The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and North American Blueberry Council (NABC) have named Leslie Wada, Ph.D., R.D., as the first-ever senior director of nutrition and health research. While it is a newly created position, Wada has an extensive background in the industry and served as a longtime research consultant for the council.
A registered dietitian, Wada has worked as a consultant to several food and agriculture companies over the past 20 years. Earlier in her career, she taught dietetics at the University of California, Berkeley and was a research scientist in the field.
In her new role, she will spearhead USHBC’s health and nutrition strategies and continue to manage the organization’s health research projects. Wada will also act as the official spokesperson for both USHBC and NABC.
“Leslie’s tremendous contributions over the years have helped blueberries earn the strong health halo that most of our target audiences recognize today,” said Kasey Cronquist, president of USHBC and NABC. “As a scientist and seasoned communications professional, Leslie is uniquely qualified to lead an important pillar of our strategic plan, leveraging health research and nutrition to further elevate blueberries as a beloved fruit among consumers, health professionals and more.”
Added Wada: “I’m looking forward to collaborating with an all-star team and advancing our scientific pipeline with high-quality research that increases knowledge and awareness of the importance of blueberries in a healthy diet.”