George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award

The 2022 award cycle is now closed.
Application deadline: July 7, 2021

The ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation awards the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award. This award recognizes nutrition leaders for their achievements as outstanding research mentors. Named in honor of Dr. George Blackburn, this award celebrates his commitment and generosity to the ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation and honors his academic and research mentorship.

Recipients will be awarded each year during a Foundation event at the ASPEN Nutrition Science & Practice Conference


  • The nominee must be at least 10 years into his/her research and/or academic career.
  • The nominee's research focus should relate to clinical nutrition, metabolism, and/or nutrition support.
  • The nominee must be a member of ASPEN.
  • The nominee must be an effective mentor.

Application Information

George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award Instructions

  • To nominate a colleague, please submit submit a letter of recommendation to ASPEN staff, who will then contact the nominee for an application.
  • To nominate yourself, please complete the online application.

Candidates must complete the online application and include the following materials:

  1. Two nominations or supporting letters outlining the nominee's research mentoring activities. Letters should describe the following qualities that make the nominee an outstanding research mentor:
    • Highlight research accomplishments
    • How the mentor has actively encouraged inquiry, innovation, and created opportunities for trainees to conduct research.
    • How the mentor has supported and influenced trainees’ educational and career paths (presentation and publication opportunities, planning for continued research and/or graduate studies, further academic positions).
    • Provide examples of inspiration, encouragement, or challenge as well as any other attributes or actions that make this mentor truly exceptional.
  2. Nominee’s curriculum vitae.
  3. Completed evaluation forms of at least two mentees of the nominee. (Please do not include mentee CVs and make sure that the mentees completing evaluations are different from those providing nominating or supporting letters.)
  4. Complete list of past and present mentees with their topics of research, current status, and any progress made in the development of their research career.
Current ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation Board members and the ASPEN President are ineligible during their active terms. 


    Nominations will be presented to a committee appointed by the Foundation President. 

    Congratulations to the 2021 George Blackburn Research Mentorship Awardee

    Kenneth A. Kudsk, MD, FAACS, FCCM
    Chief of General Surgery, William S. Middleton Veterans Affairs Hospital
    Professor of Surgery, University of Wisconsin
    Madison, WI.  

    Kenneth Kudsk 2021Dr. Kudsk is an exceptional candidate for this award, having a distinguished career as an academic surgeon, researcher, and mentor. He has been a member of ASPEN for over 35 years and has held numerous leadership roles within the society, including president. His research, focusing primarily on nutrition and its effects on inflammation, infection, and metabolism, and has consistently included mentees from many backgrounds. His research has produced more than 200 manuscripts. Dr. Kudsk has mentored trainees for over 35 years and is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin School Of Medicine and Public Health and the University of Wisconsin Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences.

    Dr. Kudsk has formally served as a mentor to over 41 graduate and fellow trainees on an interdisciplinary nutrition support team including residents, dietitians, pharmacists, and nurses. His mentoring style has been described as one based on listening, respect, encouragement and leading by example. He motivates others to continue to ask relevant questions and to work harder. Under his tutelage, his trainees have been extremely prolific in their combined efforts, yielding numerous presentations, publications, and awards. Dr. Kudsk’s long-term impact on his mentees is significant as they constantly go to him for advice and he continues to have strong professional alliances with them, many of which have been maintained for decades.

    Dr. Kudsk' s mentees have gone on to have notable careers, producing hundreds of manuscripts, receiving substantial research grants and leading at every level of their professions. They are leading academic divisions, running productive laboratories, leaders within ASPEN and professors at major institutions. Dr. Kudsk's mentorship and sustained contributions to Specialized Nutrition Support over the last 5 decades certainly qualify him as the ideal candidate for the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award.

    Click here to view all of the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award Recipients 

    NEW! In addition to the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award, the ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation would like to announce the establishment of a new grant in honor of Dr. George Blackburn focused on nutrition and metabolism. The ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation relies on the generosity of members of the parenteral nutrition and enteral nutrition community and friends through their gifts of support. There are many opportunities to aid in the tremendous work of nutrition science. With your help, the establishment of a new grant named in honor of George Blackburn is possible. For more information about Dr. George Blackburn and to find out how you can help fund this prestigious grant, please click here