In December of 2009, after months of severe pain and a feeling of imminent doom, I was diagnosed with severe vitamin D deficiency. My 25(OH)D blood serum level was 4 ng/ml. The simplest explanation for my severe vitamin D deficiency is the extreme photosensitivity that I experience as a result of lupus.

After immersing myself in the new research literature on vitamin D, I decided that the truer explanation was more complex and that I needed to study the broader context of nutrition and health in a structured environment. In June of 2013, I took a Master of Science in Health and Nutrition Education, Magna cum Laude, from Hawthorn University.

My MS thesis, Vitamin D Needs of African Americans during Pregnancy, Lactation, and Early Infancy represented the strength of my new interest in vitamins D and nutrition and my lifelong commitment to improving the health outcomes of women, infants, and children.

I earned a BA (1973), MA (1976), and PhD (1980) in sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I spent 30 years on the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond. As a medical sociologist my primary research interest was racial disparities in health, especially birth outcomes but also in autoimmune diagnoses.These interests come together in vitamin D and nutrition.

Since retiring from VCU in 2010, I have facilitated several graduate seminars on the role of politics in nutrition. The political is very personal


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