, FASPEN

The ASPEN Board of Directors is pleased and honored to announce that Kelly A. Tappenden, PhD, RD, FASPEN, has been selected to receive the 2023 ASPEN Champion Award in recognition of her significant and sustained contributions to the association.

Dr. Tappenden is a professor and the head of the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois Chicago. She will receive the Champion Award at the ASPEN 2023 Nutrition Science & Practice Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Thursday, April 20. The awards ceremony will also be streamed.

As a longtime ASPEN member, Dr. Tappenden has served on more than 20 committees and the board of directors. She took the helm as ASPEN’s 33rd president in 2008. Two years later, she was named editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (JPEN), a position she held for an unprecedented 12 years.

“It is impossible to summarize the countless and diverse ways we have benefited from Dr. Tappenden’s commitment and dedication to ASPEN, nutrition research, training, and mentoring other than to say she has been a true guiding force,” said ASPEN President Ryan T. Hurt, MD, PhD.

“As ASPEN president, Dr. Tappenden championed the integration of nutrition research into evidence-based clinical practice. She has worked tirelessly to bring clinicians and researchers together in relevant conversations. And during her trailblazing term as JPEN’s editor-in-chief, she furthered this work by conducting probing podcast interviews with JPEN’s authors.”

“Dr. Tappenden embodies what it means to be a leader in the field of clinical nutrition and nutrition support. With enthusiasm, passion and unwavering commitment to science and mentorship, she fosters innovation and pushes students, trainees, and colleagues toward new discovery, challenging us all to exceed our own expectations,” said former ASPEN and ASPEN Rhoads Research President, Marion Winkler, PhD, RD. “As president of both ASPEN and the Foundation, and in her role as JPEN editor, Dr. Tappenden emphasizes the central role research has in our Society and as the basis of clinical practice.”

A native Canadian, Dr. Tappenden received her BS in food and nutrition and PhD in nutrition and metabolism at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She joined the faculty at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as an assistant professor of nutrition in 1997 after a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas, Houston Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Tappenden has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and has been invited to deliver more than 400 lectures. She has received numerous awards for her research on intestinal failure, mechanisms of intestinal adaptation, and patient malnutrition. Many graduate students have completed their thesis research in her laboratory.

In addition to being selected for ASPEN’s Harry M. Vars Award and Dudrick Research Scholar Award, Dr. Tappenden is a three-time recipient of ASPEN’s Dietitian Research Award. She speaks of meeting ASPEN founding fathers, Drs. Jonathan Rhoads and Stanley Dudrick in 1996, when accepting her first ASPEN award. She remembers Dr. Dudrick telling her that her research efforts were very important and needed. “His confidence and encouragement meant a great deal to me that day and have continued to bolster my determination and commitment over the years,” she says.

Dr. Tappenden’s distinguished, long-standing, and multilayered involvement in ASPEN—as the recipient of multiple research awards; a member of the first class of ASPEN fellows; editor-in-chief of JPEN; and ASPEN president, elected officer of the Rhoads Research Foundation, and board of directors, committee, and task force member—is exceptional.

Please join us in congratulating and thanking Dr. Tappenden during the ASPEN 2023 Nutrition Science & Practice Conference in Las Vegas or virtually on the ASPEN23 conference site.