Making food safer for everyone
Barb Kowalcyk, D (Med) '12, watched her healthy 2-year-old son go from a giggling toddler to a malnourished child vomitting black bile while lying in the hospital with tubes sticking out of everywhere. Within two weeks of him eating E. coli-tainted hamburger he was dead. That was 2001. The more she and her husband searched for answers the more infuriated they became, so the decided to do something more than grieve.
First Kowalcyk formed a victim advocacy organization. In 2006, she founded the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention, a science-based advocacy organization dedicated to translating the latest research into evidence-informed policies. At the same time, she enrolled at UC to earn a doctorate in environmental health with a focus in epidemiology and biostatistics. In 2009, she appeared in the 2009 Oscar-nominated documentary "Food, Inc." In 2010, she co-authored a report by the National Academy of Sciences that became the blueprint for the Food Safety Modernization Act, which the FDA calls "the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years." That’s also the year she won the LennonOno Grant for Peace, an award Yoko Ono offers to honor her late husband's commitment to peace, truth and human rights. In 2011, she became an assistant research professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University.
Link: Read UC Magazine's full article on her.