Each year, the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics gives the Texas Bluebonnet Award to someone who is not a registered dietitian but has made considerable contributions to the advancement of nutrition and advocacy for the profession of dietitians. This year’s recipient is Steve Abrams, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Dell Medical School.
Steve has a heart for teaching and a particular passion for nutrition, making him ideally situated to teach and mentor dietitians. Throughout his career, he has led regular meetings with neonatal and pediatric dietitians to discuss complex medical care of patients as well as educate them on national nutrition and health public policies he was involved with, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 and through is role on the Committee for Nutrition with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Steve uses his leadership roles on these national committees to communicate the importance of nutrition for children. He was recently interviewed about his authorship on the new AAP position paper on fruit juice in children by NPR as well as Cosmopolitan magazine, a combination we both thought rather humorous, but it was great to see how viral it became. Steve has made numerous trips to Washington, DC and Austin over the years on behalf of the AAP to meet with federal and state legislators about nutrition for children, child nutrition bills, school nutrition and, most recently, vaccine promotion. Throughout all these activities, he educates the dietitians around him and promotes their involvement.
“Every research study I’ve done at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, and now Dell Medical School in Austin include the contributions of a registered dietitian for their nutrition expertise,” Steve says. “I look to the registered dietitian for specific knowledge about food intake methods, nutrient analysis and contributing to the manuscript development of our articles for publication.”
As a mentor for dietitians and a nutrition advocate for patients and children, Steve exemplifies what the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics seeks for its Bluebonnet Award honoree. There is absolutely no one more worthy of an award for advocacy of dietitians than Steve. He has long been referred to as an honorary registered dietitian, and it’s gratifying to see official recognition for him now.