2024 Distinguished Service Alumni Award

Aviva Must, the Morton A. Madoff, MD, MPH Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine, is the recipient of this year's Distinguished Service Award.
Dean Aviva Must speaking at podium

Aviva Must, PhD, N87, NG92, J01P, A03P is an internationally known nutritional epidemiologist, obesity researcher and the Morton A. Madoff, MD, MPH Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM). She holds secondary professorial appointments in the Department of Pediatrics at TUSM, Tufts Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTSI) and at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Her research has sought to elucidate antecedents and consequences of obesity across the life-course, with a particular focus on physical and psychosocial health consequences during the adolescent period. A second related thread of her research has centered preventive interventions for childhood obesity in vulnerable populations, including race/ethnic minoritized and immigrant populations and individuals with developmental disabilities. Working with multidisciplinary teams, she has contributed to descriptive epidemiology for health promotion for children with autism and other developmental disabilities, using a range of approaches, including secondary data analysis, community participatory approaches, mixed methods, and behavioral interventions. She currently serves as co-director of the Healthy Weight Research Network for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities, funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of HRSA, USDHHS.

After earning her BA in Biology from New York University, Must came to Tufts in 1984 to pursue an MS in Nutrition. Funding from the National Science Foundation supported her work to complete her PhD in Nutrition in 1991. As she graduated, Must voiced her deep desire to find a way to stay at the University. After a short stint at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, she joined the then Department of Community Health at TUSM as an Assistant Professor. 

A dream fulfilled; Must has spent her entire career at Tufts. She moved up the faculty ranks and was promoted to Professor in 2006. She served as chair of the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine (2008-2023) and as Dean for the Public Health and Professional Degree Programs (2009-2023). As Dean, she launched the MS in Biomedical Sciences, the Physician Assistant Program (MS in Medical Sciences), and the three Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs (two of which are the first-ever Tufts degree programs outside of Massachusetts), in Phoenix, Arizona and Seattle, Washington. During her tenure, Must helped launch several MPH dual degrees and the online MPH. In 2011, she assumed the role as Director of the Pilot Studies Program for Tufts CTSI. Since returning to the faculty full-time in 2023, Must has reengaged in teaching, recharged her research, expanded her service to the School in its research integration with Tufts Medicine, and deepened her activities at Tufts Clinical and Translational Research Institute.